How did you become interested in the chemical industry?
My interest in chemicals was piqued by my very first consulting project at Accenture, which was a global supply chain transformation program for an agrochemicals client. Through this experience, I learned so much about the industry and the complexity of its supply chain. With this particular client we faced product lead times of more than a year, coupled with product demand limited to only a few weeks in the agricultural year, all heavily influenced by unpredictable factors such as weather conditions. This combination of circumstances made for an exciting and challenging project, and the huge potential to create value for the client. After that project, I was hooked on chemicals!
What has helped you embrace your strengths and boost your confidence to become a successful consultant?
I have been fortunate to work with smart and supportive leaders at Accenture who have facilitated my learning experience from day one. Their great minds and vast knowledge are truly an inspiration, and make me want to work hard and be successful. The trust and expectations they have placed in me over and over again give me the courage to take up issues and opportunities that I have never faced before, and to enjoy—not fear—the challenge.
What do you think prevents women from pursuing a career in chemicals?
When thinking about chemicals, many people—men and women, alike—immediately think about skull and crossbones. However, the industry has much more to offer. There are exciting opportunities today that are even further accelerated by innovation and digitalization in the chemical industry. And, since chemicals are such a critical input to so many products that we all use in our daily lives, working in the industry means you can have a tremendous impact on solving some of the world’s biggest challenges.
To tackle these challenges, we need a strong team. For women in particular, I believe the following three points are particularly important: 1) Take advantage of the investments and information sharing already available in schools and with science projects; 2) Understand the connection between industry-related challenges, the power of digitalization and innovation, and the impact of chemicals in our society; and 3) Become a female role model and spokesperson for the diverse career opportunities within the industry.
Describe the impact on you of having a mentor and why you feel this could be important for others.
I feel very fortunate to have had a mentor. From my personal experience, that person’s support gave me a tremendous advantage as I moved from project to project, charting the course to a successful career path along the way. Being guided and pushed by a trusted advisor helped me to learn fast, seize opportunities and dare to take that next challenge.
With an open mind, most women would likely benefit from having a mentor to help them embrace opportunities, avoid mistakes and learn from them when they happen. In my opinion, support in one’s career can, and should, come from a variety of different sources, not just a one-on-one, mentor-mentee relationship. I recommend learning from all engagements, be it a positive trait of a team member, the knowledge of a client or the advice of a friend.
How do you like to spend your time outside of work?
I love to enjoy good food with friends. I am also a big fan of participating in sports and spending time in the outdoors. I work hard, so these activities help me keep my life in balance.