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Spotlight on Women in STEM Roles

A conversation with Chantal Robillard from GE Renewable Energy

Chantal Robillard, Global Product Manager for Grid Solutions Digital Services at GE Renewable Energy, is one of the growing number of women at GE. In 2017, the company announced goals of having 20,000 women in Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) roles by 2020 and obtaining 50:50 representation for all its technical entry-level programs. We recently chatted with Chantal about what drives her and how she views the growing role of women in the industry and in the Services sector.

Every day is a new day that brings new challenges

Helping to support customers with their specific challenges is really engaging. In our Services business, we are fortunate to have lots of passionate and talented teams across the globe, each team member is driven by a continual desire to innovate to satisfy our customers.

I really feel that what we do matters. We are changing the way in which the world powers modern society, improving the quality of life and supporting the sustainability of our planet. It benefits not only to our customers but also people everywhere.

Customer satisfaction is at stake in everything I do as a product manager

As a product manager in Services, I would describe my job as a translator of customers’ needs. I help our technical teams fully understand each customer’s requirements in terms of product specifications, pricing, and more. I also focus on simplifying our customers’ experience - delivering the right product, at the right time, at the right price point.

Succeeding in this job requires good listening skills and bit of empathy for sure, combined with analytical and synthesis skills.

Indeed, in Services, we don’t have a product catalog; there aren’t really off-the-shelf solutions. We start by listening to our customers’ needs and challenges and then we work together to find the most appropriate services offering.

Digital services are enabling the energy transition

Today, the global energy landscape is in the midst of a grand transformation. There is so much we can contribute in terms of both helping our customers and improving the lives of individuals around the world. Digital technology is disrupting and transforming the electricity industry, challenging old models, and creating unprecedented opportunities. Our customers are looking for our support to make their equipment more affordable, reliable, and sustainable. They seek to optimize their costs, while at the same time improve their employees’ day-to-day work. All of this is being made possible thanks to our digital solutions.

As our customers look at how to optimize equipment performance, our Asset Lifecycle Management (ALM) solutions can help by reporting on asset health, analyzing fleet efficiency, and providing recommendations on corrective, preventive, and condition-based maintenance solutions. At all levels, we can help our customers build their assets lifecycle strategy—wherever they are in the world. This goes hand-in-hand with the development of algorithms and models that test and validate a period of historical data to reliably predict issues and reduce unplanned downtime, ultimately saving our customers time and money.

To keep our customers satisfied—or better yet, to exceed their expectations—we need to uncover and explore the latest technologies in the industry every single day.

Women bring the diversity of thought and experience a company like GE needs

With a background in electrical engineering, I’ve spent most of my career working with men. Today, I’m encouraged and inspired to see more and more women in the industry—especially as they come on board here at our Services business. As a GE employee, it is really exciting to see diversity in action, for example GE’s Board of Directors is comprised of 40% women and GE Renewable Energy Leadership team comprised of 36% of women – each of these women bring the diversity of thought and experience we need in such a big company like GE. It shows how the company is willing to bring more women on board at all levels. And that’s certainly the case for our Services business at GE’s Grid Solutions, which is led by a dynamic leader, Elisabeth Benedetto.

If I had to give one bit of advice to the many talented ambitious young women today, I would say that the energy business offers an incredible opportunity for continuous learning, and it is ready and waiting for you to join. As women, keep in mind that you have a key role to play in delivering new ideas and new ways of working to support the growth of your business.