Alicja Reaney, Talent and Global HR Programs Leader for Secure Power, takes the opportunity of International Women’s Day to reflect on the topic of Women in Leadership.
My name is Alicja Reaney and I am Talent and Global HR Programs Leader for the Secure Power Division based in Galway, Ireland. I was born and educated in Poland. During my study for a master’s degree, I had an opportunity to participate in the exchange program with the National University of Ireland in Galway. This experience was in fact one of the turning points in my life and in my career and lead to multiple travels and working abroad in locations such as Central Asia.
I joined Schneider Electric (APC at the time) in 2000 in Galway and my first role was as HR Manager for Central and Eastern Europe. Part of the challenge, as well as the adventure, of this role, was to be based in Paris in the APC Headquarters. I enjoyed this time tremendously as I had a chance to work with and observe company leaders daily.
Over the years with the Schneider family, I have held several senior regional HRBP roles and got to know and support our teams across the globe. I moved to my current role as Talent and HR programs Leader for SP Division just over a year ago.
On a personal level, I am a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter, and a friend to many both locally and abroad. I enjoy cultural experiences through travel, cinema, and theatre, walking, as well as spending time with my family. I am also a passionate reader who set up a local book club 4 years ago.
“I have been proud to contribute to stronger participation of women in management roles and in the workforce overall”
I am delighted to work for a company that has a compelling mission and people vision – focusing on embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion. I was delighted to see the rollout of the HeForShe campaign in Schneider Electric a few years back. As part of the HR team, I have been proud to contribute to the stronger participation of women in management roles and in the workforce overall.
One of the things I really enjoy about my job is the fact that I have an opportunity to shape the future of our company by helping identify and develop talents, both male and female, who will be the leaders of tomorrow.
In my role, I meet new people and extend my network allowing me to learn from others on a regular basis. I love the fact that I interact with people from a multitude of cultures, backgrounds, and generations. I have been very privileged to have great managers in the past and present who gave me many opportunities to advance my career.
Looking back at my life overall, I have had many inspiring individuals that I looked up to. Some of them were close family female relatives, who despite challenging upbringing and environment achieved great personal and professional success. Seeing them enjoying and growing in their jobs, which would have been traditionally male-oriented, made me certain that once you set your mind on something and put in the required work you can do it. Another person who influenced my life was my first English language teacher (female) who opened my eyes to the world outside of Poland and showed me that taking interest in something and pursuing it can bring success.
“My words of encouragement for female leaders is be passionate about your work, empower and take care of your team, listen with empathy.”
In my first corporate job, I was very fortunate to come across a senior executive who became my mentor. Thanks to him my career path developed into HR roles and led me to opportunities to travel and work abroad. At the time I was what we call now ‘early career talent’ and did not have a clear vision of what I wanted to do in the future. From then on, I have been building my knowledge and expertise in the HR field.
My experience in Schneider as a female professional has been extremely positive. Since day one, I have had many opportunities for career advancement. I was able to successfully combine motherhood with my career and have had both the flexibility and support when I needed it for family health events.
My words of encouragement for female leaders is to be passionate about your work, empower and take care of your team, listen with empathy. Above all, believe in yourself and reach for the stars!
Happy International Women’s Day from Schneider Electric! What do you #ChooseToChallenge? To learn more about what we are challenging this year, visit our website www.se.com/diversity!
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