Introduce a Girl to Engineering: Meet Bruna Barbosa
Today at Ericsson and throughout Sweden we celebrate ‘Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day.’ And we thought what better way to celebrate than to introduce you all to one of our hard working female engineers, Bruna Barbosa. These are her reflections.
I am proud to say I am an engineer at Ericsson. When people ask me about how it is to work in such a technical environment I always explain that it is not all about programing and technicalities. You can work on technical projects with a strong purpose, improve health, energy efficient, technologies that improve the lives of people living in poverty, societal safety and specially how to use our intelligence, creativity and values to create a sustainable future and solving world’s biggest problems.
How did I get here?
Well, when I was in high school, me and my female friends were equally strong in mathematics and sciences as the boys, but I was the only girl to go to engineering. So as expected when I started the University in 2003 I had more male colleagues than females, but it was not a completely male-dominated environment and I never had any issues with men taking me less seriously.
After graduation, I decided to apply for executive trainee programs, and most of them were restricted to engineers. Initially I thought that I was lucky to be one of the six candidates selected out of more than 10,000 candidates for Ericsson’s trainee program in Latin America but today I believe that I was well prepared for the position. The program was focused on job rotation, so I have had a chance to work in areas such as Services, Supply Chain, Sales and Finance, giving me an end-to-end view of the business. Afterwards, I worked as a Project Manager leading projects with major Brazilian telecom operators, giving me good experience to take a regional role as Program Manager for Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility in Latin America. In 2014 I had an opportunity to take a short-term assignment in Ericsson Headquarter in Sweden, opening the doors to move permanently to Europe and work in global roles, current within Customer Group Industry and Society.
As engineer I could go to a more specialist/ technical path or more generalist and this flexibility is what I like most.
Independent of your career, it is always good to have a network of great leaders that you can be inspired by and have as a mentor. Once I got a feedback from a senior female mentor that I should trust more in myself and after that I did a self-analysis and realized that sometimes when facing a challenge and considering the problem, even if I knew the way to solve it I would convince myself that ¨it could not be the best solution¨ and started to discuss around the hypothesis and it would turn out that I was correct the whole time but doubting myself. Many studies show that women, more often than men, start to doubt their problem-solving abilities; we tend to limit ourselves with certain thoughts and behaviors. We need to change that to achieve greater things and play big.
Despite a growing global demand for engineers, my main advice is that you need to go for something that you feel passionate about. An interest in mathematics and science is a prerequisite for a successful career in engineering and there are many scholarships in place for women who decide to pursue this career.
I strongly believe in the power of diversity. Engineering may have been a male-dominated profession, but an increase in women’s voices will increase to the problem-solving and innovation that is at the heart of engineering
You can learn more about Bruna’s journey, including her work in the Amazon, here.