Our Industry Person of the Week is Vanda Franco, a chemist.
Q: How did you get started working in your field?
Vanda: Since 2018 that I’m working within Lubrication and Reliability field, in Qatar. It was a coincidence to have this opportunity while searching for a new job, moving from teacher in one of the nurseries – my first job in Qatar. To be honest, I never thought about Oil Care and Condition Monitoring services as a possible area to work to considering it’s a very male-dominated field, especially in a country where we were not seeing women in industry. Nowadays the number of women in industry is increasing and Qatar follows the trend.
As a Chemist, I worked in different industries – Marine Chemistry, Pharmaceutical and Petrochemical, giving me experience in different areas and preparing me for different challenges. Due to my expansive work history, my current company – Petroleum Technology Company WLL (Petrotec), offered me the opportunity to work with Team Services and Rentals (ex Ocean Team Qatar) as a Technical Specialist, supporting all our customers to solve their Lubrication related-issues. Two important notes are: I have been supported by all my co-workers and superiors, 95% of them are men; and all our customers (100% men) are accepting my presence in the field.
Q: What do you love the most about your job? What are you most proud of?
Vanda: One of the many things I love about my job is getting to connect and engage with co-workers and clients from different nationalities, different ages and with different backgrounds. I love that I continue to learn from all of them and from all projects I work on and evolve constantly. It’s not a routine from 9am to 5pm, every day we have different challenges. I’m proud of being recognized by our customers and know that they trust on my technical advice to solve their Lubrication related-issues, in an area that is still very male-dominated. I’m also proud to be an inspiration to different women in industry, after passing though different challenges as a woman.
Q: What advice would you give to someone considering this line of work or new to the field?
Vanda: Here are some sayings that I would like to leave to whom will read this:
- Understand that each function/position can be replaced, but not a person! You are unique!
- Believe you can do it!
- You don’t need to be the best, but do your best!
- Be your own competitor!
- Do not quit, never!
- Be confident, always!
- Learn something new every day!
- Never stop improving yourself!
- Share your knowledge and experience!
- Support all your co-workers!
- You don’t need to have a mentor, but you can try to be one!
- Request help and support, at any time, whenever it’s necessary!
- Make mistakes and learn with each one, we are humans not machines!
Q: Can you talk about a project you recently worked on?
Vanda: It’s difficult to select one project only considering that we work in different projects at same time, to different customers. We are supporting different companies, that have Lubrication related issues, reduce their carbon footprint by extending the lubricant life and increasing the equipment reliability. By reducing carbon footprint, we are taking care of the environment and by extending lubricant life and increasing the equipment reliability we are contributing to the customer’s revenue.
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
Vanda: Thank you for this opportunity that will inspire positive change in different women. Invited by Sanya Mathura, an inspiration in person, I was also able to share my story, along with another 24 amazing authors, in the book “Empowering Women in STEM – Personal Stories and Career Journeys from Around the World“, which was published in December 2022 by CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group.
Connect with Vanda on LinkedIn.