I started by doing two work placements on Engineering Structures with the VINCI Group when I was studying. The first was at Sogea Sud Ouest TP during my Public Works BTS (technical certificate) course, and the second was at Dodin Campenon Bernard when I was working towards my professional degree.
Once I had my degree, Freyssinet invited me to do an International Postgraduate Internship (under the French Volontariat International en Entreprise scheme) on a compact cable-stayed bridge project in Russia. My VIE experience started with me seeing my first cable-stayed bridge in Korea (the Second Geo Geum bridge), followed by the Térénez and Madeleine bridges in France, where I first learned about Freyssinet techniques. Finally, in Russia, after 10 months' internship, I joined the Freyssinet International & Cie Major Projects Department as an Assistant Site Manager.
On site, in addition to having technical knowledge, I have to make sure that people listen to me and I need to be organised and demanding. Because my role is to perform and supervise the work, I have to be scrupulous in my work and show an example to the team alongside me in order to gain their trust. This is particularly true with men, who can sometimes be reluctant to be told what to do by a woman.
Leading a team and sharing your expertise is very gratifying and motivating on a human level. The day-to-day difficulties and unexpected situations that arise on site always make us more responsive, inventive and independent (which I believe are vital qualities for someone managing a team). Seeing ever more innovative structures that I have contributed to being built around the world is by far the most satisfying thing for me!