"I believe it is perfectly possible to be a mom and pursue a strong career at the same time. There is no need to make a choice."
  • Name: Julie Tavernier
  • Age: 35
  • Studies: Master’s degree in Electronics (Howest Kortrijk)
  • Position: Project Engineer
  • Hobbies: Pilates, hiking and reading

The 35-year-old Julie Tavernier works as a Project Engineer at Axians. She carries out technical projects and interacts with different technologies every day, which gives her a diverse range of tasks. 

Do you feel men and women communicate differently? 

Julie: I think the way of communicating is more related to personality, which can change as people get older. In high school I used to be in classes with boys and I found that to be such a relief. Boys tend to be more direct and conflicts were often settled the same day. At VINCI Energies I work in a team with mostly female colleagues, although in the company itself there are more men. Cooperation runs equally smoothly with everyone and I don’t notice any obvious differences because there is no gender difference between colleagues. 

How can a better gender balance be ensured in the technical sector?

Julie: In high school, I was advised to continue my studies in the field of Social-Technical Sciences, but I got the feeling this advice was mostly given because I was not that strong in languages and general subjects, such as geography and history. I was a caring type so they stereotypically saw me becoming a teacher or a nurse. Looking back now, I am glad I followed my gut feeling and chose the major of Industrial Sciences. If they had evaluated students in a different way back then and really looked at where their abilities and interests lay, I think more students would have chosen the technical field. Of course, this was 20 years ago and good changes are already taking place in education. 

Do you feel comfortable at VINCI Energies? 

Julie: Definitely. VINCI Energies is a large international company, but at the same time there is a friendly atmosphere thanks to the division into small business units. This division ensures that you have personal contact with both your colleagues and your managers. Additionally, there are regular personal growth discussions in which you and your manager reflect on your future. This creates new opportunities and allows personal growth within the organization in a way that is in line with your specific interests. To find a good balance between work and family, I also get the chance to take my parental leave in 9/10ths. This gives me half a day off per week to spend time with my children. This allows me to be 100% committed as an employee, but also 100% as a mom. Therefore, I believe it is perfectly possible to be a mom and pursue a strong career at the same time. There is no choice to be made.

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