Interview with Danxi, Electronics Design Leader at Valeo

Danxi is originally from China but came to France to study and joined Valeo full-time in 2016. She’s now an Electronics Design Leader, managing a team of engineers from Valeo’s site in Cergy, near Paris.

Portrait of Danxi, Electronics Design Leader at Valeo in France - Dare. Care. Share

Portrait of Danxi, Electronics Design Leader at Valeo in FranceHow did you come to work at Valeo?

Danxi – I came to France from China to study mechatronics – that’s a multidisciplinary field that encompasses skills needed in the contemporary, advanced automated manufacturing industry. It blends mechanics, electronics and computing. While I was studying, I heard about Valeo and applied for an apprenticeship. I ended up doing a three-year apprenticeship here, so I learned a huge amount that helped my studies and also introduced me to the Valeo culture.

Did you take a full-time job with Valeo straight after graduation?

D. – In fact, no. I went to work for a different company, creating lighting solutions for the automotive industry. But after a few years, an opportunity came up at Valeo and I was able to rejoin in the hardware department.

Portrait of Danxi, Electronics Design Leader at Valeo in FranceWhat exactly do you work on now – can you explain it to non-technical people?

D. – My role now is Hardware Design Leader – that means I am responsible for developing the hardware for some of Valeo’s products. Right now, as we are very focused on electrification, I work on something called a 48-volt inverter. This is a piece of hardware that converts and regulates the power between the battery and the motor of the electric vehicle. The principal aim is to provide more power and a smoother ride, all while cutting CO2 emissions.

Do you work on your own or in a team?

D. – I manage a team – four people in France and three in India. I also work closely with other departments at Valeo, coordinating with the mechanical team, the systems team and the software team. On a typical day, I might start off by catching up with colleagues on-site and in India to check our progress, then meet with a supplier, before presenting an update to the technical project leaders, to discuss how our hardware is progressing and to ensure the project is still on track.

When I’m not in meetings, I might be at the laboratory here at the Cergy site to test our hardware. We need to put everything through rigorous testing to ensure all electronic parts work well before integrating them into the product, and sometimes I go to the labs at the Créteil site to test our parts directly with the motors there.

Portrait of Danxi, Electronics Design Leader at Valeo in FranceSounds busy…

D. – We manage well! Sometimes when we have a big deadline looming or we hit some sort of unexpected challenge then we have to work overtime, but overall I find the work-life balance very good at Valeo. The teams are very diverse, with different ages, nationalities and cultures all working together. That helps relieve the pressure as everyone brings a different perspective to the table. Solutions come from all sides and everyone is allowed and encouraged to have their say and collaborate to find the best way forward.

Is that typical of the Valeo culture?

D. – Yes, I think so. I always found Valeo to be a very welcoming place to people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. When I joined, I was the only woman in my department but I never felt any discrimination. Since then, more and more female engineers have joined and I really feel everyone is treated equally. I would stress that to women who are thinking of training to be engineers or who are considering applying for a position at Valeo. It’s a great place to work, as a woman. I’ve always felt welcomed and valued here.

Do you socialize with your work colleagues? What do you like to do outside work?

D. – We socialize a lot at work. We always eat together and we often do fitness classes or go running before lunch at the Valeo site. On the weekends, I take the chance to travel. I love to travel and it’s so easy when you’re based in France to get out and see different places and different countries.

Portrait of Danxi, Electronics Design Leader at Valeo in FranceDare, Care, Share. Which word resonates most with you?

D. – Dare! My role is all about finding innovations and you need to be daring in your thinking to do that. Valeo is a great place if you want to be daring. For example, you have to dare to show your strengths and your passion. If you do that, you’ll be rewarded! When I started working on the 48V inverter project I was able to demonstrate my capabilities and really show the team what I could do, and I won a promotion to team lead because I dared to reach for it. That’s one of the great things about Valeo.