People
Published: June 23, 2021
People
Published: June 23, 2021

Meet Our Engineers Who Are Helping to Challenge Gender Inequality

June 23 marks International Women in Engineering Day and in honor of this day, we are recognizing female professionals working in engineering roles within our company. Hear from four of these remarkable women about their experiences in this field. Learn what motivates and matters to them, and about why it is so important to encourage more young women into the technical sector.

Kübra’s Childhood Dream of Feeling the Rainbow

Time to meet Kübra Aslan, process engineer at our Bursa plant in Turkey. Since childhood, she has always dreamed of working in the paint industry. In fact, that is why she chose to study chemical engineering!

Kübra joined us three and half years ago when she was a chemical engineer graduate student and held the position of production engineer at PPG. She was very grateful for the opportunity of working alongside her studies.

Just like mountaineering, which is my hobby, my job requires attention, planning, and risk assessment.

To Kübra, paint is about much more than its engineering.

The meaning of paint is about breathing the colors – to ‘feel’ the rainbow that we rarely see.

“You Can See Women Everywhere!”

When asked about the gender inequality women sometimes feel in the field of engineering, Kübra tells us it is not a problem at her plant and that there is an equal number of men and women in her department.
You can see women everywhere in our plant. We have many female colleagues working in different technical departments. In fact, our plant manager is a woman!

She feels very lucky to be working in an environment that not only recognizes the great importance of having women in management teams, but also of encouraging them to improve themselves. And she is particularly grateful to plant manager Hasibe Işık Fırçacı for her leadership, friendship and mentoring.

Jennifer Never Questioned Her Ability to Succeed

Jennifer Mathewson started as a manufacturing engineer in the Springdale plant, USA, right after gaining her degree in chemical engineering.
I was just out of school and very excited to be able to work hands on and learn from the operators and supervisors in the plant.

Now Lean Six Sigma (LSS) global deployment champion, Automotive OEM Technical, Jennifer has been working with us for a cumulative 10 years.

One of the ways she supports the science and technology teams is by helping them think about ways of eliminating process complexities, pain points or hand-off issues so they can spend more time on product and less on process.

I have seen incredible results when we give teams ownership and the time and support to solve their own problems, rather than having someone step in and solve it for them.

A STEM-inspired Upbringing

Jennifer’s family has always been a huge motivator for her in pursuing an engineering degree.
My parents, schools and community were all advocates for STEM and this fueled my love for the sciences and problem solving.

Today, she works in a leadership team in an automotive technical organization that has a female majority. Jennifer is also a board member of the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland, to which The PPG Foundation has made significant recent contributions.

I am proud to represent PPG on the board and have the opportunity to advocate for and support the next generation of scientists and engineers.

Deisi Believes Motivated People Can Achieve Amazing Results

Though Deisi Schenkel has only been our site manager in Gravatai, Brazil, for six months, she’s already made quite an impact.
Due to the intensity of my routine and the passion I have for my work, it feels like I have been working here for two years!

Deisi considers one of the most interesting parts of her work to be finding opportunities to improve our business.

I like to lead transformations, to leverage growth and to motivate people. I especially like to see people satisfied with their jobs and their outstanding results.

Women Pushing Against Barriers in Engineering

I think that women still need to push against barriers and work harder than men in engineering. Those who don’t unfortunately do not progress in their career.
In her personal experience, she has struggled with balancing maternity, career, house organization and marriage – and she feels that, even today, women are more overloaded than men.
I learned that I cannot handle everything. That it is necessary to relax with my faults and myself.

Tatiana’s Mission to Achieve More and More

Tatiana Kharitonova joined PPG in October 2014 as our technical service representative, E-coat in Moscow, Russia. Gradually, she started covering customer support for existing E-coat and also pre-treatment and powder customers in Russia and Belarus.

Today, she is our key account manager, E-coat Industrial Coatings for Russia and Belarus, and she is still providing technical customer support in powder technology.

Each new project and customer is unique. This allows me to never simply be satisfied with what has already been achieved, but to keep learning and experiencing – both as an engineer and as a manager.

“Love Your Job – Do As Much As You Can”

While Tatiana admits that as a woman in engineering, she did feel a sense of “surprise, distrust and doubt” in the beginning of her career, after graduation of university, she says that this has changed over time thanks to her hard work and professional approach.
When you really like your job and you do as much as you can… When you show that you are ready to share your knowledge and face your challenges... You can make it happen!

While she agrees that some specific technical sectors present mainly men in engineering roles, she says things are changing.

More and more women are achieving success and recognition in such roles – which shows that it is possible. And this helps motivate others to pursue their own career in engineering.