1. What does your everyday work entail?
Plant emergency support, projects meetings, Root cause analysis and design reviews.
2. What career path led you to your current work?
I studied Process and instrumentation (Engineering light current).
Victoria then worked at Eskom at the Arnot Power Station and later moved to Sasol where she is currently part of the Instrument and Control Engineering department.
3. How did you decide to move into this career path?- was it a certain
person or moment which initiated it all?
I had an aunt who worked at Eskom. She would often talk to me about the work she did and I was immediately interested in pursuing a similar route.
4. Was there ever a time that you recall wanting to change paths & what
convinced you to continue on your chosen path?
Yes, there have been times where I have experienced conflict in my working environment. Over time I have come to realise that [because of the diversity within our teams] everyone’s views differ from each other, mainly due to a different upbringing. There may be those who grapple with their personal issues whilst at work, whilst others keep these areas separate. I continued to persevere because I realise, that my chosen path cannot be about the people around me. My path is about the goal that I have set for myself.
5. Name the one thing which excites you about your field of work.
I love working within the field of engineering. We are solving problems every day. I work with passionate engineers, which allows me to be exposed to a different way of thinking. I’m always learning, that’s what I love.
6. Do you find that there are still barriers within the STEM field?
I am superwoman, a phenomenal woman, but there are always challenges. My personality has allowed me to speak out and be direct when I disagree with something. There are always people who enrol you in their negativity. I choose to ignore them. Succeeding in this space means surrounding yourself and spending time with people who empower.
7. Did becoming a mom change how you experienced your field of work?
Becoming a mom, taught me how to balance family life and work.
8. How do you think organisational spaces could be improved upon in
order to better support women in STEM?
I hope that the company I work for, will organise conferences for women.
9. What do you hope to achieve within your career, whether in
the short/long term?
I hope that in the long term I could move into a more senior management position. I have seen other women moving up in my own organisation, which inspires me. It lets me know that I can do that too. I speak to these women and share my own challenges and I find that it puts my own problems into perspective. I also hope to assist needy people and to eventually mentor those new comers in engineering, especially women.
10. Would you encourage your little one(s) & other young girls to move
into a career similar to your own & why?
Yes, the majority of men in this field may think that it’s their work, but technology doesn’t choose gender. Our work is all about capability and passion.
11. What's your favourite mom &kiddie activity?
Art, and swimming.
12. Please could you give fellow STEM moms some advice on how to
navigate the challenges within our field?
First set achievable goals, nurture it and do everything correct the first time. Always aim to be at the top. Do not let others break you. Be a great example to your kids. If they can keep trying at everything they do, so can you!
Thanks to Victoria for giving up some of her precious time in a very busy schedule and agreeing to be our featured mom! If you’d like to discuss mentorship/coaching from a STEM mom’s perspective, be sure to give me a shout
Our new feature is still in its infancy, so let me know what you enjoy or dislike about it. Also be sure to leave a comment and share, share, share (using #MomOfTheMonth and #TheSTEMmomsClub).
Inbox me any suggestions for future features on phenomenal STEM moms!