Women play a significant role in the labor market. Nonetheless, many still face gender inequality. Schneider Electric fully embraces equity and is striving to become the most inclusive and equal company in the world. Our CEO, Jean-Pascale Tricoire, underlines in-person the importance of an inclusive work environment. Gender equality should be natural, the same as building gender-equal teams.
What is your perspective on being a corporate woman? Are we already where we need to be with gender equality?
Amy: I think we have made a lot of progress. I am at Schneider for almost seven years, and I see a big focus on women and their leadership. We have allowed ourselves for powerful conversations and made the safe space for women to be promoted and become strong leaders. However, we still have a long way to go. There are only few women at the very top. Hopefully, we will continue to see this transition ramp up. But I do think we are getting better.
Erica: I see a lot of movements in terms of giving opportunity to women and in various levels of knowledge or competence. Entry level jobs are leadership jobs at the level I am at today or in higher positions. But it was not always the case, especially in engineering. So, we are still living the legacy that we have from decades ago. Those opportunities will not give too much for women on leadership roles early in their career or entry level positions for women engineers, or in other areas. If we look at high positions at Schneider Electric, we don‘t see too many women who work for 20, 30 years and have grown to the leadership positions. What Schneider Electric is doing today is leveraging from it in the upcoming decades. We are going to see more leaders brought up by Schneider Electric from the lower levels.
Louisa: Schneider is really focusing on women and helping to develop their careers. For the first time this year we have a Women’s Leadership Cohort, which is a group of around 25 of us and the aim is to empower women and develop confidence in leadership. I think we also need to continue bringing more women in at early career stages to help create a bigger funnel to bridge the gender gap in senior management positions.
Have you ever encountered a gender bias?
Amy: I have encountered unintentional gender bias. It is just because our business, customers, and company are male dominated. Sometimes it happens inadvertently. Conversations should be a bit more inclusive for everybody.
Erica: I can honestly say I have not encountered a gender bias. I had great support throughout my school and the companies I worked for.
Louisa: Being in a very male dominated industry, I would be surprised if women hadn’t come across it at least once. When I first took on a role in sales, I probably didn’t have the confidence to speak out and raise it. However, as my career has developed, I have grown in confidence and in the last few years SE has built several women’s groups across the UK&I to create safe spaces to discuss challenges, share experiences and support one another. This has been super beneficial, and I would recommend all women to get involved!
How do you think Schneider Electric is helping women at the workplace develop their careers?
Amy: Working at Schneider, no matter what gender you are, there’s a lot of focus on helping develop your career. But with the women, there’s an added focus here to make sure that we are given equal opportunity. They help lead and facilitate conversations about women, as well us supporting our career development.
Erica: Schneider empowers women at the workplace and puts them in all leadership positions. It’s about to demonstrate that we can do the job. For the company there is also the benefit of having balance among employees. For us, women, it gives us the ability to grow.
Louisa: We still need to get more women into senior positions but with several existing initiatives, mentoring and bringing more women through early careers I am sure we will see a greater balance. Open Talent Market helps to provide visibility of what is out there in terms of roles and stretch projects, this has really improved transparency and is a great development tool for both men and women across the company.
How would you describe yourself?
Amy: I describe myself as somebody who works hard and plays hard. I love to have new experiences, meet new people, see, and learn new things, both inside and outside of work. I always try to be the best person that I can be, for the company, for myself, for my friends and family.
Erica: I wear myself as I am. I’m passionate about things I find interesting or people who resonate with me. I always put effort and focus on it.
Louisa: I see myself as a very enthusiastic, energetic, and curious individual. I am eager to learn and love adapting to new situations. I really like juggling lots of different things at once and operating in a fast-paced environment.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Amy: I knew I wanted to do things I do nowadays. But I wasn’t sure how it would all play out. If I had a little more faith in myself and the people around me, it would have helped me achieve my goals much faster. I would say to my younger self to be open to any opportunities that arise. To be curious and always trying to learn more, and to challenge myself.
Erica: I would say to myself to not be afraid to ask questions, to say “I don’t know”. When we are young, we are often afraid to say it. We don’t want to ask questions because others will think we’re dumb. On studies, I realized that this way of thinking is hindering the success, learning, and self — progressing. There is no shame about not knowing something or asking. It makes learning much quicker.
Louisa: Don’t be afraid to take your seat at the table. We all deserve to be here. I would also say to not be afraid of challenging other people even if they’re in senior positions and be open minded as we innovate by questioning the way we do things!
Check our video made for celebrating Women at Schneider Electric.
About the Interviewers
Amy serves as Global Account Manager in managing two of the large strategic panel builders that based in the UK and Ireland. She has been with Schneider Electric for over 6 years in cross-functional Marketing & Sales roles focused on business development, marketing strategy, communication, and Customer relationship management. Amy holds a certificate in Business management and a bachelor’s in science, Mechanical Engineering.
Erica started her career as industrial engineer at Schneider Electric in 2017 when she did her Master (Master of Science in Physics, Nanotechnology, and materials science) in Hungary. Then, she moved to the UK and as she developed her leadership, Erica was promoted sequentially to industrial performance leader and then to Process Manager. She is currently Manufacturing Operations Manager in the UK.
Louisa has a strong background in Marketing and Business Management as she started her career in Schneider Electric in 2017 as Graduate Trainee and over the years, she developed her skills in marketing, team leadership, business development, and sales in distinct roles. Her present role is Mid-Market Sales Manager within Schneider Electric’s Secure Power division, focusing on partner programs, Sales V2 and technical support. Louisa holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from Swansea University.