Holding a senior management position and working in the field isn’t a burden, but it’s certainly a challenge. I would provide just one example: when I started working for this company, one of the main tasks was to sign contracts with new buildings that were under construction. And that involves a structure for negotiating and reaching agreement where 90% of the people are men – investors, engineers, construction site bosses etc. The Belville complex was being built, during my first or second year at SBB. I arrived at work dressed as I always do, wearing heels, red patent leather shoes.
I headed to the construction site and, at the door to a container office, a man gave me a hardhat and asked: where will you go in those shoes? I said I was going for a meeting. I know it’s a meeting, he said, but this is a building site… Never mind. Five of them followed behind me: a colleague who was the construction site boss, me from sales, him from technology, investors, bosses… And we somehow reached an agreement. That was definitely a challenge; it was a completely different kind of energy that helped me strengthen myself in such situations.
When it comes to me entry into a top management position, I would say that the credit definitely belongs both to my colleagues and myself. That’s because I wouldn’t be what I am today without the support of colleagues who are hierarchically above me, below me and on par with me, and I wouldn’t be as successful as I am today.
I wouldn’t be what I am today without the support of my colleagues at all hierarchical levels, and I wouldn’t be as successful as I am today
In terms of gender equality, I’m not sure if it is promoted at our company or if it is a natural occurrence. I head sales, for example, where the counters of our branches are mostly staffed by women, and we reached that situation naturally, without being compelled. On the other hand, you have the technical department and technicians, the majority of whom are men. We recently received a polemical question: why have we never hired more female technicians? It seems to me that the men at our company would also like to see what it would look like if they were joined by a female colleague in a job that isn’t considered “feminine”. The same applies, albeit in the opposite direction, to us in sales: I like to see some young man who would work at a counter apply for a job in sales. That’s a really nice thing, a nice challenge, because combining energies, both in management and in the field, is a good thing.
Although we face numerous challenges in the further expansion of the company, what instils strength in me is the synergy I have with my colleagues in the team, for any kinds of moves we make. I feel proud when I see and feel how we are all participating in our struggle on the ground; that we are aware that it is only together that we can make the right decisions that lead to stability and success. One very important thing is that you have to love both the company and the work you do.