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IWD 2019: Q&A with Maria José Lozano

On March 8, International Women’s Day (IWD), we asked María José Lozano, Safety & Health Officer based in Spain, to provide her inspirations for pursuing a career in Operations and her advice for women who aspire to do the same.

#BalanceforbetterWhen did you first join Sibelco and what has been your career path with the company?
I joined Sibelco almost two years ago, in May 2017. I started working as a shop floor operator and, after several months, I was offered the opportunity to work as the Local Change Agent at our Arcos site to help in the implementation of the Bright Site Program – Sibelco’s global program to achieve operational excellence. This involved collaborating with other departments such as Production and Safety & Health. Recently, I assumed the role of Safety & Health Officer for Arcos and Dúrcal.

What inspired you to pursue a career in Operations?
Since I was young, I have always been interested in technical careers such as engineering or construction. I decided to study Industrial Organisation and Business Management, where I learnt the concepts and values of lean and continuous improvement, which are being implemented at Sibelco thanks to our Bright Site Program. What I’m passionate about working in operations is dealing with people, creating good relationships and driving change commitment through motivation and communication.

What motivates you to come to work every day?
There are many things that motivate me to come to work every day, but in general it is the satisfaction of knowing that I am contributing, together with the team, to achieve our shared objectives. We’re proud to work together to ensure we communicate better every day, work more safely and develop a problem solving culture that helps us improve in all aspects of the organisation and achieve our goals.

One of Sibelco’s key focus areas is to create a diverse and inclusive organisation. In your opinion, what value does diversity bring to our business?
In my opinion, when companies recruit and retain a diverse set of people, it leads to many profitable benefits. Diversity brings together a mix of talents, all of them working towards a common goal, using different sets of skills gained from previous experiences, which improves productivity. Another benefit of diversity in the workplace is the increase in creativity which gives us a greater number of ways to solve specific problems.

What advice do you have for women who would like to pursue a career in Operations?
I think the most important thing is the desire to work, passion and to maintain a proactive attitude in an environment which is generally dominated by men. Listen actively to continue learning and lean on colleagues when needed. Keep in mind that good communication and interpersonal skills are a must. Working in operations is motivating because every day you can get involved in diverse and interesting projects, which means you need to have an open mind and a passion for problem solving.

What are your favourite hobbies / what are you passionate about?
I really enjoy reading and listening to music in my spare time. Cooking and trying new recipes is something that I also like to do. But one thing that I am passionate about and would like to take up again are dance classes, both regional and Latin dances, as it’s a fun way to exercise and meet new people

Anything else you’d like to add?
I would only like to thank my colleagues at Sibelco for the opportunity and support they have given me. I’ve only been with the company for a short time, but the journey has been very rewarding. Having started as an Operator, it allowed me to see things from another point of view and has strengthened my relationships with my colleagues. I think that this experience, and having the fortune to work on other sites with different people, have been enriching both personally and professionally.

To learn more about Sibelco and the career opportunities available, visit https://www.sibelco.com/careers/