Women Engineers leading the course
Belén Guachamin, Karina Aguas Mosquera y Neydi Ñiacasha have been performing key functions in Ecuador. Women who build, encourage and inspire.
The engineering field, particularly the construction industry, has been dominated by men. Times change and today, more and more women are accessing important and challenging positions. In Ecuador, just over 20% of staff are female engineers, many of whom hold leadership positions.
Belén Guachamin entered the oil world after graduating from university. She has been in the engineering area of Techint E&C for five years, where she started as a project engineer and is currently the Engineering Coordinator of the Auca Project, Block 61. To date, she has been part of a great transformation: the staff of the sector going from 24 collaborators to 180. The enormous challenge that this mechanical engineer faced in her leadership role was to face the great changes regarding the way of working, of putting together the team, of functioning, both in person and during the pandemic, where everyone was in sync like clockwork.
Karina Aguas Mosquera has been working directly with Belén for four years and is assigned to coordinate the resources and projects of the Auca Project in the Dayuma Engineering office. She says that her previous boss was the one who gave her the opportunities to integrate into the world of coordination. “You have to be wise to deal with the client, you have to be flexible in the requirements and avoid misunderstandings,” says Karina.
From her experience, Belen confesses that the relation with the client was complicated at first but says that: "Over time they have been learning and accepting us."
For her part, Karina maintains that although they are all professionals, we have skills and we can carry out projects, the fact of being a woman hits certain aspects. “From the university, professors have been known for saying that mechanical engineering is not for women,” she says. And she told how a client did not want to deal with her. Of course, he didn't tell her directly. It was implicit: one day he received an email from the client telling her that they were going to continue discussing the issue with his peer. "I received great support from my peer and leadership, who told him that if I was dealing with the issue, it would end with me."
For Belén and Karina, the most beautiful thing about their work is to see what was designed on paper reflected in reality: the work materialized, built and in operation. They get excited when observing the result of the work carried out, in which collaborators, families, company and themselves are involved.
Another of the women leaders is Neydi Ñiacasha. She came to Techint E&C 7 years ago. In 2018 he began to work as an instrumentation group leader and is currently in charge of a team of 28 people (20 direct and 8 instrumentalists who are in the AUCA and Shushufindi field). She enjoys building close ties and considers her team as family members. “Seeing how they motivate themselves, how they excel is something that I enjoy in my role as leader,” she says, confessing that it is difficult for her when a project ends and she has to say goodbye to someone in the company. She affirms that she loves her work, fundamentally creating: “I am passionate about seeing that the processes work on their own, that the designs materialize, that something can be produced”.
Neydi maintains that in this leadership role, organization is critical for being successful not only at work but with her daughter. “I have to organize my time very well to achieve a balance between work and my personal life and thus teach my daughter that you can go far and that she has no impediment to getting what she wants. The strong motivations I have been to feel that I, as a person, as a woman, as an engineer, can show that I am good and that my work is recognized and also be our livelihood”, she indicates. The workgroup also motivates her to move forward and enjoy the daily tasks.
Similarly, Belén highlights the workgroup. “We work very well, we are aware of what we need, it is asynchrony where each one knows what to do. And if one falls, she knows what she has to do in order to help and get ahead. The way of working in a group is what calls me to continue working”, she assures. Additionally, she considers her family to be her driving force. “My two sisters are my motivation. I am single, but one of them is the most important person, who is about to graduate and it is significant that she sees how one can advance and progress on her own merits”, she comments.
Meanwhile, Karina agrees with the importance of the boost her family gives her. “When my parents say that they are proud of what I have achieved, they feel that they did their job well and I consider that I am compensating them for everything they have done for me. It is also exciting to hear my nephews say they want to be like me and that my brothers and boyfriend are proud of what I have achieved. It's the people behind you that make you feel like you're doing something important," she says.
On the other hand, Karina celebrates that in the industry there are more and more women occupying important roles in companies. The desire and effort are some conditions to move forward. However, she emphasizes that leaders are also needed who can guide, teach and let act as Gabriel Martínez - Ecuador's Engineering Manager - has done. “It takes more than having the predisposition, opportunities are needed and these are born by the leadership. There is a lot of capacity,” she says.
Belén and Neydi agree that it is essential that schools and universities motivate and provide tools to women and girls to encourage them to study, train and go far.
“Here we have opportunities. We have quite a few benefits; they treat people well, because Techint has in its bases that the employees contribute to the growth of the company”, highlights Neydi.