On International Women in Engineering Day we are celebrating achievements of women engineers around the world. This year we are actively joining the celebration and put a spotlight on two amazing female engineers working within the Coveris Group across EMEA. We spoke to Jailan Khadr from Coveris Alexandria in Egypt and Gwenaelle Raoult who works at Coveris in France to learn more about their experiences and enthusiasm for engineering.
Jailan Khadr: Coveris Alexandria
Jailan Khadr, Customer Care & Pre-Press Director at Coveris Alexandria, studied electrical engineering (communication section) and now has amassed over 25 years of experience in the flexible packaging industry. Here, Jailan talks about how she became interested in engineering, how it has helped to shape her career and her current responsibilities.
What interested you in engineering?
It early began at school when I was mostly attracted to mathematics and physics lessons rather than history and biology. I realised that an academic study of scientific principles was something I wanted to pursue, and I then selected to start my engineering studies. At that time, my aim was to learn the way to think creatively in life.
What attracted you to work at Coveris and in the packaging industry?
Coveris was one of the top multinational companies in my city and I had the chance to apply for a job at Coveris few months after my graduation. At that time, I was mainly interested in working for a manufacturing company for improving my engineering skills. One year later, I was fully involved in the process and decided to continue working in packaging industry.
What are your key responsibilities in your role of Customer Care & Pre-Press Director?
Building strong relationships with customers, developing strategies to increase the quality and efficiency of support to customers and coordinating with supply chain and sales associates to improve service, revenues and business productivity.
What do you enjoy at your work most?
The challenges faced daily to meet and exceed customers’ expectations.
What would you say to other women considering a career in engineering?
I believe that the gender gap is narrowing, even if men are still dominating the engineering field. For women who are attracted to engineering studies, my advice is to go for studying engineering, even if they’ll not continue in a specific career in the same field. From my point of view, engineers can use a unique mode of thinking based on seeing everything as a system and they know how to design under constrains. They usually say that the core of engineering mind-set is a mélange of techniques and principals. I find that engineers use logic in every situation in life.
Gwenaelle Raoult: Coveris Firminy and Montfaucon
Gwenaelle Raoult joined Coveris Flexibles France in October 2020 as Film Production Manager in charge of the Firminy and Montfaucon extrusion workshops. She studied chemical engineering and has over 20 years of experience in this field. Gwenaelle shares with us her experience and the new challenges she is currently facing.
Let us get to know you a bit better. What did you study and what do you specialise in at the moment?
I completed a DUT in Chemistry, ending with an internship in the polymer formulation laboratory of a cable company. They offered me a permanent job, which I gladly accepted. However, I wanted to continue my studies, so I took an engineering course with classes every evening. After four years of intensive studies, I graduated as an engineer in organic chemistry. During my training, I evolved in my company to obtain a position as chemical engineer.
I then had a strong desire to go into production to discover another world and to learn new things. Production has always attracted me because it is an important process where raw materials are transformed into a product by going through different stages. First, I became Methods Manager in a connection equipment workshop, and then followed Green belt and Black belt training in the field of continuous improvement as well as Lean 6 Sigma. These programmes enabled me to become Continuous Improvement Manager and eventually Production Unit Manager.
After 20 years of career advancement within my company in various roles, I wanted to take on a new challenge by becoming a Continuous Improvement Manager in a logistics department in a new company. I stayed there for 16 months as my husband was transferred to Saint-Etienne. This is how I discovered Coveris and joined the company.
What attracted you to work at Coveris Firminy and Montfaucon?
What I liked about my interviews and my arrival at Coveris was the good human contact I had with my various contacts. What's more, we control the entire production chain in-house. It's really exciting to be involved in the birth of a product and to give it added value. There is a very technical part to my job that I really enjoy.
Furthermore, we are facing a real transformation with technical and sales challenges and have a workforce that is ready for change. What is striking and pleasant about Coveris is the good understanding and good human relations between the different departments. This is very important to me.
What do you enjoy at your work most?
What I like most at the moment is that I am still discovering the processes and products that we manufacture in three of our French plants. It’s motivating to be part of this very important transition period for the company. We are facing major changes and I am delighted to be working with enthusiastic and dedicated people on a daily basis to achieve these new goals.
What would you say to other women, considering a career in engineering?
I would like to say that we should be encouraged and give ourselves the means to achieve success. Don't think about prejudices and always believe in your dreams to succeed.
Thanks to Jailan and Gwenaelle for taking time out to share your background and inspire people with your enthusiasm for engineering. To find out more about opportunities at Coveris, please visit our website: coveris.com/careers/join-the-team