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Saab Global

Future leaders with international ambitions

6 min read

ADELAIDE is arguably one of the most pleasant places on earth right now—its autumn and three young women on the trajectory of promising careers are here on a mission. Rachel Klink from Syracuse, New York, Maria Andersson from Nyköping, and Yasmin Chaoui El Kaid from Stockholm, Sweden are here to learn as much as they can about Saab's international business because they will potentially join Saab's next wave of leaders.


Left to right: Rachel Klink, Maria Andersson, Yasmin Chaoui El Kaid

Although they are all in the Saab Graduate Leadership Program, they have individually planned international rotations through Saab Australia which happen to overlap. Although the majority of time of each of their assignments has been in the Adelaide headquarters, they have also been able to travel interstate to other Saab Australia satellite offices in Perth and Canberra.

Rachel Klink studied mechanical engineering at the University of Rochester, New York and joined Saab in June 2016 as an integration and test engineer. "After a year as an I&T Engineer, I started transitioning into a program management role in preparation for the start of the Saab Graduate Leadership Program," she said.

Based in the USA, Rachel has been working on the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program with the Sea Giraffe radars which she says has been the most exciting work she's been involved in so far. "It's a multi-faceted program that always provides new challenges which is great! I was able to learn and experience so much during the seven months I was able to work on the program," said Rachel.

Whilst in Adelaide, Rachel supported maritime project manager Andrew McCauley with program management activities for the SEA 1654 program, specifically updating contracts and preparing the software support plan. "SEA 1654 is a Royal Australian Navy project of two auxiliary oiler replenishment ships which will have an integrated combat system based on Saab's 9LV platform. Saab is providing the combat system engineering services including system design, integration and integrated logistic support," said Rachel.

Rachel also joined a small team of Saab Australia second-year graduates who mentor local high school students in the Subs in Schools national high school program designed to get students interested in engineering. "I would love to see involvement in this program increase and expand globally and America may be just the place to look next," said Rachel who wrote a blog about her involvement in the program.

Maria Andersson holds a master of science in industrial engineering and management from Mälardalen University and worked in the Swedish Armed Forces on a full and part time basis since 2010. "Besides my employment with Saab, I am active as a reserve officer in the army reserve in Sweden. I have also worked a short period at ABB with the supply chain, and with the Swedish trade union Swedish engineers".

Maria spent one month of her three-month Australian assignment in Saab Australia's Canberra office, understanding the market area's major local customer, the Australian Department of Defence. "Gerard Ogden's team in Canberra gave me good insight to sales and marketing, business development and strategy, and industrial cooperation in the geographic region. I also got the opportunity to participate in many interesting meetings at the Swedish Embassy and the House of Parliament," said Maria.

In Adelaide, Maria has been assisting SEA 1180 project manager David Jucha as the team starts work on the situational awareness system for the Royal Australian Navy's new offshore patrol vessels. "I'm working on assignments linked to project management since my future role after the program will be project manager for the Surveillance C2S business unit in Järfälla, Stockholm. In the future, I would love to work at Saab's international divisions as an expatriate, and to be a part of Saab's international business in a foreign environment," said Maria.

Maria also visited the Royal Australian Navy's base in Rockingham, Perth where she boarded HMAS Ballarat, an Australian frigate under maintenance and is back in Adelaide this week with plans to meet the Australian leadership team.

Yasmin Chaoui El Kaid is an Aerospace Engineering graduate from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. She is a supply chain analyst within the sourcing and production team in Saab's Surveillance business area.

Whilst in Adelaide she's spent most of her time immersed in Australia's civil solutions business, learning every aspect; from marketing & sales to product and project development, right through to support. She is also scheduled to visit the Grafton prison building site in New South Wales which will have the largest Saab Australia OneView physical security information management system installed and operating by 2020.

Yasmin also got to experience the mixed reality applications developed by the Adelaide engineers who worked side-by-side with the Microsoft HoloLens developers in Seattle. "To say the mixed reality applications Simon McDougall's team has created are impressive, is an understatement. Until now, I'd only seen concepts, not seen anything so advanced such as a complete, functioning app. I see so much potential for this team and others within the Saab group to work collaboratively in this exciting new area," said Yasmin.

These three women look forward to taking what they experienced here in Australia into their future roles. It's clear they are enjoying the experience and doing everything possible to learn from the opportunity.

 "I am very proud to be a part of Saab and its important role to increase security in society and to make people safe. For me, working at Saab is an opportunity to learn and develop myself from all the surrounding knowledge and experience my fellow colleagues provides me with every day", said Maria.

For Yasmin, she said she's had the opportunity to work on many exciting projects, with interesting people in different locations including her time in Australia, but if pressed to pick one project she said it would be the Saab Graduate Strategy Project. "It's a project that we graduates got from Kockums where we studied the Unmanned Surface Vehicle market and did a strategic benchmark for Kockums," she said.

"I am very proud to work at Saab! I think it's a magnificent company with exciting and innovative products. I am proud of being part of a company that is able to accomplish and contribute so much globally. I foresee growing with Saab and look forward to all of the opportunities that may come my way. It is hard to say what I will be doing in the future because we work in such a fast moving and changing industry," said Rachel.


Those of us at Saab Australia who spent time with Yasmin, Rachel or Maria wish them every success for their future careers and look forward to the time our paths cross again.