International Women's Day 2023
On International Women's Day 2023, we asked Karen and Luisa how they are pushing boundaries and shaping the way we live and move - safe, smart, sustainable.
What are you working on at the moment?
Karen - It’s an exciting year for us in Bridon-Bekaert Ropes Group (BBRG) Australia. This year we are celebrating our 100-year anniversary of manufacturing wire rope at our factory at George Street in Mayfield East NSW.
We are continuing our work to achieve a zero harm to anyone work environment through various safety and health initiatives and improvements. We recently implemented the BeCare program, our global safety program, and are working hard to embed our management commitments, team norms, and safety projects. We’ve come a long way forward in developing a caring culture where workers know they are cared for and in turn care for each other.
On the environmental front, we are starting on the path of greenhouse gas emission reduction. It’s a very exciting time to be involved in working towards achieving Bekaert’s science-based targets of 46.2% reduction in scope 1 & 2 emissions by 2030, and net zero by 2050. We have big opportunities in Australia to reduce our footprint and capitalize on the use of green energy (solar). We are also involved with a local consortium of companies in the steel industry looking for opportunities to reduce carbon emissions and improve long term sustainability. Our city of Newcastle is well placed to become a green energy hub through the establishment of both hydrogen precincts and offshore wind for energy generation following the phase out of local coal fired power stations.
Luisa - One of my top initiatives in 2023 is to champion a seamless integration of the sales and marketing tech stack to have a unified view of the buyer’s journey, from website visit, to conversion, down the funnel as marketing qualified leads and sales qualified leads and becoming a customer.
With the help of our IT team and product managers, we are working on multiple enhancements to each platform to capture the right data at every step of the journey. Having a better understanding of our customers during each stage of the funnel will allow us to build a better customer experience by creating and optimizing highly targeted marketing campaigns, resulting in lower marketing spend and higher return on our investment.
Last December, we also launched the new Dramix® Customer Engagement Platform to provide a more seamless experience to our customers in the USA, Canada and Mexico in the space of industrial flooring. I supported the team in the testing phase. The user-friendly design has increased our website engagement. With this improved user interface and leveraging the release of the blog and the Dramix®Pro tool, we will be serving our leads and customers relevant information to educate them about steel fiber technology and help them solve their current construction challenges.
In parallel, I‘ve been working on the 2023 marketing plans for flooring North America & Europe, Middle East and Africa. We have laid out the initiatives for the year including content marketing, events, advertising, and social media.
This year we’re really focused on challenging boundaries, exploring the unknown, and pushing for creativity beyond steel. How will you dare to go beyond in 2023?
Karen - My ambition as part of our greenhouse gas emission reduction plans, is to build a business case to support the installation of solar power on our perfect north facing skillion roof. It would be fantastic for us to be powered by green energy from the sun, not to mention save money on rising electricity costs. I also want to build on our existing waste management procedures.
Luisa - My goal is to push a fully optimized tech stack integration to completion. Having an end-to-end unified view of our buyer’s journey is a key milestone in the digital transformation of our marketing operation.
How do you balance your career and personal life?
Karen - I think it’s important to prioritise time with family and friends and time away from work. You can’t be your best self at home or at work if you don’t achieve a balance of both.
I love my job and working, but at the same time I’m mindful that I work to live not live to work. There are times when I need to spend a lot more time working and others when I need to be focused on my kids or time away. It’s a balancing act but can be done with the right mindset, a bit of flexibility, and a few boundaries.
Luisa - On workdays, taking short walks during my lunch break allows me to clear my mind and better focus on open projects. I spend time off with family, enjoy watching cooking shows and documentaries, and play PS5.
During the warmer months, I spend a lot of time outside swimming, relaxing, and going on hikes.
What lesson/story can you share from your experience that feels unique to being a woman?
Karen - When it comes to family and career, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t have both. I guess this is something that is widely known and accepted now…but it wasn’t always.
I was told by my manager 20 years ago that I couldn’t have it all – he told me that if I wanted a successful career then I would have to choose not to have children. I decided to ignore him and ultimately, prove him wrong. You can have both if that’s what you want.
Working in the male dominated steel industry has had its challenges, frustrations, and at times been overtly discriminatory, but has also been extremely rewarding and provided immense personal resilience, growth and experience that wouldn’t have been gained otherwise. I like to think that those of us women who’ve worked in the industry for so long helped to pave the way to this result.
Luisa - My mother was one of the first 200 women to become a police officer in Colombia. She graduated in 1979 from the ESJIM, the educational institution of the Colombian National Police. In a time when women were simply expected to be housewives, this group of women pushed the gender norms and led successful careers in the law enforcement field. Her story along with others has paved the way for generations of women to feel empowered and confident to go into any field of work, even if it’s traditionally male dominated.
We believe that diversity enriches our culture, and seeds innovation and creativity. It is a must for building a better future for everyone. We believe more can be done to attract women at all levels to historically male dominated sectors. We can all play a part in actively supporting and embracing equity to create an environment where it feels great to stay.