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Features Global 06-03-2020

7 min read

A conversation with a ‘Power Woman’ - Inés Romero

Get to know the power consultants – International Women’s Day special

Inés Romero, Power Consulting Head for Europe, Middle East and Africa has been working for ABB Power Grids for 15 years. Her motto is to always be driven by challenges and advices other women not to limit themselves in reaching their dreams. “Just believe in yourself and go for it!”. She says that working for Power Grids and being part of the Power Consulting team is awesome: "We have in place an ambitious career path that allows people to develop and grow based on potential, performance, and recognition regardless of gender. We are all parts of a whole and our individual actions, conversations, behaviors and mindsets impact larger society. #EachforEquals

What does the International Women’s Day mean for you?

International Women’s Day is a great opportunity for society to take a short break and assess what women have achieved in terms of equality in recent years, both professionally and personally. It is also a chance to acknowledge those, both men and women, who have contributed to this journey. Fortunately, things are slowly changing but there is still a lot to do to ensure fair conditions for women in all countries. My message to young women today is to never limit themselves in reaching their dreams. “Just believe in yourself and go for it! We can all choose to be #EachforEquals”

Why did you choose to become an engineer?

Since I was a child, I was always involved in developing new ideas and participating in projects to turn them into something real. The ideas were not always technological, but the innovative component was always there. This is similar to how I continue in my personal life today. Part of my decision to become an engineer was driven by my hunger to work within an environment that would both compliment my skill set and present constant challenges.

In your opinion, why is it important that more women take up engineering?

I think there are two main aspects: on one hand, increasing the number of women in technical careers will slowly decrease the clichés that some of us may have been faced with since we were kids about what women or men are supposed to do. This will enable gender equality and women´s empowerment in society in a natural manner.

Additionally, when diversity is understood as a combination of different perspectives/priorities and necessities (gender, nationality, language, age, etc.) it is a key asset in helping modern organizations to succeed in innovation. Equality is not a woman’s issue, it is a business issue.

What’s the most important piece of advice you’d give to a woman thinking of starting a career in engineering?

I would tell them that becoming an engineer requires hard work, an open mind and a constant learning spirit. As an engineer in ABB Power Grids you will enjoy plenty of opportunities to innovate, to participate in large breakthrough investments and complex projects, and ultimately to help build a more sustainable society. We can all choose to be #EachforEquals.

Do you think there’s a stereotype attached to female engineers? Female leaders?

When I was studying I was always told that “female engineers” were less feminine and had different hobbies to other women. That has definitely not been true in my case where I have grown up being part of a large group of friends, all with very different educations. In fact, being part of a minority both at University and at work has definitely had a positive influence on who we are.

Regarding stereotypes for female leaders, unfortunately yes; sometimes we are underestimated and classified as weak (not ready/capable to handle certain challenges), yet sometimes it is the opposite in that we are too hard and strict... it’s inconsistent and not a stereotype that should prescribe what sort of leader/ person we become. Collectively, we can make change happen and create a gender equal world.

What do you think is the biggest issue facing women in the workplace today?

It is difficult to generalize here as there are a lot of differences depending on which company you work for, where you live, etc. I am happy being a part of ABB Power Grids not only for the opportunities it offers but for the solid personal and business values it represents. Unfortunately, the situation is not the same everywhere and there are places where women’s capabilities are underestimated, where women are not supported by management and where a woman’s personal decisions are seen as limitations to career growth.

How important is it for women to lift each other up and what does that mean to you?

Fortunately, although it is still a small sector more women are joining the technological communities. Our successful achievements, frustrations and/or difficulties we may have experienced in our career could be valuable learning lessons to others who are about to start on this journey. Supporting and empowering other women is an important way to help limit clichés and stereotypes and ultimately achieve professional gender equality.

What advice would you have for other leaders? (Female and male)

Be fair and encourage people, regardless of their gender, to fight for their dreams. Never underestimate the capacity of people to contribute and excel if they feel they are recognized and supported.

What does the future hold for the industry? How can ABB Power Grids and Power Consulting contribute?

The energy sector today offers many opportunities for engineers and, given the current energy transformation, the choices are constantly increasing. To build a more sustainable society and achieve a drastic reduction in CO2 emissions, it requires awareness and willing for people to become active contributors to the change.

Additionally, a demand for new business and regulatory models is a “must” to support a substantial renewable penetration, the digitalization deployment, an energy diversification and overall a smart use of our existing energy assets.

Being part of a leading power and energy company such as ABB Power Grids offers the opportunity to play an active role in this transformation. Within Power Consulting we deal with all these challenges and opportunities on a daily basis. We aim to guide our customers through this transformation by offering a strong technological, financial and regulatory matureness. Modernization and grid resilience, cybersecurity, data analytics, renewables, technology transformation, energy coupling, mobility, Data Centers… are just a few of the areas where Power Consulting’s contributions keep growing.

What does a career in Power Consulting mean?

I love being part of ABB Power Grids and the Power Consulting team. As a team member I feel I belong to a diverse group with very strong competencies, great collaboration and an innovative, enthusiastic spirit. We work very close with our customers, which is key to understanding their needs, and we are constantly challenged by new technological changes. As an organization we have an ambitious career plan in place that allows people to develop and grow based on potential, performance and recognition regardless of gender. Overall, it is a great team to belong to.

  • Name: Inés Romero Navarro
  • Title: Power Consulting Head for Europe, Middle East and Africa
  • Education: Doctors degree (PhD) from Lund University (Sweden) in Electrical Engineering
  • Family: Husband and two children
  • Years in ABB Power Grids: 15 years
  • Some prominent former roles: ABB Market Driver for Smart Grid Initiatives at Country Level, Global Consulting Manager for railway applications, Local PG Manager
  • Motto: Always be driven by new challenges, we can all choose to be #EachforEquals