CELEBRATING THE WOMEN
I grew up in Taiwan, where my high school English teacher gave the class American ecology magazines to read. I started thinking that’s how we should live our lives, getting along with the environment, but I didn’t know that a career in sustainability was possible. I did my MBA in France and was working in the automotive industry when I saw the posting for a job at Constellium, working on the supply chain, purchasing, and reporting. It sounded like a good way to get to know a company and pursue a career around sustainability.
I coordinate the annual business and sustainability report—deciding the structure and what messages to deliver, gathering information, overseeing writing and layout. It might seem boring, collecting information and putting it together, but I see the things behind these tasks—you need to have actions before having something to report on. Without actions, it is just greenwashing. The other part of my job is overseeing a responsible sourcing program that Constellium put into place once it was clear that the biggest environmental and social impacts of our business come from the supply chain, not our own operations.
In 2020, I gave birth to a baby girl, and my commitment to sustainability grew even stronger. I see my daughter and imagine the world in 20 years, and I feel that I have to do something.
I was born in a small village in eastern France, and earned a Master’s degree in materials science in Lyon. Curious about other cultures, I studied in Finland for a year and worked as a trainee in Hungary. Pechiney [now Constellium] sponsored my PhD in materials science and offered me my first job, as an R&D engineer at C-TEC, then at Issoire, in process and metallurgy. Two years ago, I relocated, with my husband and 10-year-old son, to work at the Constellium site in Ravenswood, West Virginia. I was promoted to quality director last spring.
I find my job to be a perfect blend of management and technical challenges. It consists mainly of delivering the required quality to our customers, minimizing quality losses, and developing new products for the plant. My teams and I are always on the lookout for process and quality improvements. I learn something every day, and not only in metallurgy—it is enriching to work in a different cultural environment.
Over the past 20 years with Constellium, I have had many opportunities to grow, develop my skills, and hopefully contribute to creating value for the company. As a leader, I thrive on helping people to develop their talents, and I believe that men and women are Constellium’s greatest assets.
Barine Amaidet, Inside Sales, Issoire
Life has taught me that you must never give up. You have to stay optimistic, and bear in mind the things you want to achieve. For me, that was to get qualifications, to have a family, to make a living from my work, and to travel.
I am Kurdish, and I grew up in Iraq under Saddam Hussein, during his campaign of terror against my people. As a child, hiding in a shelter and being bombed is to experience a great deal of fear. We lived in a mountainous region, so the sounds of explosions echoed around us. In 1988, my family fled Iraq for the safety of a detention camp in Turkey. We spent 28 months there, until a visit from Danielle Mitterrand, the wife of France’s president at the time. Her foundation, France-Libertés, was helping refugee families, and they took us to France. We ended up in the Auvergne region, where I went to school. Eventually, I completed my Master’s in international trade.
I joined Constellium in 2017. In my customer relations role I cover the Middle East, Turkey, the United States, and Scandinavia, which means I can work in all the languages I speak—French, English, Arabic, and Kurdish. I am married and have two beautiful children. After all my earlier hardships, I can say that you mustn’t be fatalistic in life, because good things happen, too.
I was exposed at a very young age to how powerful your mindset is when it comes to determining the success and the quality of your life. I realized that only I have the power to truly limit myself or to make myself limitless.
So being armed with that mindset, every day I wake up aiming to be the best and most authentic version of myself: that doesn’t mean the absence of mistakes but rather that I embrace wholeheartedly my wins and my mistakes, because every experience helps me to develop.This mindset has allowed me to see all the wonderful opportunities that I’ve been blessed with, one of which is working at Constellium.
I have the honor of working with some of the most amazing people, and they have impacted my life in such a positive way. So to the person reading this, know that you are amazing: it is not your job title, race, gender, orientation, or anything else that makes you that way. The fact that you were graced with the opportunity of life has already made you more than enough.
I am from Barcelona, where I received a degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Barcelona. (Later, I did further training in quality management and lean manufacturing.)
I was production manager for a company in Barcelona that belonged to an American group. In 2012, the company asked me if I wanted to work as operations manager in Germany, at the Würzburg site. It was a difficult decision, because I couldn't speak a word of German at the time, and I had a young son.
But now I am very happy I made it. Five years ago, I married a German man.Since November 2020, I have been the APU manager at Constellium’s Crailsheim plant. I feel very comfortable at Constellium and really enjoy my work—it is exactly what I hoped to do.
I am happy to share the experience I have gained, and to expand my horizons through diverse areas and tasks. I also really enjoy working with my team. I have many talented employees and colleagues, and together we will continue to move Constellium forward.
I am Spanish, from Madrid, and come from a family with no prior university background. My parents were very happy to be able to give me a university education, and I studied chemistry, specializing in metallurgy, then finished my PhD in corrosion and protection systems for AlCulLi alloys in CENIM (CSIC).
I wanted to pursue a career in research, and needed experience abroad. I applied for post-docs and industrial jobs, and was hired by the Novelis research center in Switzerland. It never occurred to me (nor to my mom!) that I would not come back to settle in my home country.
However, shortly after my Swiss experience, I joined the Alcan research center in Voreppe, France (now the C-TEC Constellium Technology Center), the largest center for applied aluminium research in Europe. After years as an R&D metallurgist, I now have a double role at Constellium.
I am project manager of the R&D portfolio for TID (Transportation, Industry, and Defense) in Aerospace and Transportation, and site manager of the R&D hub in Plymouth, where I moved with my family two and a half years ago. I have always felt privileged to work in applied research, finding solutions for aluminium that we will see in our transportation vehicles, or so many other applications. The company has given me the opportunity to explore my potential, and both my roles allow me to be in contact with different people around the world.
Lauren Bohn, Process Engineer, Van Buren
I was born in Windsor, Canada, and I speak fluent French. After high school, I pursued my degree in chemical engineering across the river in Detroit, at Wayne State University, while on a track and field scholarship for hammer throw.
I have maintained my ties to athletics and continue to coach throwing events at Northville High School, not far from the Van Buren plant where I work. I work at our Automotive Structures plant as a process engineer, where I focus on improving the profitability of our body structure and Crash Management System production lines through process optimization. I am also an active member of our Global Engineering Development Program (GEDP).
Recently, I have taken on additional responsibilities as a maintenance scheduler and certified associate weld inspector for our weld cells, which have been great experiences. At Constellium, I appreciate the opportunity to learn and grow in a large company that still feels familiar and small. The GEDP has allowed me to meet a multitude of skilled and talented individuals across the company and continue expanding my knowledge.
The program has made me a more dynamic and confident professional and I feel encouraged to explore areas that are interesting to me, such as welding, materials science, and aerospace. I hope to one day put my experience and enthusiasm to work for Constellium in an international assignment.
Anja Isele, Logistics Department, Singen Rolling
I live with my husband in a town about 15 km from Singen. I started at Constellium in 2003 while doing dual studies in business administration. After three years, upon completion of my studies, I started working in the logistics department of the Singen rolling mill plant. I work in metal management within the logistics department. I am responsible for purchasing hardeners and additional metals for our casthouse, organizing train transport for all incoming material (slabs and ingots), specialized tasks such as SOX and ASI, month-end close activities, and many different support and organizational tasks.
Outside of work, my hobbies include membership in a music association, taking a dance class, and just generally being creative. My job also includes taking care of apprentices and students who come into the logistics department. It gives me great pleasure to work with young people who are doing apprenticeships or dual studies like I did a few years ago. It makes my job special, because I can share my experiences with them and support them in starting their professional life.
Three years ago, when I heard that Constellium was looking for women to work at the foundry, I immediately applied, and got a job in the place where we sort recycled metal. A year later, my boss asked if I wanted to operate the bridge crane. No woman had ever done this job before. Of all my life experiences, it has been the most challenging.
There are five melt furnaces that I operate, either removing big aluminium plates from the furnaces or installing tools to change plate formats. I spend each eight-hour shift alone in the crane, 10- 15 meters under the roof, moving from one furnace to another. It is precise work, with a lot of responsibility—the plates weigh between three and nineteen tons and my colleagues are down below. At first, the guys on the floor didn’t make it easy; they thought the bridge crane was no place for a woman.
There were moments I thought I would quit, but I hung on. With time they got to know me, and now it’s great. I know how to drive the crane, how to organize my work, and they tell me I’m more gentle and precise than other operators. I find Constellium to be a very human company, and the only factory I’ve worked at where women can advance. Now my daughter works as a trainee here, too!
Kristy Lyle, Quality Manager, Muscle Shoals, US
I grew up near Muscle Shoals, then moved away, and 13 years ago I jumped on the opportunity to come back and work for the company—first as an industrial engineer, then a process engineer, and the last three years as quality manager. I work closely with the process team and automation engineers in an office on the plant floor, maybe 10 feet from the mill. It is rare to be a woman in this industry, but not as rare as when I first started—now there are a lot more on the floor and in management.
I work in cold rolling, which is my favorite department, because it is something new every day. We’ve improved a lot over the last few years, but there is always more to do. The quality group sets the standards for the product based on customer specifications, and our main goal at cold rolling is to get the metal to the correct thickness. We then develop procedures for the operators to follow to stay within those controls. We have had a lot of feedback that our product has improved, especially since Constellium took over the company five years ago.
I love the process of producing aluminium, it is different from normal manufacturing. It acts different, it works different, it is just a different little niche in the manufacturing world.
Paola Avalos, HR Generalist, San Luis Potosí, Mexico
I was born in San Luis Potosí in Central Mexico and am the youngest in my family with five older brothers. Now, I’m married and have a wonderful little six-year-old son. I decided to study Business Administration with an emphasis in Human Resources at a local university because I was always interested in the labor area and everything related to social wellness. Before joining Constellium, I worked in HR in the automotive industry for 10 years.
Since joining the company in May 2017, my main activities have been labor relations and employee engagement. I also support the plant’s 2nd and 3rd party audits (by customers, the government and the industry). Over the last year, I had a big challenge with the opportunity to participate in our ISO14001 certification. Currently, I’m also part of the EHS team where I’m developing new skills and helping the team to achieve its 2021 objectives.
I think the opportunities to grow are the best of my job because they allow me to challenge myself as a professional. Also, as a woman, I feel inspired to help other team members achieve their own goals. Constellium is the first company I’ve been with where 50% of the employees at my plant are women. The EHS team is traditionally comprised of men due to the challenges of the job, so I’m proud to be actively participating in these tasks and showing others that women have an important role to play in all areas of manufacturing