Diversity: women transforming technical fields at Worldsensing

Barcelona,

Worldsensing’s moves to promote diversity are not only strengthening the business but also helping to nurture a more diverse workforce in technical fields. Take geotechnical engineering, for example. It’s a career in which men outnumber women by more than three to two.

But you could be mistaken for not knowing just by looking at Worldsensing’s recent hires. To celebrate diversity on International Women’s Day 2021, here are some first-person accounts from Worldsensing women who are choosing to challenge male dominance in technical subjects.

Carmen Espino López, customer success engineer

How did you end up choosing a technical career?

Unlike many people here, I’m not a geotechnical engineer but I work in IT. I had previously worked in FNAC, then Vodafone, and my best friend, who worked in engineering, said they were looking for someone in IT support [at Worldsensing].

One of the things I noticed when I joined was that there aren’t that many women in this sector. I found that surprising. When there’s a customer visit or we have to do training, it’s always men. But I’ve never met anyone who said, “I’d rather speak to a man.”

And that had happened to me in my previous jobs. Not much, but it had happened. That doesn’t happen here.

How do you view diversity working in this environment?

I must say that in this company I’ve never felt it’s a problem being a woman. It’s true that it’s unusual to be a woman in engineering, but you don’t get treated differently for being one.

Sometimes you get the feeling that people are listening more carefully to a [male] colleague, but maybe it’s not because you are a woman. It may be because you are younger or your colleague has more experience.

It’s the same with customers: they might address a male colleague first but that might be because they know each other better.

Kelsey Kidd, North American sales manager

How did you end up choosing a technical career?

I focused on geology right out of school. I’ve always loved being outdoors and enjoying Mother Nature. I’ve always collected rocks and things like that. I’ll never forget my first geology course and meeting my professor.

I don’t know if you know anything about geology professors, but most of them are really eccentric. I loved it. I was sure at that moment that I was going to become a volcanologist or a crystallographer.

How do you view diversity working in this environment?

It’s definitely always been a more male-dominated discipline. But there are also a lot of strong women who are paving the way for other women. I feel lucky that I wasn’t the one necessarily forging through. You just get used to being the only female in a room full of males.

I think you just take it in your stride and make sure your voice is heard. And I think it’s also taught me to speak up a bit more and be a bit more confident in a room full of older men who have been working in the industry for a long time.

I definitely can be assertive and make sure I get my point across. It took me a while to understand that by speaking up you can gain credibility.

And if you’re expressing your ideas and thoughts, you’re able to have more constructive conversations with people, rather than taking a backseat and just listening.

Angela Lluch Gracia, application engineer

How did you end up choosing a technical career?

When I was young, I had the idea of working in a more outdoor environment and not having to spend eight hours a day working in an office and because I like the mountains, I chose to study Geology. Although, I have to say that I have not always had the chance to spend time working outdoors throughout my career as I had ideally imagined.

Owing to the supply and demand of jobs at the time, I ended up working in the construction sector after graduation in Geology. As a consequence I wanted to widen my horizons in a more applied way and that led me to study civil engineering while gaining experience working as a geologist. I think it was a good choice since both subjects have things in common.

So my career ended up being a consequence of what I liked and what I found in the job market.

How do you view diversity working in this environment?

In regards to diversity, although it is true that it is an environment in which the male presence continues to predominate, from my own personal experience and that of my environment, I can affirm that discrimination or differential treatment due to the fact of being a woman within the work environment is not common, much less tolerated. From my point of view, I have always noticed that the professional attitude and experience with the fact of being a man or a woman have been valued, so it should not be a determining factor when deciding on a sector like this.

If a man or a woman is attached to this field, he or she will not hesitate to dedicate themselves to it. It is a field in which, although the demand for specialists can be somewhat cyclical, it offers many options to work abroad and have different types of trainings that allow you to adapt to other fields that may not be your own specialty. It can also give you access to other job profiles.

From a gender perspective, I wouldn’t point to anything in particular because I’ve never found myself in a situation that worried me. It’s true that this sector is mainly a masculine one but wherever I’ve worked I’ve found there was always a mix of genders. I’ve never felt uncomfortable.

Tamara Maxwell, technical sales, North America

How did you end up choosing a technical career?

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in high school. But I loved math and science experiments, getting my hands on things and figuring out how they worked. And we had a great engineering school down the road from me, called Colorado School of Mines.

So I ended up going to Colorado School of Mines and graduated there in four years with a bachelor’s degree in materials engineering. I wasn’t quite ready for the traditional desk job, so I went out and worked in the field for an oil and gas service company.

I was in the field for three years, just travelling from site to site, and in that time saw a big increase in the amount of women. But it was definitely a shock. You had to learn how to hold your own. And once you did, you got respect.

I would say having that field experience is super beneficial to being an expert at your job in the later years.

How do you view diversity working in this environment?

It’s interesting: at Worldsensing I’ve been working with quite a few women. I feel like it’s got diversity in that respect, as well as working with people from countries all over the world. It’s very impressive.

  • Highlighting growing awareness of the importance of diversity, one of Worldsensing’s engineering teams has renamed itself the Ada Team in honor of Ada Lovelace, the 19th century mathematician and writer who wrote the world’s first computer algorithm. The all-male Ada Team’s work is key to the business and is shared regularly with the rest of the company. Naming the team after a female computing pioneer may not seem a big deal—but it’s a step the team hopes will inspire more inclusive thinking across the rest of the business.

About Worldsensing

Worldsensing is a global IoT pioneer. Founded in 2008, the industrial monitoring expert works with over 270 engineering partners in more than 60 countries to deploy critical infrastructure monitoring solutions in mining, construction, rail and structural health.

Worldsensing has more than 80 employees and offices in Barcelona, London, Los Angeles and Singapore and investors include Cisco Systems, Mitsui & Co, McRock Capital and ETF Partners, among others.

Press contact:
Jennifer Harth
press@worldsensing.com

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