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by Louise-Helene Filion
Image from YouTube/MotorCities
Published 7.21.2021

Mary France Oudin 


EDITOR'S NOTE: July is French American Heritage Month, and July 24 marks the anniversary of the city of Detroit's founding by a Frenchman named Cadillac in 1701. In light of this, we are sharing this interview by our current MotorCities Research Fellow Louise-Helene Filion with Mary-France Oudin, who is a Senior Program Manager at local auto supplier Mahle-Behr USA in Troy. 


MotorCities reached out to French cultural and networking institutions in the region to find out which stories remained to be told about workers of French origin who had been active in the auto industry in Michigan. It is through the Alliance Française de Détroit, and one of its board members, John Cooper, that we were able to reach Oudin. A former colleague of Cooper’s at Valeo, Oudin has over 25 years of experience in the automotive industry, both as a program manager and as an executive administrative assistant. Her story is fascinating from a historical, cross-cultural, and industrial perspective. This interview traces the beginnings of her parents’ immigration journey to her own experience as an employee in the automotive industry on both sides of the Atlantic, while discussing her role as a mentor for young French expatriates in Michigan.


You can watch the interview here.