Hello Marine! From Turkmenistan to France, from construction to civil works, from major projects to smaller ones... Your mobility speaks volumes about your dynamism and curiosity. Can you tell us a bit more about your career?
After studying engineering and specialising in building, development and architecture, I began my career in Turkmenistan in 2011 with a VIE (Volunteer for Internal Experience) in architectural works management at Bouygues Bâtiment International, working on the construction of the Ministry of Economy and Finance. It was an especially interesting job because, with the team, we were constructing earthquake-resistant buildings. I had always been determined to go into a highly technical sector, and I was delighted to see that this area of the construction industry was similar in some respects to civil engineering. It was precisely because I was looking for more technical assignments that I changed jobs to become a structural engineer on the site of the Ashgabat Congress Centre.
Once I got back to France in 2014, I joined Bouygues Travaux Publics Région Parisienne, working in the Paris region. This mobility brought me lots of opportunities to learn. I was able to contribute to small and medium-sized projects, allowing me to have a great deal of autonomy as a site manager. This gave me the chance to manage human-sized projects on a human scale from A to Z. Conversely, in 2018, I joined the major T2A project on line 15 South of the Grand Paris Express as civil engineering manager, first for the Créteil L'Echât station and then for the Vert de Maisons station.
In 2021, I requested a change of posting, this time to be closer to my home and to be able to spend more time with my one-year-old daughter. I seized the opportunity to be part of the Eole Porte Maillot project as EOLE-INS-MAI “installation and logistics” contract manager. I manage a team of 20 to 30 people, including four site supervisors and two job superintendents.
You have always cultivated an interest in scientific and practical subjects. In your job, you get to see projects progress day to day. What has been the driving force that has got you to where you are today and that motivates you on a daily basis?
First of all, there is a genuine team spirit on worksites. There’s a great sense of shared experiences. This cohesion is even stronger when we overcome difficulties together. I have some wonderful memories of that!
In addition, I’ve always enjoyed and felt driven by working in a highly technical sector. Obviously, working on-site, in the construction industry, I have had to integrate a still very male-dominated environment. I’ve integrated very well but interactions are sometimes very direct, even a bit “rough around the edges”. The important thing is to keep your own personality, especially in your management style. The more I progress in my career, the more I realise that I like managing teams and passing on my knowledge.
Managing teams is something that needs to be learned, there’s no doubt about it. The transition from knowing how to do something yourself to passing on this knowledge to others has been a real challenge. It’s important to give others the opportunity to learn for themselves, to give them the right amount of information without interfering too much. I like to be present and available for my team, as communication and transmission contribute to my own development. Everyone grows thanks to the sharing of knowledge, and contributing to the progress of a team and a project is very gratifying.
Why do you think it’s important that more women get into the civil works?
When I first started working internationally, there were few women among my colleagues. There were not many female engineers working on site, and even fewer in structural work. But I really wanted to go into this field, so I pushed for the opportunity to do so!
When I returned to France to work for Bouygues Travaux Publics Région Parisienne, I was lucky enough to join an entity that already had several female site supervisors, and we regularly shared our mission, our problems, our progress, etc.
Over the past 10 years, I have seen the progress made in terms of gender diversity* within the Group. There are more and more women at Bouygues Travaux Publics. On the Eole site, for example, we have taken on a trainee female job superintendent. That's still pretty unusual! In fact, while we've made good progress in management, works supervision and technical areas, the number of women in skilled worker/superintendent roles is still low.
It is essential not to confuse this term with other words that are sometimes used, wrongly, as a synonym. For example, gender parity means a strictly equal representation of men and women.
Ultimately, what’s important is that there are no male or female specialities - especially in a society that is moving towards equality between women and men! In order to break down barriers, education is crucial. It is up to our companies to show that construction jobs are also women’s jobs. We have to show that gender diversity is positive, firstly because it brings different ideas and points of view, and secondly because it is, above all, competence and motivation that count.
The next advice is to have self-confidence. That’s what enables you to overcome obstacles and create your own opportunities.