Interview with Anne-Marie Thibaudeau – Director of Program Capture within Bombardier Defense
Editorial Team | On October 12, 2023
In celebration of women shattering the glass ceiling in traditionally male-dominated sectors, we are delighted to present an insightful interview with Anne-Marie Thibaudeau. Currently the Director of Program Capture within Bombardier Defense, Anne-Marie Thibaudeau’s journey is a compelling narrative of resilience, curiosity, and steadfast growth.
Embarking on her journey with Bombardier in 2008 as a sales engineer, Anne-Marie attributed her determination and passion to her father, a pilot in the Canadian Armed Forces. She pursued her interests towards the vast expanse of the sky, propelling her to not only earn her commercial and private pilot licenses but also to delve deeper into the technical field with an engineering bachelors and then an aerospace masters.
In the ever-evolving landscape of aerospace and defense, she finds that every day brings a new learning, a new hurdle to overcome, something she cherishes immensely about her role. Her passion for problem-solving, love for learning, and her constant desire to explore have carved many a path and created a multitude of opportunities in her journey.
Away from work, she is a proud mother of two, balancing her high-impact career with her nurturing maternal duties, which adds an extra shine to her accomplishments. This journey was neither uncomplicated nor bereft of challenges, but Anne-Marie’s story goes to show how ardour coupled with an appetite for learning can help conquer any battlefield, inside or outside the office.
Join us as we delve deeper into the awe-inspiring journey of Anne-Marie Thibaudeau, exploring the ways she proves that gender needn’t dictate the altitude of one’s dreams and how Bombardier acts as a springboard for women aspiring to reach beyond the sky.
1. Can you describe your career path from when you started at Bombardier until now?
I started as a Sales engineer then became a Customer Account Engineer within the Challenger aircraft delivery team. After a few years, I moved to a program manager role at the Global aircraft completion center. I progressed as a Manager (people manager) in this role before moving to Bombardier Defense in 2017.
2. What led you to a career in the aerospace industry and how can we inspire more women to take this route?
At the core of this industry are amazing products : aircraft!! Because of the complex technology surrounding the development of aircraft – there are a multitude of technical jobs. Manufacturing opportunities also exist but also there are vast opportunities on the marketing, contract/legal, procurement front given this is a product that is delivered globally.
3. Can you tell us about a time when your curiosity or eagerness to learn benefited you in your work?
It always does. By having natural curiosity, you propel your development and your growth.
4. How do you manage your professional responsibilities while being a mother of two?
It’s hard. I have to remind myself to be present when I’m with my family/kids…i.e. not to bring work issues ‘home’. It’s a mindset.
5. How has your technical education in engineering and aerospace supported you in your role at Bombardier?
Yes 100% – I came in with a baseline understanding. However, it doesn’t mean that someone without one can’t thrive in this industry!
6. What does a typical day at work look like for you as the Director of Program Capture for Bombardier Defense?
No 2 days are the same which is what I love about my job. A sample day can be a mixed bag of a customer negotiation, followed by a technical presentation review, followed by a pricing review for a proposal submission as well as a governance with our government relations team to assess government stakeholder engagements in various countries to support our on-going campaign efforts.
7. How, in your experience, does Bombardier encourage diversity and inclusion at work?
Yes – more and more.
8. As a successful woman in the aerospace, how do you use your role to support other women in the industry?
I’ve done coaching. I have also had several women apply to open positions in my team – I think seeing a woman leader encourages them to apply. As a result, we’ve had great candidates and have grown the percentage of women in the Defense team in the last years since I joined.
9. What practical advice would you give to women who wish to succeed in industries that are traditionally dominated by men?
Be yourself. You don’t need to be like them; accept that you can approach or do things differently and that’s ok.
10. For women who are interested in pursuing a career in aerospace, what would be some good first steps to take?
Explore the opportunities that are available – find one that complements your profile and then try it out!! It’s hard to leave the aerospace industry once you’ve had a taste.