Equality in the workplace and why I love working at QUADROtech
As a woman engineer and foreigner, I’ve had to deal with workplace equality issues for most of my life.
Women are typically seen in marketing departments, in HR (possibly because they are considered to be “nurturing”), in administrative roles or other supportive functions within an organisation.
So, how does it feel to not be in a “gender-appropriate” position? Who determines what that is in the first place, and, does it really matter in the end?
Looking at myself, I am proud and excited to speak to an audience about technology, about Quadrotech’s solutions, about my experiences in the industry. If asked about myself? I would probably draw a blank without having a bit of time to mull things over.Being a foreigner to this country (a German, living in the UK for the past 18 years), a woman and a technologist, I always had the feeling that I needed to prove myself somehow. I needed to “overcome” self-invented obstacles like my accent and the fact that I’m a woman in a predominantly male work environment with most of my customers being male, too. I felt I needed to deliver extra skill, determination, charisma, passion, and so on – just to be on par with a male UK or US colleague.
It took me several years and a great mentor (who, by the way was a man) to tell me that the attributes I considered as obstacles are in fact my advantages! So there is an accent, so what? Doesn’t it mean that people may listen even more closely to what I have to say? I bring it out in the open, now. I’ll let people: Oh, the accent you are hearing? It’s German. That way, they stop wondering and can focus on what I have to say. It often also sparks up another little chat about where exactly I am from or that they have been to this or that place in Germany and liked it. I have created a little memorable occasion and that might have just added another positive spin to the decision making process, as by association it made them remember our products, our services and ultimately lead to a successful close of a project.Quadrotech as a whole does not see me as different and that’s what makes it special to me. When I am debating with my colleagues, I’m just “one of the guys”. If I say something exceedingly female, I’m indulged and still: It is my knowledge, my skill and my passion about the products and the technology that make my colleagues heed my opinion, appreciate my candour and, on occasion actively seek my advice.
The end result is a true team – without artificial borders on gender, ethnicity or backgrounds. A collaborative environment that is free to innovate, create and encourages its members to express themselves fully and without inhibition: QUADROteam!
Stefanie Elvers is a Presales and Service Delivery engineer at Quadrotech with more experience in the fields of archiving, messaging and information intelligence than she cares to admit to in public. When not working, Stefanie enjoys cooking for her family and friends, travelling and playing with her many cats.