Céline LE BERRE, Mecatronic Engineer on the women's America's cup french team

My message for the women would be ”Don’t hide, keep standing and claiming you are in the place.”

Céline LEBERRE Officiel2
  • Can you describe your job and your daily missions?

I am a mechatronic engineer. My job consists in developing the control of the boat. For that, you need the actioners for the sheets to move, the sensors to understand the environment of the boat (the wind, the boat speed, the sheets position) and an interface for the sailors to control. My job is to make all those devices work properly and to use them to provide a logic for controlling the boat efficiently. On the AC75, there is also an energy topic as the power is developed by the cyclors rather than by a battery.

  • What are the values that drive you on a daily basis in your profession?

conscientiousness, curiosity, communication, challenge and the most important for me team spirit “One team, one dream”. If I feel supported I can really give my best.

  • What message do you want to send on the occasion of International Women's Day? And especially for young women?

My message for the women would be ”Don’t hide, keep standing and claiming you are in the place.” I don’t want to talk about fight because I don’t see it that way, I prefer having person changing because they understand the equality would have a real positive impact and that everyone is responsible at his own level. Communication and understanding is the way. This message also then for the men “Stop and look around you, does the society we are leaving in looks right? What if the roles, the power were inverse ?” And for the future generation, don’t let the old habits prevent you to do what you think right, the society is changing, forcing a bit might help it to change faster. “Just Do It”

  • Affirming your place as a woman at sea or in a company, what does that inspire you?

I think that is still a reality on day-to-day basis at least in the women’s head. I always find myself doubting a lot once my men colleagues around don’t bother about so many questions. In my work, I think I had some moment where I really needed to affirm I was there as an engineer and I was as capable than a man but to be honest, in all the teams I’ve joined I’ve always found my place. But even if I know I was a my right place, I think I had this extra pression to prove I have this right. The society is changing and as women we also need not only to claim we are capable of a lot of things but believe in it and in ourselves. Having the total confidence of my colleagues help me working on that.

  • The main issues for greater parity between men and women in your workplace?

Having women keen to join. There are not a lot of women in mechatronics world. Since I’ve start my technical studies from the age of 16, I’ve never been in a group with more than 15% of women. And if I look in the 10 past years, I’ve always been alone in the R&D teams I’ve worked in. That doesn’t mean there is no women around but not on the technical aspects. And this leads to a big lack in management team where most of the posts are always filled by men.

  • Where did your passion for the sea come from?

I grow up in Brittany, closed to the sea. I’ve always loved the water. But I think this is really my father who transmits me the love of the sea and the sailing. When I was a kid, we had a boat and spent our holidays on it. It was a simple life, not a lot on a boat, but the most important was there: my parents, the nature around, simplicity. We’ve never crossed any ocean but as a kid it was anyway adventures.