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3 questions for… Julie Le Cardinal

Professor-researcher at CentraleSupelec

April 2018

What’s your background and what’s you role at CentraleSupélec?
After graduating in mechanical engineer and industrial design, I joined Ecole Centrale Paris to write a doctoral thesis on dysfunctions in the decision-making process in industrial projects, with a focus on the choice of decision-makers.

I’ve since supported a number of companies and project managers on management issues using the systemic approach.
In parallel to this consulting work, I head up the Company Science department at CentraleSupélec, I’m professor at the Industrial Engineering Lab and I’m responsible for a Master’s program in management and project management.

I’m still passionate about research in this area; the last thesis I supervised was about optimising patient flow in oncology, and I’m currently working with Renault on improving their industrial processes.

What motivated you to co-lead this study with the Women Initiative Foundation?
I know Martine Liautaud as she’s on CentraleSupélec ‘ board of directors. In the world of engineers, I’m well placed to know how few women there are… so the study’s goals immediately appealed to me, and I gladly accepted to help out.
 
My role was mainly focused on scientifically validating the data and the research process, rather than the content of the study, as I’m not a specialist in the field. In other words, my job was to bring the necessary scientific rigor to the study.
 
So you analysed the results in detail. What did you get out of it personally?
Some findings corroborate what I experience daily in industrial circles, it’s quite similar. But what stuck me the most is the way we perceive women behaving like men when they become senior executives.
 
Being ambitious and working in very masculine environment, I could have adopted such behavior myself or been viewed that way. As far as I’m concerned, and from the feedback I’ve had from colleagues, I’ve always been careful to balance rigor and femininity. It seems vital to me, and in any case the two certainly aren’t incompatible, regardless of the field you work in.

> See Julie Le Cardinal’s LinkedIn profile