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  • Moving Beyond the Horizon – Careers in Rail & Transportation for Women at Siemens Mobility

Siemens Mobility, a leader in transport solutions, is transforming the future of transportation through Rail, Road, and Intermodal solutions. With a global team of 39,600 employees committed to creating seamless, sustainable, reliable, and secure transport solutions, Siemens Mobility is making waves in the industry.

Four talented Siemens Mobility team members joined Orion Talent’s Steve Amsden for Episode 13 of the #PeoplewithPurpose podcast. Tami Wolownik, Head of People & Organization, Julie Anspach, Head of Quality, Rachel Amorose, System Engineer, and Melanie Wallace, Human Resources Leader, discuss opportunities for women in the traditionally male-dominated transportation industry. They share insights into why women should consider building a career in this industry, their day-to-day roles, the growth opportunities they’ve experienced at Siemens Mobility, and so much more.  Be sure to listen to the full episode here for the full story.  

Women in the Transportation Industry = Unlimited Growth & Potential

Women currently make up only 17% of the transportation industry workforce, and Siemens Mobility is taking decisive action to promote gender parity in rail and transportation. “When we talk about the fact that women hold up 50% of the sky, there’s clearly room for improvement there,” Tami says, “We really need to focus on women and diversity overall in transportation in order to start to make a difference and make that gap smaller. So that’s where our focus is.”  She discusses why rail and transportation is an exciting industry to be part of and the positive impact Siemens Mobility hopes to have in the future with a national focus on infrastructure spending and improving and maintaining infrastructure across the United States.

Rachel participated in the Siemens Engineering Development Program and discusses the diverse experiences she gained throughout the program’s rotations on the podcast. She offers advice for new grads and women considering a career in transportation and encourages them not to shy away from the industry just because it’s male-dominated. “It’s a great industry and very interesting,” she says, “I never thought I would have been like this, intrigued by trains working here, but now on my vacations I’m taking scenic train rides.”

Melanie encourages listeners to check out internship opportunities at Siemens Mobility through the Mobility Movers program.

Overcoming Gender Stereotypes

Julie shares her personal journey in engineering and quality assurance. She joined a drafting club in high school and fell in love with engineering. Julie shares a powerful story about bias and gender stereotypes she encountered early in her career as a drafter mechanical designer:

I remember being at work one day and [being in] a room full of drafting tables. I was doing drawings and the guy next to me – he was in his 50s- looks over at me and says, “You’re taking someone’s job.”

It didn’t make sense to my at first. Here I am, early career, and I’m like, okay, well maybe his friend used to work here or something like that. And he said it again “You shouldn’t have this job.”

I’m like, “I really don’t understand. Can you tell me what you’re talking about?”

And he said that it’s very important for men to have opportunities and that they provide for their families. He couldn’t understand why I was working and taking a man’s job away from him, and that I should be at home in the kitchen and I should be supporting my husband.

It really just caught me a bit off guard. It didn’t make sense to me because I was so blessed to have a mother who taught me to be independent, taught me to have my own choices, and taught me I could do anything I wanted to that I put my mind to.

And here’s this guy telling me I don’t have a choice. He’s telling me I have a place that I’m supposed to be, but I have this great technical aptitude. I love my job. I love engineering…and here’s this guy telling me that I don’t have a choice.

Julie not only kept at it, but she utilized Siemens’ education tuition reimbursement benefit to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering and has enjoyed a long, thriving career in the field.

An Intentional & Supportive Company Culture

The participants discuss their career paths in various roles at Siemens Mobility.  Melanie has worked in the HR field for 30 years, and one of the main reasons she’s been at Siemens for more than half of her career is the unlimited opportunity. She’s grown from an individual contributor to management leading diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging initiatives, and appreciates the strong focus Siemens Mobility has placed on growing female talent and employee well-being.  “It brings me satisfaction that drives me to want to be a part of this organization because of what they stand for. Over the past few years, Siemens Mobility has placed even more focus on women, bringing them into our industry.”

Rachel mentions the support and encouragement she’s experienced participating in Siemens Mobility’s Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and the company’s participation in the Women in Transportation Seminar (WTS) conference. Siemens sent over 30 women to the conference. “It’s clearly a huge investment that the company did and really showed that they are about diversity and having more women in the industry,” she says.

The participants share a lively discussion about the day-to-day culture at Siemens Mobility and the intentional culture Siemens has created that values and develops individuals. They discuss the strategic focus on empowering people and fostering a growth mindset, and the importance of growth talks, two-way discussions, actionable feedback, and the role of empowered people in fostering autonomy, ownership, trust, and accountability.

Career Advice for Young Talent

Each podcast guest shares her personal stories and advice for young talent seeking purposeful careers, emphasizing the importance of skill development, pursuing your passion, and focusing on personal growth.

“Focus on developing your skills and abilities and not trying to figure our what’s your next move, how much money you make. Take that all off the table, because it will come when you focus on those things,” Melanie says, “You’re going to get the money. You’re going to get the career moves. You’re going to get all the things you need in your career if you focus on the things that you enjoy doing every day. Strengthen those things and apply those things and growth will come.”

Rachel points out the importance of passion; find something that interests you, and you’ll be a lot more successful and find purpose in what you do.

Julie discusses how there’s diversity between companies, and sometimes it takes a little time to find an ideal fit. “Make sure that you look for companies that share some of your values,” she says, “Don’t hesitate to question the company about its culture, and don’t hesitate to change if it’s not the right fit for you.”

Tami rounds out the discussion by encouraging talent not to be afraid to step outside their comfort zone. “Yes, you can develop strengths and pursue your passions. And yes, you might have to make some changes along the way. In fact, you should make some changes along the way, because I think you should challenge yourself and step outside your comfort zone,” she says, “That was probably one of the best things I did for my career… And I really encourage people to do that. Challenge yourself, step outside your comfort zone.”

Listen Now

Listen to the entirety of Episode 13: Moving Beyond the Horizon – Careers in Rail & Transportation for Women at Siemens Mobility to discover more about how Siemens Mobility is shaping the future of transportation and paving the way for a more diverse and empowered workforce.  If you enjoy this podcast and haven’t followed us already, be sure to subscribe to #PeoplewithPurpose wherever you get your podcasts. 

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