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Meet Our People Zurich, Switzerland 24-03-2023

2 min read

How Serpil Kesen breaks the glass ceiling

Hi. My name is Serpil Keşen, and I am Service Manager for Hitachi Energy Grid Integration in Istanbul, Türkiye.

As a young girl, I was fascinated by machines and technology, how things are made, how they work, and how they can be fixed. I remember observing the mechanic repair our broken refrigerator and the electricians wiring up my father’s new house.

Now I lead a nine-person team that supports customers in all of Türkiye with high-voltage systems, including HV substations and Flexible Alternating Current Transmission (FACTS) systems.

It was not easy for me to fit into this world, but I didn’t give up on proving that women can succeed in jobs where men make up most of the workforce… I'm happy working at Hitachi Energy, an employer that loves diversity and good values and provides technical support, training, and continuous improvement possibilities and development for individuals

Our team has worked together for years. We know and respect each other based on competence and experience, regardless of gender or status. Everybody works collaboratively, and we have an excellent team spirit. Customers and partners we work with trust us. We are partners, and we solve problems as we accelerate the energy transition for everyone.

I graduated from Yildiz Technical University with a Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering in 2001. I remember only a few female students were in the electrical engineering class. When I joined the Turkish steelmaker İsdemir as a maintenance engineer, I was the first woman to work in a plant that employed thousands of men. I still remember how even the support personnel stared at me.

Over the years, colleagues and customers were always surprised to find me, a woman, working in industrial places like a power plant, steel mill, or cement factory. They asked me, why not work in a nice, clean building with comfortable working areas? After all these years, the answer has not changed: I am fascinated by technology. The hands-on work to fix or improve a technological process is very satisfying.

It was not easy for me to fit into this world, but I didn’t give up on proving that women can succeed in jobs where men make up most of the workforce. As women, we must try to change these mindsets.

I appreciate the emphasis Hitachi Energy puts on diversity in workplaces and how the company, within that goal, supports women. Diversity is a vital ingredient that workplaces need to tap into creativity and intuition to build success.

I like that we are a global company. I like the collaboration and diversity at Hitachi Energy and the close communication with colleagues from all over the world. We teach and learn much from each other and our customers.