- IMD Business School
News Stories · Entrepreneurship - General Management - Start-up

Trailblazing engineer and entrepreneur to take a lead role in accelerating renewable energy business

An engineering background and an innovator’s nose make Aurore Amaudruz (MBA 2020) a key driver of the move to renewables in Vaud.
December 2020

As the first woman to join the management team of Romande Energie, a Swiss energy company, Aurore Amaudruz is a trailblazer. An engineer and an entrepreneur who founded the solar energy firm Amaudruz Énergies SA in 2011, she is well versed in the hands-on approach of building a business from the ground up as well as possessing the visionary problem-solving capabilities common to all entrepreneurs.

Now, as co-director of the Energy Solution business unit, 35-year-old Amaudruz will also be the youngest member of the management committee in a co-role intended to accelerate Romande Energie’s transition to renewable energy solutions. She is sanguine about being the only woman on the management committee; her engineering background has meant she is accustomed to being in the minority.

“I’ve always been in a setup where I was kind of the only woman, so I’m not afraid of this. Also, I know there are a few women on the wider team, so I’m super excited to be able to work with them. It is great that diversity is being supported,” she said. Focused on Romande Energie’s Markets division, Amaudruz will lead on several of the business’s main client segments: private customers, businesses, municipalities and real estate professionals. Her previous experience means it is a role that she is particularly well-equipped to hold.

“I have been through all the steps of the value chain in the renewables energy business. I was on the construction side, installing energy systems on roofs from the electrical connection onwards. I also sold the system to the customers, so I was the salesperson, the project manager and the marketing person. So, I think I offer a full spectrum of experience and relationship building,” she said.

Having embarked on her MBA in January 2020 in order to consolidate and formalize her existing leadership and management capabilities, Amaudruz’s strategy for job success began during the March lockdown. Counterintuitively, she started by not actively looking.

“My strategy was to build a network. First, and I think this is really important, because you may have a vague intuition of what you could do, but you don’t know what the precise role is. By reaching out to people you learn about the industry, the market trends and the different roles that exist; I did only that until August. Then I switched to ‘Okay now I know what I want. Now I’m looking for a job,’’’ she said.

Despite being asked by Romande Energie to apply for the role, Amaudruz continued to apply for several others in order to keep her options open. Finally, she had seven offers on the table and opted for this position –  her dream job. The potential for organizational entrepreneurship it offers is a major draw, she said.

Asked whether she is cautious about the shift from running her own startup business, with a clear runway for bold creativity, to operating within an established company with both history and legacy, Amaudruz is certain that her team’s mandate is to be equally innovative.

“Christian Petit, the CEO of Romande Energie, is really promoting entrepreneurship to drive the business forward and my co-director, Guillaume Fuchs, has been with the company for 10 years, during which he innovated and built his own project within the company which was an amazing success. So this is the proof for me that you can be an entrepreneur in a big organization,” she said.

One gets the impression that her current success is by no means her last.