From working parents to military veterans, GE Aerospace would not be the company it is today without its employees. We created “Quick Six” to celebrate our diverse talent by asking employees six questions that uncover the unique ways that they contribute to GE and the world.
Sophie Davies is based in Bishops Cleeve, Cheltenham and attended Durham University where she studied applied psychology. Outside of work, she likes to spend time with her family, walk her dogs, visit her husband’s Herefordshire cows, and travel in their camper van.
Tell us about yourself and what you do at GE Aerospace?
I started at GE Aerospace on the Military Officer Leadership Program (MOLP) in March 2022.
I am currently on my third eight-month rotation in MOLP as a manufacturing programs leader, working in programs. So far I’ve completed rotations in supply chain manufacturing engineering and business operations.
My current role is varied and covers change management, visual management, and collaboration on the Falcon 10X Program. All of my rotations have each taught me something different and challenged and developed me. I have been very fortunate to see different parts of the business being part of the program.
Why and when did you decide to become a Military Officer Leadership Program leader? Describe the inspiration and path.
I decided to apply for GE Aerospace because aviation has always been a passion of mine from a very young age, having attended air shows and having been lucky enough to travel with family.
Starting from joining British Airways as a cabin crew member to transitioning to the British Airways head office for nearly seven years in a number of commercial roles, followed by joining the Royal Air Force as an Officer, GE felt like the next step of the journey. The MOLP appealed to me due to the diverse opportunities for rotations, the development and growth offered and the ‘soft landing’ of transitioning from the military back into the corporate world.
It is a unique mid-career program, with learning opportunities, challenges, variety, and ambiguity, which really appealed to me.
What has been your highlight so far being on the MOLP?
The opportunities I have been given for personal and professional growth have been a definite highlight.
I have been able to attend finance training at Xavier University in Cincinnati and have been lucky enough to be mentored by some incredible leaders. Having fellow MOLPs going through similar experiences, creating a safe space to share ideas or frustrations has also been highly beneficial to me and my growth. My assignment and program leaders, and of course the teams I have had the pleasure of working with, have all shared their subject matter expert knowledge and made me feel so welcome. Lastly, the rotational aspect of the program and the training opportunities afforded over a two-year period have been crucial.
What inspires you in your work?
For me, culture is very important. It is fantastic to work for a company that demonstrates its values and leadership behaviors daily. The talent we have at GE Aerospace and working with people who think differently than myself and challenge me really inspires me. I am treated with respect as an individual and I feel valued. I think we have a diverse work force, and it feels so inclusive that even though I’m one of the only female veterans on site, I do not notice. We also have incredible employee resource groups that work together to promote and leverage diversity.
Tell us about your experience with the Women’s Network?
I was fortunate enough to attend the Women’s Networking United Kingdom and Ireland event in Wales in November with 140 peers. Nick Blakeney, the site leader for Wales, highlighted the importance of ‘growing and retaining female talent at GE’. The theme was belonging, and there were some incredibly inspirational speakers. Topics such as imposter syndrome, growing confidence and discussing the importance of diversity and inclusion were covered.
Jessica Ensani, Executive Director of Assembly & Test at Durham Rally, said something very powerful which resonated with me, ‘We are all a working progress but a master piece at the same time.’
To be in a room with so many women and male allies with the focus of belonging, feeling welcome and lifting each other up was my first experience of feeling so valued and included within a company.
Angie Norman, Executive Senior Lean Leader – Commercial Engines & Services and Leader of the Women’s network globally said ‘See it, be it, together we can.’ Which has also really stuck with me. To see so many senior female leaders sharing their experiences with us was invaluable.
What has GE Aerospace afforded you that you don’t think you could get elsewhere?
GE Aerospace has an open-door policy, meaning everyone is so helpful and happy to share their knowledge and expertise, and nothing is too much trouble. I have been extremely lucky to have a number of incredible mentors while participating in the program. I have really enjoyed being valued for my opinions, ideas and approaches.
The training opportunities are also fantastic at GE Aerospace. This is something that really stands out for me, whether it be lean training or leadership courses, the resources are incredibly valuable and have given me skills I can use across all rotations and as my career progresses.
Being part of the MOLP and having our US MOLP colleagues has also been a great support while transitioning out of the military.