Schneider Electric engineer Charlandra found her perfect job

Schneider Electric engineer Charlandra found her perfect job

 June 30, 2021

It's an exciting time to be a woman in engineering, particularly with so much evolving in the energy industry.

Society of Women Engineers Member Charlandra Watson shares her journey into engineering and how she ultimately found the perfect role at Schneider Electric, a company that embraces diversity, encourages innovative thinking and challenges her to learn and grow.

"It’s hard to say whether I found my career in engineering or it actually found me," says Charlandra, Director of Customer Satisfaction & Quality.

Pursuing disciplines that enable her to look at things differently

Charlandra has always loved math and science and the opportunity they provide to look at things in new and different ways. "Math allows you to take problem-solving skills and leverage creativity to find different solutions to the same problem. What I love about science is that it’s ever evolving, yet there’s still a structured method and approach to exploring and testing. I love the process of seeking knowledge and understanding its application," she explains.

She paired her love of science and maths with a desire to be creative and think differently, which led her to a career in engineering. With a strong interest in art, Charlandra gravitated towards an engineering program that incorporated design elements, learning the the fundamentals of aerodynamic materials and design cars using AutoCAD.

Charlandra started her college education and earned her engineering degree. After changing engineering degrees several times, being mentored by a biomedical engineer and taking a digital logic and robotics class (design and circuit analysis), she ended up pursuing an electrical engineering degree. She also discovered a passion for leadership and collaboration, where she could tap into her problem-solving and creativity skills to implement change.

Gaining trust and respect in a male-dominated environment

Charlandra describes her first engineering job as a product development engineer at a manufacturing plant as "anything but typical", drawing on her college education and experiences to problem solve and provide customers with what they needed.

To gain respect and trust in that male-dominated environment, Charlandra developed her social and persuasive communication skills to manage challenges, solve problems, implement change and ultimately exceed at her job. "I spent considerable time learning all the roles in the production process, including the not-so-glamorous ones," she adds.

"I also learned how important it was to listen to, observe and put myself in the customer’s shoes to gain a better understanding of their needs in order to make more effective decisions that would solve their problems. This gave me insights into production challenges that needed addressing and the improvements that needed to be made on new product technical specifications."

"Those early experiences and lessons learned have gone on to serve me well. Throughout my engineering career, I’ve been able to build upon my early love of math and data analytics, which has become a foundation for helping me make smarter, more informed decisions. And all of that has led me to where I am today as Director of Customer Satisfaction and Quality at Schneider Electric, a leading global energy management and automation company," she explains.

Empowered to solve problems and think outside the norm

In her current role, Charlandra is empowered to think differently and look at new ways to solve problems that can make a difference to Schneider Electric customers and to the company. "For me, that most often means thinking outside the norm and not being afraid to sometimes rock the boat. In fact, we’re encouraged to take risks, make waves and present ideas that may at first seem a little out there and different. And that fits my natural talents and tendencies like a glove," she says.

Thriving in a company with a diverse workforce 

More importantly for Charlandra, Schneider Electric believes diversity is the key to generating new, bolder ways of thinking and consistently strives to hire diverse employees. "Employees here, though, aren’t just ethnically diverse, but also diverse in their experiences and perspectives, which translates into more creative ideas and solutions produced for our customers," she comments.

"No doubt, it’s an exciting time to be a woman in engineering, particularly with so much evolving in the energy industry. But it’s important to work for a company that believes in you and is willing to invest in your professional development, as well as one that prioritizes work/life balance and provides benefits that support it," Charlandra adds.

"I’ve come to realize that what makes a great workplace for women engineers actually makes a great workplace for anyone: responsive managers, growth potential, professional and personal relationships with fellow coworkers, a culture of mentorship, an empowering corporate environment, a strong supportive commitment to diversity, a welcoming diverse working climate, development and learning opportunities, values that align with my own, and of course—challenging, rewarding work."

"And when you find that, you can safely say you’re home."

Be empowered to think differently at Schneider Electric

Schneider Electric is always looking for women who can bring their unique perspectives to work, which leads to bold ideas, innovative decisions, and more creative solutions for customers.

Ready for a challenge? Find an exciting job at Schneider Electric.


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