Innovation Manager

Interview with Cyriane Fournier,
Innovation Manager at Geostock

“Today, I am leaving Geostock!”

In this interview, Cyriane Fournier introduces us to her role as an Innovation Manager. This conversation is quite special since Cyriane will be leaving us in a few days [September 2023] for new horizons within the VINCI group. This is an opportunity for her to look back on her ten years with the company and to share her journey from Corrosion Engineer to Innovation Manager, first at Geostock and soon at VINCI Construction Grands Projets. This interview outlines the profile of an Innovation Manager, in terms of skills as well as soft skills.

Cyriane, what’s your latest news at Geostock?

Credit : Geostock

Well, today, I am leaving Geostock. It’s strange because it’s precisely ten years since I joined the company. That was in May 2013. I had just graduated from engineering school and was hired as a Corrosion and Water Quality Engineer. Today, I am joining our parent company VINCI Construction Grands Projets for an internal transfer, to take up the position of Innovation, Research, and Development Manager. I will also be in charge of Environmental matters. When I first arrived, I must admit, I didn’t think I would stay this long, but Geostock trusted me and gave me the opportunity to grow throughout my career. It was in 2020 that I took on additional responsibilities as the Innovation Manager. It’s a role I’ve really enjoyed and that has allowed me to flourish. Innovation at Geostock is closely linked to the energy transition context, and thus, this Innovation Manager role encompasses environmental governance. So, in taking up my new duties, I’ve also taken on responsibilities regarding sustainable development.

Can you tell us about the role of Innovation Manager?

The role of Innovation Manager involves initially defining the development directions for the future Geostock in partnership with the Executive Committee. Then, it’s about setting a budget and teams to meet our defined objectives. Finally, it’s coordinating teams to ensure the proper progression of each study over time.

What has been your journey to get here?

Initially, I was really drawn to chemistry. I followed a path to become a chemical engineer, which is my primary qualification. I specialized in materials towards the end of my engineering studies. I considered going into cosmetics for a while, but after an internship in that field, I realized I wanted to move towards a more technical sector. Then I discovered professions focused on materials, which, to me, seemed more in line with my expectations, especially on the technical side. It was very different from anything I’d experienced before, with challenges I was unfamiliar with. I found these new challenges very motivating.

Credit : Géogaz-Lavéra

What has this role brought you?

Fresh out of school, I had accumulated a lot of theoretical knowledge. When I joined Geostock, I realized that this knowledge had to be adapted on a case-by-case basis in the field: when you encounter a technical difficulty, it’s about figuring out how to solve it in the local context and specific conditions. These concrete challenges that we face in the field are very formative.

Thus, I’ve worked on finding solutions, even innovations, in the fields of corrosion, water quality, as well as in more specialized areas like geochemistry and hydrogen storage. In short, I’ve learned a lot.

And in terms of soft skills?

Firstly, I would say that I’ve developed my ability to manage people and projects. When I arrived at Geostock, I was barely 25, and soon I found myself supervising inspections at industrial sites, surrounded by an older and predominantly male team. I had to learn to assert myself and be heard; quite a learning curve! The second skill I’ve honed is my ability to communicate effectively in public. As an Innovation Manager, I traveled more and regularly gave presentations at seminars and conferences. So, my ability to speak confidently, both in French and English, has improved over the years.

Credit : GeoDays 2023

What’s your best memory at Geostock?

The first memory that comes to mind is the final conference of the Hystories Program, last May. It was a project aimed at studying the technical and economic feasibility of hydrogen storage underground. We organized a large conference with all the partners we had worked with on this project for two years. It was quite emotional to experience the culmination of all this research work with everyone involved.

Credit : Hystories
Credit : Entrepose

And your worst memory?

I think it was the first time I supervised an inspection. It was in Belgium at an industrial site, and it was in winter. It was very cold, and I hadn’t brought enough warm clothes. It’s a job where you are very static all day, so it was quite challenging. Since then, I’ve remedied this problem by taking more suitable clothing. You learn that too in the field [laughs].

If you had to do it over, would you spend another ten years at Geostock?

Without hesitation, yes! I’ve really enjoyed the various roles I’ve had in the first part of my career. Being part of the VINCI group genuinely opens up career development opportunities through internal mobility. It’s an opportunity to take if you want to shuffle the deck, change your working environment or way of working, or try new things.

Beyond the career aspect, I’ve spent ten really great years at Geostock. I think about the end-of-year parties or the moments shared during inter-CE weekends. In the end, there is a cohesion with all the people at Geostock and a very good atmosphere. It’s like a little family cocoon that we like to come back to, and it will be hard for me to leave.

Credit : Entrepose
Credit : Entrepose

What advice would you give to someone who wants to join Geostock?

From my perspective, I would say that the skills sought at Geostock are autonomy, the ability to work on several projects simultaneously, and proactivity, which allows one to dare and venture out of the initial job description. A passion for energy transition is a real plus because, at Geostock, we are at a point in the company’s history where we can tangibly address this issue. I think we really need more people concerned with these issues to make a difference.


Thank you, Cyriane, for this discussion.



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