Customer Service Engineer , Greenlight Innovation
“We all enter engineering with a common goal or dream. And that is to help solve societies problems in order to help it progress and move forward.” says System Integration and Test Engineer, Alicia Figueira. For some this could be the medical field, for others it could be high tech, but for Alicia it was the green sector, where she could physically create things that could help the planet, that attracted her. At Greenlight Innovation Corp., a manufacturer that makes testing and assembly equipment for fuel cells, electrolysers and batteries, Alicia has found a place where she can see her contributions and their effects, in a tangible way.
Greenlight has not only allowed Alicia to fulfill her aspirations on helping the planet but has also provided an inclusive environment ensuring that she is treated no differently than her male counterparts. She says she is lucky to have finally found a place that has conversations about strengths and weaknesses to see where the best fit is. In the past, she says one of the biggest hurdles she faced was people’s preconceived ideas of what she is good at, which not only limited what she could contribute, but also her ability to grow. This has helped with what she calls the “imposter syndrome”. Imposter syndrome is the notion that, “I feel like a fraud,” where one doubts their abilities and accomplishments, and have a fear of being exposed as a fraud. That they are only where they are because they snuck through the cracks, and at any moment someone will see through them. This can result in a lack of self-confidence and limit our courage to go after new opportunities. These thoughts can come from constant criticism or, like in fields where women are underrepresented, having to defend why they deserve to be there. Alicia says she came up against this very type of thing in her post-secondary studies, where in group projects she had to defend her ideas more than her male peers. This could easily have affected her confidence if she did not have a great support system and drive. Her stubbornness and drive enabled her to know her worth, stand up for herself and fight for her equal place in her studies.
The lesson to be learned here is, “Don’t be intimidated. You might have to grow some thick skin, but know that we do have value, we do have different strengths, but it’s those differences that add strength to the team. Find that place that values you, and knows that your success is their success.”