This post is also available in: Russian
Let’s get to know each other! My name is Olga, and I am the head of Final Finishing and Spiking areas at Continental’s plant in Kaluga/Russia. I am one of these examples which demonstrate that a woman can build a career in production and combine a management position with a traditional mother’s role. There is a common stereotype in our country that women are better at jobs related to society, children, psychology, medicine, etc. With each passing year, however, more and more women succeed in jobs that were previously dominated by men. Our plant in Kaluga is no exception, so nobody is surprised to see women working along with men in engineering and managing positions.
Since my childhood, I have liked everything connected with technology. All my favorite subjects at school were technology related and when I graduated from technical university, I could not see myself in any other but vocational area. I got my first practical experience at the Kaluga Electromechanical Plant during the student’s training program and trained to become a process engineer.
I have not dreamt of being a process engineer in my childhood, certainly not. I had an ordinary childhood, unless that I liked football and hockey because of my elder brother whom I tried to follow.
I have never faced any of the typical stereotypes regarding women in my job. Here, we are all colleagues first of all and deal on an equal footing. Together we work on projects and adjust equipment. Sometimes we disagree, but only about professional issues and I can “switch on” my woman’s wit when I feel like. I guess this is an advantage that helps to smooth things. Everyone in our team is committed to positive general outcome and has no time for silly stereotypes.
I remember starting my work here as a Process Engineer, when there was no actual plant, just a field and “four walls”. But we had a task to make our first tire. Everybody was doing their best then, tried to be creative – we had to start with something. But what impressed me the most is how quickly our plant is developing. We had to set up all the processes from scratch, and it did not drag on for years. Lots of records were set during the production launch! I was amazed by everyone’s hard work and great mutual trust. Sometimes I thought that I did not believe in myself while all others did and that empowered and made me work even harder.
Nothing has changed after I took over the managing position. We still get together to deal with important issues. Absolutely everyone, managers, engineers and all involved employees regardless of their position, do their best to solve problems and meet the goals.
In my free time I am mother of two children. I love this role and of course I want to spend more time with my kids. So I try to devote all my off-work time to my family to enjoy being with kids. My eldest son, Alexander, prefers history and military science. While my younger son, Igor, is into technology, dissembles all his toy cars and makes an inventory of all the tools we have at home.
At the end of my story, I would like to give advice to women who start working in a men’s team. Don’t be afraid, just do what you really like. I believe modern society does not care anymore if an employee is a man or a woman. First of all, you are a professional and will be appraised on how you do your work.
- Education – Bauman Moscow State Technical University
- Favorite book – Admiral by Elena Tolstaya.
- Favorite film – Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.
- Favorite dish – Chocolate and everything connected with it.
- Favorite way of resting – Active. Lying on a beach for hours is not my cup of tea.
- Do you like dresses and high heels? – Yes!
- Dream – Scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.