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Inclusion for All: Forging a Future in Production Engineering

May 17, 2022 3 min read

Chanel Brierley has found that staying passionate about learning, being resilient and finding one’s confidence have been key to her professional growth and career at KLA.

“I see many women in leadership roles at KLA, and it inspires me. The inclusive, equitable culture affords everyone the opportunity to learn and grow in their careers. I’m empowered to speak up and be forthright in my opinions. By working in this environment, I can live my best life and pursue my dreams.”

Chanel Brierley, team lead, engineering systems, SPTS division, Wales, United Kingdom

Although Chanel has never been afraid of a challenge, breaking into the silicon chip industry was not simple or straightforward. In 2014, Chanel joined SPTS, which KLA acquired five years later. Initially, she pursued an opportunity to become an apprentice toolmaker and set out to learn about machinery and mechanical parts. This led her to apply for a production engineer role.

While Chanel may not have met the exact criteria for the role, the hiring manager recognized her tenacity and potential cultural add to the team, and he brought her on as the first female in the group.

Finding her Voice

Chanel Brierley began to earn recognition just a year after joining KLA. She and Gareth Williams had a winning project that was recognized at Continuous Improvement Showcase Day 2015.

“Being a woman in this industry hasn’t always been easy,” Chanel recalls. “In the beginning of my career, I was often underestimated, but I used that misperception to my advantage. Through determination, I learned resiliency and ultimately found my voice.”

Chanel thrived and participated in KLA’s educational benefits, earning her business degree while working. She wants to pursue a master’s degree, with the full support of KLA.

“My supervisor said, ‘Because of you, we’re now hiring more women into production engineering,’ which I view as a badge of honor,” she recalls. “The diverse perspective I brought to the group was valued. My supervisor saw the benefit of having a more diverse team and actively considers candidates from different backgrounds and experiences when hiring for production engineering.”

Chanel moved into management by becoming a bill of materials lead. In 2021, she was promoted to an engineering systems team lead. Chanel enjoys serving customers by overseeing design improvements and configuration of tools as well as testing components. She has built a team of 10 and now has two team leaders reporting to her.

KLA Culture and New Opportunities

As part of KLA, Chanel embraced the company’s culture, particularly seeing people like herself in leadership roles. Now, Chanel is looking ahead as she grows her team.

Continuing to trust her instincts, Chanel gives opportunities to people who, just like her eight years ago when she first applied, may not meet all criteria for the role, but possess drive and determination. She also believes the diversity of people and ideas at KLA is a real advantage that results in better products.

Chanel’s advice to others is simple: “Don’t listen to people who doubt your abilities or potential. Follow your head and heart, then go with your gut instinct. If there’s somewhere you want to go, put your mind to it and take it on.”

Chanel (right) and Ewelina Chmielewska with their winning project at the Continuous Improvement Showcase Day 2018.

Be sure to catch up on previous employee spotlights in our Opportunity Ahead, Making the World a Better Place and Inclusion for All series, and don’t forget to browse job openings on the KLA careers page.

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