Cristina Semperboni: Women In Engineering Spotlight

We interviewed Cristina Semperboni about her career journey from graduate to Engineering Manager at manufacturer Flex

When Cristina Semperboni joined Flex’s Milan quality department everything was new. A graduate of Politecnico di Milano, she’d earned her degree in Biomedical Engineering whilst dreaming of working next to surgeons as they installed prostheses and implantable medical devices. At Flex, a leading manufacturer she would help create them, and over the following eleven years rapidly climb in her career. 

The Early years: Success at major manufacturer Flex

It began with a six-month internship. During this internship- and the early stages of her career at Flex- Cristina notes feeling both supported and challenged, mentored by a senior engineer and tasked with solving problems.

“Even when I was new in my career, my managers exposed me to customers and made me accountable for the program I was involved in,” she told Manufacturing Digital. “This trust allowed me to grow and learn all the aspects of my job very quickly, and my confidence increased exponentially.” She feels all of this has contributed massively to her professional success. After her internship, Cristina stayed on at Flex as a consultant, until she was offered a position on the New Product Introduction (NPO) team. “I knew very little about the work of an NPI engineer within the design centre,” Cristina said. “Initially, I was surprised and overwhelmed by all the new information. I wanted to continue my path in the quality department as I was becoming more confident about the quality engineer role.” However, this unwillingness shifted into enthusiasm once she’d spoken to her managers and colleagues about the position, gaining insight into how it could benefit her both personally and professionally. 

Taking the position in September 2014 her first task was an exciting one, to pack her suitcase and travel to China. While there she stepped inside a Flex manufacturing site for the first time.

“After several trips to China, I knew I’d made the right choice,” she told us. “I saw the growth potential in this opportunity even though I was out of my comfort zone. I was working in a new environment with people from a different culture who had different perspectives and job responsibilities compared to a design engineer.” Cristina became the de facto connection point between design and manufacturing, helping them compromise their differing needs. This challenge, with its creation of new working relationships and integration of departments, was in her words: “A great opportunity.” 

Cristina Semperboni: An inspiration to women in mechanical engineering

Then in April 2020, while pregnant and preparing for maternity leave, Cristina was promoted to guide the NPI team.

“I was very proud that Flex entrusted me with this opportunity when I was five months pregnant,” she told us. “While my career had always been my priority, I knew significant changes in my personal life were around the corner.” When Cristina returned after maternity leave Flex gave her space to develop a flexible schedule that supported both her personal and professional commitments. After this Cristina says that Flex’s engineering department underwent “significant reorganisation” leading to the integration of the NPI team with the automated test equipment team (ATE) in 2021. They became the Test & Process Engineering group and Cristina became their head in Flex Milan.

Cristina describes herself as "A pragmatist who tries to live in the moment, always putting forth (her) best effort.” She cites her diligence and ability to capitalise on opportunities as the “fuel” for her career success. She also recognises how her working at Flex has helped her express and channel these qualities. Now a leader herself, Cristina’s long-term goals include making her team stronger. “ I’m using various work sessions to leverage team-building experiences,” she explains. “I’m also organising group activities to further interpersonal relationships among team members. Overall, I hope to live up to the demands of the new role and perform as well as my previous managers."

Cristina endeavours to be a reference point and guide for her team. She’s also an inspiration for any woman looking to enter the field of mechanical engineering and an example of the incredible career outcomes when individuals feel supported and challenged in the workplace.


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