To recognise International Women’s Day 2023, we spoke with Marinela Stefanova, Dowty’s HR Leader, two years on from joining Dowty.
How have you been finding the role since joining the senior leadership team back in 2021?
Marinela: To start, it wasn’t all smooth sailing – I had to relocate my family from the South of England to Gloucestershire during a global pandemic. It was difficult but Dowty and GE gave me all the support I needed to make such a big change happen during a difficult period, for which I’m incredibly grateful.
I also had to accelerate my learning on propellers. Not being an engineer myself, it seemed an intimidating task but everyone at Dowty is very passionate about what they do and took the time to answer all my questions. I now feel very integrated into the Leadership team and whilst change continues to be the only constant in the world of HR, I am very excited about all the opportunities we have in front of us to make Dowty an even a better place to work.
What do you enjoy most about working at Dowty?
Marinela: I really like that Dowty puts people front and centre in its business strategy. You can see it in our mission statement, and in the context of our strategic projects and direction Even HR having a seat at the table and people being a key topic during our monthly operating reviews is testament to this.
Our people really matter to us and our Leadership team recognises the importance of talent growth and development in achieving business success. It’s this same emphasis that appealed to me when considering applying for this role, and it continues to excite me two years on as we keep evolving our culture in a bid to stay up to date with the dynamic talent market.
This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is ‘Embracing Equity’ – do you have any thoughts on this?
Marinela: I am very passionate about this year’s theme of “Embracing Equity” – not only as a female working in a male dominated industry, but also one who grew up in another country and is now in a UK-based leadership role.
I would say embracing equity is what GE and Dowty is good at – we see so many different people in our business from a diverse range of backgrounds who, by virtue of having a clear vision for what they want coupled with the support of their people leaders, have proven that true inclusion and equity exists even in an industry where we continue to see more male job applicants than female.
For me, this is about finding the right leaders and creating a network of mentors and coaches to help you succeed. The right leaders provide exposure, coaching and feedback to help employees grow and develop.
My other piece of advice to female colleagues is to believe in yourself and always remember that being a female gives your different strengths and advantages compared to your male colleagues – use these as your superpowers rather than something that makes you feel different or that makes you not fit in. Find male allies in your network and trust yourself in your ability to grow and develop! Remember that you have just as much to offer as any other man in your field of expertise, so don’t be afraid to speak up and make your voice heard – we deserve our seat at the table!