Stories Of Women in Engineering - Maria Stella Valentino - ALTEN Group

Stories Of Women in Engineering – Maria Stella Valentino

Interview with Maria Stella Valentino

I am Maria Stella Valentino. As Senior Manager, I run the Railway Business Unit of ALTEN in Italy. 
As you can hear from my accent, I am from Italy – Puglia to be exact. I am a biomedical engineer.

I first started working at ALTEN in 2011 as V&V (verify and validate) engineer for a biomedical company. After five years, I directed my career towards the business area, where I contributed to the establishment and growth of ALTEN’s Life Sciences Division. After taking part in the creation of a division from scratch, I was curious to gain experience in a more mature division, to see how the manager’s involvement can change. That’s why, since 2023, I’ve been leading the railway division – coordinating a larger team. 

I developed my interest in engineering thanks to my father, who is also an engineer. He gave me the passion for scientific subjects and the critical spirit. I majored in biomedical engineering because I wanted to use my skills in improving the health of patients. 

Can you describe your role, responsibilities and skills as a manager? 

I coordinate a team of business managers and my goal is to improve and consolidate collaboration with our various clients in the railway industry. I would define myself as a manager who values openness and transparency. I share my knowledge and skills, acquired through experience and training. It is important to me to always support my team. Especially when facing critical situations, I try to orient them in the right direction, depending on the situation they are facing. In addition, I want my team to keep in mind that in every relationship there should be respect. I am a trainer for Amplify, the course that ALTEN offers to its Business Managers to prepare them to reach their full potential. My responsibility is to be a guide not only for my team, but also for all the new business managers.  

What role has ALTEN played in your professional growth?

ALTEN has played a key role in my professional growth. The company has been my guide, somewhat like my father during my engineering studies. Working on my hard and soft skills, we could say that I applied to myself the “continuous improvement” model we use in engineering. I am grateful to ALTEN for always believing in me.  

What has been your biggest challenge as a woman in engineering? 

As a woman in engineering, prejudice is the biggest obstacle I have faced. In critical situations, I needed to show, with determination, what I was made of. I have fought, I’m fighting, and I will continue fighting to keep my space in this world.  

What is your vision of the place of women engineers in the professional world?

In tomorrow’s world I would like to not need to answer to this type of question any longer. Everyone should have an equal chance, regardless of gender and other discriminations. In today’s world, we could define women in STEM as enzymes: thanks to their emotional intelligence and multi-tasking attitude, they accelerate processes. 

What advice would you give to young girls interested in becoming engineers? 

If you are a girl interested in STEM subjects and in the application of science, don’t give up. For those who want to leave their mark, there is still plenty of room.

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