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March 2020
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Control Solutions, Inc. - Minnesota

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Women in the Male World?

A stereotype, but is it still valid?

Katarzyna Goleniewska

Katarzyna Goleniewska,
Marketing Manager,
Global Control 5

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Control Solutions, Inc

I was wondering if I should write an article for the March issue of automatedbuildings.com. On the one hand, the idea and offer/proposition from Ken and other women seemed very interesting to me, but... on the other hand - do I have something interesting to offer the readers?

Until now, I have been motivating my colleagues from the sales department and product management to write interesting, substantive articles.

But since this is a special edition dedicated to women and written by women, I have taken up this challenge... Other women came to my aid, and it's basically their stories.

In a word of introduction, since 2016, I have had the pleasure to work for Global Control 5, a Polish company (it is only 5 years old), which is a manufacturer, supplier and exporter of technologically advanced building automation products under its own brand iSMA.

I have the pleasure of managing a 3-person, 100% female marketing department. One of our areas of activity is cooperation with our Distributors in the field of support and assistance from the marketing side.

I have asked several of our Distributors - women – three questions:

          1. Why they decided to work in such a "non-woman" industry and what is the most important and interesting in this job?

Victoria Smith from ACS (South Africa) responsible for sales, she has been in the business for 3 years. As she talks about herself: I am on the HVAC side of the industry more than the BMS side. To my question she answers: I really wanted to challenge myself and try something new. Before working for ACS I have never been a part of this industry. The industry is constantly evolving, day to day, and making building automation easier and more functional. I also love that we are constantly reaching for more energy-efficient ways to do things!

I really enjoy that every single day is something new. There is always a new project or a new problem that needs to be solved. No day is ever the same!

Natalie Patton, Director of Marketing from Buildings IoT (US) thinks the industry is aware that, building automation and controls are changing really quickly. This creates tremendous opportunity to make an impact because there is simply a lot of work to do. Since we’re at this point of flux – people (customers) know where they want to end up but aren’t sure how to get there - we have a lot of space for innovation in the way we deliver services, develop products, provide support or educate the market. For me, it’s both important and interesting to see the work that I’m doing contribute to a better way of doing things.

There are other things Agata Bielawska, Technical Support & Training Manager from Global Control 5 (Poland), has been pointing out: Diversity, the multitude of issues and discovering new possibilities. Creating new products to make people's lives easier and more efficient - making them more comfortable and optimized in many ways. Additionally, she likes the atmosphere in the company, which was clearly noticeable during the interview. It was my first impression. The second thing was the challenge, the huge challenge of the "unknown", and I like the challenge.

Sharyn Gregory, Commercial Director since 2009 and the CEO since 2018 from Controlworks (Australia) adds that the values are the most important. We undertake what we do by always anchoring this is our values; customer focus, service excellence and being people-oriented. I would encourage women who are looking for an interesting and varied career to join our Group.  Women are capable of covering all roles across our company and all sector. 

My second question may seem a bit old-fashioned, but since we are talking about stereotypes, it fits perfectly into this convention:

          1. Does being a woman help in this job, or does it not?

Turchian Omer, Innon Co-founder, in the industry (UK) for 8 years, confirms that it helps. I believe it does since women can be at times more observant of any issues. So if I sense that one of our services is not right or we can improve certain aspects then I will do something about it. It also helps as it brings a different perspective to this industry and this pushes the boundaries and challenges some of the traditional ways of doing things. Victoria answered: That’s a tricky one… I do think as women we pay more attention to detail, however, I do sometimes get a few men that don’t trust me as much because I am a woman.

Natalie adds: I think being me helps with this job. I’ve found a niche where my communication skills, ability to multi-task and innate curiosity are valued and rewarded. Maybe those are feminine qualities, but I’d like to think that my particular blend of those traits contributes to my success more than any one aspect of my biology.

Agata says she is “stuck with men.” Honestly, I don't know if it matters, because I don't have a comparison - a reference to something else. Since "always" I work mainly with men. I studied with men (I was one of 2 girls in my studies group and after some time I became the only girl). I am "contaminated" with men and probably "stuck” to them. 

And Sharyn sums up: I am who I am and I bring my own approach in which being a woman is a central component. 

From my point of view, I can add that, our emotional, intuitive approach to various things works in many situations.

My last question was regarding the cooperation between men and women, and in fact, engineers, which we know are very demanding group.

          1. Does work with engineers, mostly men, have a positive or negative aspect? What does it you mean for you?

Reliable Controls Turchian confirms that working in the control engineering field is extremely rewarding. I learned a lot and understanding the industry and technology was the main challenge. Working with men is not an issue as for me the most important thing is to understand what challenges our clients have and to try to make their jobs better.

Beatrice from QuickLink Solutions (Italy) responsible for marketing adds: It's a very different set of mind (especially for me coming from communication area). It's not important they are men or women they are very technical in their approach. My goal is to make easier and impact full the comunication.

Natalie says only about positive experiences with everybody she works with for Buildings IOT, Controlco, OTI and Kodaro from engineers to user experience programmers to data scientists to executives. Just as I hope they don’t look at me and think ”She’s great, for a girl” I don’t really focus on the fact that I may be the only female in the room. Do I think everyone can benefit from increased diversity? Absolutely. But I haven’t experienced any disadvantage as a minority in this industry.

Agata who has been always working with men adds: During my studies, sometimes  I had to break through the wall of reluctance and statements: "A woman is not suitable for technical studies so what are you doing here?” I had the impression that I always had to prove that I was in the right place, but maybe this is just my impression. In GC5, I feel that this is my place.

As Sharyn correctly points out, women often bring a different set of skills, they value different points of view and how this can lead to better and stronger decisions.  The ability to work across the Group and the industry is central to my ability to succeed.  One of our key values is being people-oriented and this means we bring about the best in each other to create strong, successful working relationships, we respect people for who they are and for their knowledge, skills and experience and respect that although work is important all of our team have families and a life outside of work.

In conclusion, women like challenges, they are ambitious and are willing to take the action which makes sense and is valuable for themselves and their colleagues. They use their intuition, emotional side and professional approach to every single detail.  At work, in the male world, they enjoy their femininity.

I wish all women all the best on Women's Day.




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