W4IT: Could you tell us more about who you are and what you do, your leadership style and philosophy?
DP: I am a warranted mechanical engineer specialising in structural and thermofluidic engineering. At the moment, I am the Quality Engineering Section Head in a global semiconductor company with over 47,000 employees around the world and locally the largest private sector employer with 1600 employees.
In this very dynamic manufacturing environment operating machinery 24/7 and delivering high-technology products, I lead a team of young engineers striving to find solutions to the technical/quality issues. I find my role and daily achievements extremely satisfying and rewarding for both the team and myself. In my opinion, this can only be done by adopting a visionary and coaching leadership style, which promotes inspiration and support. Being a ‘people person’, I strongly believe in an affiliative leadership style, which helps to motivate the team by inspiring a harmonious atmosphere.
W4IT: What has been the most career-defining moment for you?
DP: Being promoted as the Quality Engineering Section Head, in a multinational, innovation leading company, after 5 years of practising the profession and being entrusted to lead the team has been the highlight of my career. Providing guidance and taking decisions to help my team reach the goals gives me a great extent of satisfaction on a daily basis.
W4IT: How have technology and digital skills been relevant in your career progression?
Digital skills are imperative in every sector.
DP: In an innovative world where we are moving from manufacturing production to mass production, implementing robotization and digitization of the production processes is a must to be able to adapt our quality control and use the technology available to prevent issues. Quality analysis and reporting is a very meticulous task, accuracy is a must and being able to automate reports in order to get data in real time helps to act immediately when issues arise. With such a real time process, for machine parts identified by our machinery intelligence we are now able to issue an accurate report and react swiftly.
W4IT: How important do you think developing STEM skills is nowadays and why?
STEM is the solution for any improvements.
DP: Engineering helps to improve current systems to make them more efficient and effective. This can’t be done without a robust foundation in science, technology and mathematics.
W4IT: How important is it in the context of women?
DP: I believe that women bring new perspectives in the decision-making process, we as women have a global vision and the ability of multitasking and we are less likely to be affected by our environment disruptions. This helps to increase the robustness of actions being taken and providing different ideas.
Encouraging women to choose STEM topics is a must to adjust the gender inequality, also because a lot of companies are now promoting women recruitment for STEM functions, so they need to have the necessary audience on the market to succeed.
W4IT: Do you notice a lack of women in leadership positions? If so, why do you think this is the case?
DP: Currently yes, but actions and changes are being taken. Gender bias is probably the grounds of such inequality, and I am witnessing that at leadership level men are still more likely to be chosen. Women are still not trusted enough in being able to perform the role at the same level. However, lately I am seeing positive changes in mentality and certain decisions taken at top management level to promote women in the company. I know that this topic is taken seriously and part of the global company objectives, so I am looking forward to seeing the results and changes happening.
W4IT: What is one major leadership lesson you’ve learned in your career?
Adopt the ‘we’ before the ‘me’ philosophy.
DP: Creating an atmosphere of inclusive culture helps to instil a sense of value in team, which is imperative to strive for better results.
W4IT: What advice would you give the next generation of females who are not sure about where a STEM career can take them?
DP: Never fall in the trap that STEM is for men. If you are capable in the role, you will definitely succeed. STEM helps in all aspects of life on both professional and personal level as it helps one to develop a logic way of thinking. It is a challenging career but rewarding.