Creativity and female leadership at the service of innovation
During this month, as we commemorate International Women’s Day, we find out what two of our colleagues have been doing to make their mark in the innovation field at Techint E&C.
Although they may be 10,000 kilometers apart, and lead very different personal and professional lives, Arely Acevedo and Laura Pajon Rueda found themselves taking the same path at Techint E&C, that of innovation.
Both women are in charge of the innovation projects carried out at their respective sites: while Arely is running the department from Mexico for the Northern Area, Laura does the same in Italy. Today, they tell us about their experiences, and what it means to be working in the area of innovation, standing at the forefront of change. They also share their perspective on the role of women in a company with over 75 years of history, such as Techint E&C.
"It’s a major responsibility, as innovation is something that is culturally quite difficult to promote," explains Arely. "It’s crucial for management to ensure that innovation permeates all areas and processes, and they want people to be curious and always be alert to new ways of improving things and processes.”
Arely is a Civil Engineer who graduated from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. During her almost four years in the company, she has rotated through various different areas and projects. Today she wears two hats: she’s the assistant general manager of the Northern Area, and the person in charge of Innovation and Knowledge Management. “Actually, I’m just a facilitator, my job is to bring topics into the arena, I give people the tools they need and I keep an eye on the projects, but the real stars of the show are those who make these initiatives happen in each area,” she explains.
Laura has a PhD in Business Management and International Relations. She joined Techint E&C five years ago and also has a dual role to play within the company. On the one hand, she’s a Commercial Analyst and on the other, she checks out companies that have developed innovative processes or services with a view to creating opportunities for work in synergy. She does market analysis, encourages the exchange of ideas, and facilitates innovation management. "The role of women is taking on more and more important in sectors like this," says Laura.
Arely adds that “I always believed that quotas for women in an organization weren’t necessary, as you shouldn’t need to impose conditions according to gender, but respect people’s capabilities and skills instead. Having said that, I do believe that there needs to be a special focus on diversity and that, if a woman applies to work with the company, she should have access to the resources necessary to ensure she doesn’t feel uncomfortable in that context.”
Both are not only optimistic about the current scenario, but also envisage a promising future. “I’m so lucky that my mother also studied engineering, as you can see that generational change; despite the fact that there are still only a few of us, the numbers have been growing since she went to university,” says Arely. “A more equitable future where women are better and more thoroughly integrated. Involving women in project innovation and decision-making makes for better teamwork and enhances added value and productivity. Making space for diversity and ensuring that spaces are created for participation is very positive.” Laura says.
Finally, Arely reflects that “International Women's Day is an opportunity to pay tribute to all those people who have fought to achieve equal rights. It’s our responsibility to continue down that path to achieve an equitable society.”