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March 8, 2022

IWD 2022: Outstanding women at RFS - Part 1

The technology sector has taken significant steps forward in recent years with more women stepping into senior roles across the industry. At RFS we are proud on International Women’s’ Day to celebrate some of the outstanding women that work for our organization across the world.

Radio Frequency Systems,

Betty Chen
MAS R&D Manager
Suzhou site, China

What is your job role at RFS and background? 
I am MAS R&D Manager at RFS’s Suzhou plant. After studying for a master’s degree in advanced telecommunication technologies at USTL in France, I returned to work in my hometown of Suzhou. I now have 14 years’ experience in the Telecoms industry, with over two years of that at RFS. 

What was your first job in telecoms?
My first role in the telecoms industry was at Pulse Electronics in 2008. I started as an RF engineer designing the embedded antennas for mobile devices. I then worked in Oulu, Finland on Nokia projects for three years before to a project management role. This gave me the opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of various types of antenna, including indoor and outdoor, small cell, IOT/ISM and vehicle antennas, 

How has the industry changed since you started?
Telecoms has always been one of the most dramatic fields when it comes to technological advances and innovation across the whole technology sector. My first antenna design was for 3G mobile phones used for voice and texts services. Today, 5G mobile communication is becoming a reality. Smart phones are essential in our life and work, not only allowing a range of communication channels with people across the world, but also playing a role when it comes to shopping, leisure and entertainment.  

What still needs to change?
Women's presence in Telecom industry is growing. More and more women have opportunities to take on roles in production and operations, research and development. Plus, more women are stepping into management positions showing how much women can achieve through professional dedication and this needs to continue. 

Name one woman who inspires you  
Maureen Chiquet, former CEO, Chanel and now a speaker and author of Beyond the Label: Women, Leadership and Success on Our Own Terms. Her career shows the fulfillment of her childhood ambitions and she encourages women to embrace challenges saying, “There was never a hurdle. Maybe that environment creates a feeling of power to do things that are extraordinary.”

Lucie Dronne
RFS France CFO / Antenna & MAS BU Controller
Trignac site, France

What is your job role at RFS and background?
My current role is RFS France CFO / Antenna & MAS BU Controller. I have a pretty diverse background originally working for a a nonprofit organization which takes care of foster children, before moving into Finance. I then worked in audit for some of the world’s largest accountancy firms including EY and PWC. Working in audit gave me an insight into a huge variety of industries but after five years in this role I wanted to work in a specific industry and focus on working as part of the core team in a single organization. My first role outside audit was in the food industry where I worked as a plant controller. I then progressed to the role of financial officer across three plants. I continued to build my career in this role before moving across to the telecoms industry. 

What was your first job in telecoms? 
My ambition following my role as financial officer in a food industry organization was to progress to become CFO of a company. As a young woman, this was something of a challenge. However, RFS France looked at my experience and skills rather than my age and hired be as French CFO and MAS BU Controller making this my first role in the telecoms industry.  I have since been appointed BSA & RFC BU Controller in addition to my existing responsibilities which has more recently become the role of Antenna & MAS BU Controller.
How has the industry changed since you started? 
Given my background, I am speaking more generally about women in business. Today, we see more and more companies accepting and recruiting women in strategic positions, and this is a real evolution in recent years. 

What still needs to change? 
I think the change that needs to happen is building on the positive progress we have seen since I was looking to secure a CFO role. Seeing the skills women have and can bring to enhance a business and then putting those women into senior roles is essential to ensuring diversity that can benefit a business. 
Name one woman who inspires you 
In the 70’s Audrey Hepburn was a household name in cinema, known across the world. She used this platform to become a UNICEF ambassador, travelling to Ethiopia, Turkey, Sudan to try and improve the situation of children in those countries. She was dedicated to this mission until the end of her life, even when she became seriously unwell. I admire women who have strong values and defend them till the end, even when they know this will involve a more difficult path. It is vital not to be discouraged and see our convictions to the end. 

Jacqui Gallacher
Sales Director for UK & Ireland
Haddenham site, UK

What is your job role at RFS and background?
My current role is Sales Director for UK & Ireland. I joined RFS in 1998 as Customer Service Co-Ordinator, which was a big change from my earlier career in medical microbiology, which although was interesting did not provide the social interaction and pace to hold my interest. I developed the role and became Customer Service Manager two years later, before moving into regional sales in 2006.

What was your first job in telecoms? Tell us a little bit about what the role involved and what attracted you to the industry 
RFS was my first experience in the Telecom world. I originally only planned to stay in the industry for a couple of years to gain some commercial experience, but the fast-evolving markets and technology in Telecoms ensures that you are constantly challenged and forever learning, hence I am still in the industry 24 years later.

How has the industry changed since you started? 
Over the last 24 years there have been many changes in the industry and apart from the obvious technical advancements there are now noticeably more women in Telecoms both in management and technical roles, although there is still room for more. The industry has also become much more complex and competitive. To be successful now we really need to excel, not only with products and solutions but in our approach to the customers and the service we offer. These days there is always someone around the corner that can do it “cheaper”, so we have to do it “better” or “smarter”. 
What still needs to change? 
Businesses are becoming more inclusive with an increased understanding of the challenges that many face, whether that be working mothers or health challenges and there is now an improved realization that these challenges do not hinder a colleague’s ability to do the job but can in fact can strengthen a person.     

Name one woman who inspires you 
One woman who inspires me is Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, she was a pioneering physician and political campaigner. She became the first English woman to qualify as a doctor, despite being denied access to medical school numerous times just because she was a woman. Eventually she obtained the needed qualifications but despite obtaining a medical degree from the University of Paris, the British Medical Register refused to recognise her qualification. She showed true resilience and set up a new hospital for Women in London, staffed entirely by women which was eventually accepted by the medical profession. Her determination paved the way for other women, and in finally in 1876 an act was passed allowing women to enter the medical professions.

Read part 2 of this blog series here.