A spotlight on the inspirational women here at QinetiQ
At QinetiQ we are creating a workplace that is inclusive; where our differences are not only embraced but make us stronger. As a company dedicated to providing technological and scientific expertise, we have a great opportunity to recruit the most talented and enthusiastic people to become a key part of our company.
This week, to mark International Women’s Day, we took the opportunity to talk to some of the inspirational women here at QinetiQ; discovering their career journeys so far, the importance of role models and what advice they would give to women following in their footsteps. We’re delighted to share below just a few snippets from the interesting conversations that we had.
Carol Borg, Group Chief Financial Officer
Carol joined us in 2021 as Group Chief Financial Officer, bringing a wealth of global financial expertise and Environmental, Social & Governance leadership.
Having benefited from strong role models throughout her career, Carol is very passionate about having visible leaders to look up to, in order to see similarities and draw parallels.
“I was fortunate to have access to inspirational individuals, not all were women, and I’ve learnt a lot from the difference and diversity. Through having access to and learning from my role models, I got thrown into general leadership roles and non-financial roles, which shaped me and increased my desire to climb the corporate ladder.”
Being one of the 47 women with executive directorship roles at FTSE 250 companies, Carol has some great advice for aspiring leaders of the future:
“If you can dream it you can do it, if you can see it you can be it. Back yourself and be brave. You don’t have to be something you are not; be brave to present what you want and what you want to be known for. Have the confidence to explore those things.”
Nazifa Tahir, Principal Engineer
Nazifa is a senior technical leader in the disciplines of Mechatronics Engineering, Systems Engineering and Leadership and Management. She is also a QinetiQ Fellow specialising in analogue electronics, in particular millimetre wave and radio frequency systems and signal processing.
Nazifa was lucky to discover her own role model early on in life, someone who provided guidance and inspiration on a daily basis, her mother.
“My inspiration is my mother; a full time working lady with a Master’s degree in Chemistry and looking after her family. At a very early age, she presented to me a living role model of how a woman can look after her loved ones and yet follow her professional dreams.”
Knowing how important it is to provide inspiration and be a visible role model, Nazifa has some great advice for those who follow in her engineering footsteps.
“Don’t let stereotypes define who you are and what you can be. Be assertive, independent and competent to make it happen. Don’t just admire the role models, become one! And actively mentor and guide the next generation of role models so that the cycle of impact remains active.”
Chloe Peet, Scientist
Chloe joined the Analysis & Modelling team at QinetiQ in September 2019 and has been developing her career here ever since, with the future ambition of becoming a deep technical expert in her field.
Whilst careers in STEM are still vastly underrepresented by women, having inspirational people to look up to has never been so important for future generations and this has influenced Chloe’s career from a young age.
Instead of acting as a deterrent, an archaic viewpoint from a science teacher at school fuelled her inner fire, and she decided to study A Level physics, where thankfully she was introduced to a female physics teacher who still inspires her career today. Based on her early experience, Chloe has been a mentor to a number of colleagues so far, making sure they have the confidence to achieve what they want to, no matter where they come from.
When asked what advice she would give to younger females aspiring to pursue a career in science, Chloe thinks the most important thing is for them to trust their instincts.
“Even if you are the least experienced person in the room, your instincts are not invalid. You need the confidence that your input is valid and to not lose your spark.”
Neve Parker, Mechanical Engineering Degree Apprentice
Neve joined QinetiQ as a Mechanical Engineering Degree Apprentice in 2020 and is undertaking a four-year course which will see her achieve a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a level 6 apprenticeship qualification.
With a natural affinity for maths and science, Neve knew she wanted to be an engineer before she had even picked her GCSEs. However, through not being treated equally to her male counterparts during her education, the pursuit of a career in STEM was not easy. Nevertheless, it’s fair to say that without the barriers she had to overcome as a young woman, Neve may not have the same level of drive and passion that she has today.
Neve takes great strength in the impressive women she has met at QinetiQ and how they’re paving the way for the future. The fight to get where she has already has provided a strong passion and building block for helping young women who will follow in her own footsteps.
“I’m where I am today because of the people who brought me up, supported me being a woman, and helped me breakdown barriers. If I can be the person a young woman can talk to when they’re questioning if they want to be an engineer or have a passion for maths and physics and provide them with inspiration, then I’ve achieved my goal.”
Donya He, Vice President of Engineering & Technology
Donya is responsible for providing strategic vision and transformational leadership across an advanced technology investment portfolio. Two of the most lucrative STEM fields – engineering and computer science – remain heavily male dominated. As a minority woman who has spent her 25+ year career in defence and aerospace industry, she has been mentoring and advocating for women in STEM fields, serving as a mentor for thousands of engineers over the past two decades.
“I know that women are more likely to stay in and succeed in engineering and technology when they have a positive, experienced role model alongside them. Not only do I employee a number of women in my department, but I actively encourage women to apply to open positions within QinetiQ US.”
Donya is the executive sponsor of the QinetiQ US Women’s Employee Resource Group, which offers official mentoring programs to guide and empower women in a demanding career path. For Donya, the mentor process is continuous and something she dedicates a lot of both her professional and free time to.
“I still maintain contact with many of my mentees, and enjoy using my free time to continue supportive relationships.”
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