Valerie Marjollet

Making a difference through data

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Valerie began her career at GE 18 years ago as a commercial finance leader. After various leadership roles with increasing responsibilities, she recently became the Chief Finance Officer for GE Steam Power.

1.     Why did you choose STEM as a career?

When you work in the Finance function, you are truly at the heart of the company. Thanks to all the data coming in from internal and external sources, you can get an understanding of the entire business and its underlying trends. What I really like about my job is being able to use all these data to make decisions in the most educated way possible to support the business in its vision and strategy. To do that, you need to be curious, to ask the right questions and not to leave anything untouched. But you also need to be a clear thinker – you can’t drown in all that data! By connecting the dots, you will get to see the bigger picture so you can make the right decision at the right time.

I love working for companies with unique technology and know-how that has a concrete application in everyone’s life. I started working in the aviation field and then joined GE 18 years ago, with 11 years spent at GE Healthcare. Now I am the Chief Finance Officer for Steam Power. The commonalities in all these fields is the true passion and pride from its employees in what they are doing from the engineering studies and R&D team, to the manufacturing and project sites. The concrete and real impact in everyone’s daily life is really what attracted me to these industries.

2.     How would you describe what you do in 10 words or less?

I lead Finance for GE Steam Power and I help the business to make the right decisions aligned with our vision and strategy to deliver on our commitment to internal and external stakeholders.

3.     In what ways are you making a difference for your customers?

In a very concrete and direct way, we support our customers’ financing process by finding and proposing solutions for their projects. Internally, we work closely with our engineering, manufacturing and sales teams to ensure production at the right cost and time. We ensure our operational team has as much visibility as possible on our performance, so they can deliver on their commitments to our customers. We ensure that everything we commit to is compliant and achievable in both form and content.

4.     Tell me about a time in your career that stands out in your memory

I have two moments that came to my mind immediately – both regarding important investment decisions in two totally different projects while I was working at GE Healthcare.

The first one was regarding the development of a new technology that would ensure GE stayed competitive in a tough market. We went above and beyond in finding solutions to ensure the development of the technology through external partners that included SMEs and Government funding in France. Thanks to a robust and clear investment plan, we were able to launch the project and introduce a new technology into the GE portfolio. That was a challenging and exciting highlight of my career.

The second one – still on investment – was more linked to a market expansion. For women in Indonesia, labor and delivery can be complicated. We knew we could support the country with our technology, but the challenge was reaching remote and isolated populations. By working closely with midwives and providing them mobile scan material, we helped make early detection of potential birth labor complications possible.

In both cases, we had to think out of the box and to propose and to implement new strategies and solutions to drive the business in the right direction. And that’s what I am doing everyday with my team in the Finance function for GE Steam Power.

Deanna Driver

Inspired by opportunities

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Deanna has a degree in mechanical engineering and started her career in the power industry 12 years ago. She now leads process improvement for GE Steam Power’s Quality organization.

1.     Why did you choose STEM as a career?

It might sound a bit strange, but my passion for health, movement and sports drove me toward mechanical engineering. Let me explain - one of the first physics problems that I had to solve in school had to do with a baseball’s trajectory. I was immediately hooked, and knew I wanted to solve problems for a living.

Following freshman year, I officially joined the power industry through my first internship where I worked on the construction of 2 GE gas turbines. I was fascinated with the knowledge and expertise of the GE team and decided to continue working for the electrifying Power industry. Not everyone can say they are working to power the world – but I can.

2.     How would you describe what you do in 10 words or less?

Simply stated: I find the root cause of problems and develop solutions using digital technologies that help both GE and our customers be successful.

3.     In what ways are you making a difference for your customers?

I believe our ability to adapt solutions are the greatest differentiator we offer our customers. The aim is to find the right solution to fit their needs. For example, we have implemented an online platform for one of our largest customers in the U.S. that allows them to ask questions and raise concerns directly to us. The platform gives them direct access to the entire GE network – from engineering to project management—this way we can address concerns in real-time. We are now expanding this platform to all customers.

4.     Tell me about a time in your career that stands out in your memory

One of the highlights might be more internally-focused but it really stands out to me I participated in a one-day event that gathered colleagues from different businesses and functions to collaborate and exchange simplification ideas. The event was hosted by the GE’s CEO at the time and I was fortunate enough to have lunch with him. I really appreciated the opportunity to speak directly with him and talk about the power industry and its challenges, but also talk about the impact that our work has. When you live in the U.S., you might take for granted that the light will always be on – but that’s not the case everywhere in the world. To know that you are working for an industry that is helping bring power to some of the most remote locations in the world is just inspiring.

Camille Levy

A passion for precision and customer service

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Camille joined GE 12 years ago and has held leadership roles of increasing responsibility. Based in Singapore, she is GE Steam Power APAC Regional Leader

1.     Why did you choose STEM as a career?

It started as a training opportunity as an Energy Economist, where my work involved predicting cost of electricity, carbon pricing and advising utilities, oil majors and governments on energy policies. I realized quite quickly that I was totally driven by the energy sector and all its aspects: the technology side of course, but also its geopolitical perspective and (a bit of patriotism here) the expertise that the French have. After that, I earned a master’s degree in Industrial Economics and continued working in this field that I was passionate about – the power sector – and I joined Alstom and then GE.

2.     How would you describe what you do in 10 words or less?

Help my team serve our customers in the most effective way for the APAC region, which includes 15 countries.

3.     In what ways are you making a difference for your customers?

I think it’s all about being local. My teams are close to our customers, which allows us to respond with speed and agility, while leveraging our worldwide fleet expertise and global footprint. We are in a very competitive market and there is no better way for me to make a difference for my customers than understanding their daily concerns and questions.

4.     Tell me about a time in your career that stands out in your memory

I really enjoyed my five years as head of Sales for France, where I was also Key Account Manager for one of the world’s largest nuclear fleet owners. Don’t get me wrong – it was challenging as I was working for and with a demanding customer in terms of quality and execution excellence, but they were passionate about our technology which equips all of their 19 nuclear operating plants. When you work with a customer that is as passionate and knowledgeable as you and your teams about your technology, you enter into a real partnership with them - it goes well beyond a sales transaction.

Nompumelelo Khumalo

Satisfaction in being part of the solution

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Nompumelelo began her career at GE Steam Power in 2014 as Project Planner trainee for Kusile, a significant power plant project in South Africa. She is now a Project Manager for Steam Power in South Africa.

1.     Why did you choose STEM as a career?

In South Africa, when you are in high school you get the chance to participate in what we call a “science fair.” This is where you can discover new technologies and explore a broad range of jobs in STEM. At the time, I was already good at science and math and knew I wanted to pursue my studies in these fields because I was fascinated by innovative approaches to problem solving. I felt a career in STEM could ensure that I would always be learning and applying innovative thinking in my work.

After earning a degree in Mechanical Engineering with the university of Johannesburg, I started as a project planner trainee. I worked for Alstom and then GE at the Kusile power project – the fourth largest coal-fired power plant in the world – where I was responsible for the management of turnkey subcontractors which has prepared me for my current role as project leader for a service project involving a generator swap. A generator swap is the removal of the old stator core to replace it with a new one.

In this role, I’m responsible for the entire project from start to finish, including bidding, planning, execution, overseeing costs and strategizing our supply chain processes as well as on time delivery of the project within the budget, schedule and quality.

2.     How would you describe what you do in 10 words or less?

That’s a hard one! My daily work is a bit of “madness and adventure”: every day brings about its own issues and challenge. There’s not a day that’s like any other. On a project site, I’m always running into new situations and challenges that need to be overcome through quick thinking and team spirit.

If you just want a few words, I would say: I lead a service project team of 45 people with a common goal to deliver a fully functional generator--at the highest quality, on time and on budget.

3.     In what ways are you making a difference for your customers?

When you work on a service project, you are constantly in contact with your customer. I think I make the most difference by being fully transparent with them on our progresses. Once you start building that relationship, the customer understands they can count on you and trust you and your expertise to deliver on what we promise.

We always go above and beyond, this has enabled the customer to come to us with questions or challenges that might not be in our scope because they trust that we have the experience and expertise to assist and support them.

4.     Tell me about a time in your career that stands out in your memory

It was not that long ago. This past November, I was trusted to take over the project management of the generator swap project. It was – and still is – the most exciting moment as I knew that this role will allow me to excel in my most natural state that of problem solving and always looking for the best solution. To be honest: It’s a tough role, but it’s also exciting and challenging. Every day is different, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I think it makes you stronger, it makes you grow into a better version of yourself.

It also makes you realize that the project is bigger than you: I am proud to say that my kind of work or field allows me to be part of a solution that lights up South Africa, and that I am leading a service project that will help solve the load shedding challenge that we are experiencing in my country. To know that you, your team and your technology are directly impacting the lives of the people in your country, that you are literally part of the solution, is just overwhelming.

Daisy Peng-Wang

Expert engineer with a “team first” attitude

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Daisy Peng-Wang started her career as Project Engineering Manager and joined GE 7 years ago. Based in Beijing, China, she is now Asia Regional Engineering Lead for GE Steam Power.

1.     Why did you choose STEM as a career?

I went to Xi’an JiaoTong University in Shan Xi, China, one of the most recognized in the Technical and engineering universities in the country. To be honest, I chose my major without really knowing what it was about, but I just loved to solve physics and mathematics challenging problems.

After many years of work, I joined GE to work on very big and complex EPC project detailed engineering, where GE leads engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning.

For me, the excitement of being in a STEM career is tackling complex and challenging engineering projects and working collaboratively with the global team to deliver this coal power plant to our customer. We like to say “One team, one Steam!”

2.     How would you describe what you do in 10 words or less?

I lead an engineering team of 15 people all working hard to deliver mega-power-projects around the world.

3.     In what ways are you making a difference for your customers?

As a team leader, I am always investing in my team for continuous improvement, beginning with the technical side of their work and including their soft skills. With that foundation in place, my team members can become a knowledgeable, experts that can take on quick turnaround projects to meet our customers’ requests.

Thanks to our engineering expertise, the power plant delivered based on our drawings will be easier to build, operate smoothly and be even more reliable. I am particularly proud of what we are achieving for power plants like Mangjung and Tanjung Bin in Malaysia, Mae Moh in Thailand, Hassyan in Dubai.

4.     Tell me about a time in your career that stands out in your memory

As an engineer, I have had many moments of great joy overcoming challenges. However, if I had to choose one moment, it would be as a team leader. When I was asked to take over as the leader of my team, I lacked confidence because my strengths were really focused on my technical expertise as an engineer. My biggest accomplishment is really helping my team develop and the increase in confidence I felt after my first year as a team leader. I’m proud of what my team has accomplished both technically and in terms of their soft skills, adopting a real team collaboration across the different engineering functions within Steam Power. Thanks to this new approach, we were able to perform better and deliver even higher outcomes for our customers.

My key learning from this experience is that we should all be more willing to step out of our comfort zone and tackle new challenges.