Stories Of Women in Engineering - Sandra Rodriguez - ALTEN Group

Stories Of Women in Engineering – Sandra Rodriguez

Interview with Sandra Rodriguez

My name is Sandra Rodriguez. I am the Quality Assurance Manager at ALTEN in Mexico. My main responsibility is to maintain the quality management system, which means ensuring that ALTEN Mexico meets or exceeds customer expectations, industry standards, and regulatory requirements.

I was born and raised in Queretaro City, Mexico. I have a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering and a master’s degree in administration. I am certified in Six Sigma Black Belt and also as lead auditor for iso 9001, iso 45,001, and iso 14,001. In addition, I have a technologist certification in geometric dimensioning and tolerancing from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

What factors influenced your decision to pursue a career in engineering? 

My main sources of inspiration are three. The first one is obviously my family. Then the possibility of learning new things each day, and of meeting new people.

Can you describe your role and responsibilities?

As a Quality Assurance Manager, main responsibility as a manager is to develop strategic plans and set clear goals for my team; I establish priorities and allocate tasks and responsibilities to team members. My ultimate goal is to increase customer satisfaction, which this means creating a culture of standardization and continuous improvement.  

What are the main skills you need for your job?  

The skills that a Quality Assurance Manager needs, from my perspective, are three. The first is problem solving: the ability to use logic and methods to solve difficult problems and come up with effective solutions. The next is the ability to deal with ambiguity, which means that you can comfortably handle risk and uncertainty. And the last is the ability to motivate others. You have to be good at building team spirit, inviting input from each person so everyone can share ownership and visibility. 

What are the main challenges you have faced in trying to achieve a work-life balance?

As a Mexican woman engineer, the main challenges that I have faced are cultural stereotypes. Mexico, like many other cultures in the world, has traditional gender roles that may be deeply ingrained. These stereotypes can influence social expectations for women as caregivers rather than as professionals in technical fields like engineering. I am a working mom, so balancing traditional family roles with a demanding engineering career can be super challenging. The way I have overcome this is by looking for opportunities in companies like ALTEN that offer flexible working arrangements – companies that have a culture that values and promotes the work-life balance. Also, establishing mentorship relationships and networks with other women engineers has been important.  

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

I envision a world where women engineers continue to make significant contributions across various fields, technologies and innovations. A world where gender does not determine opportunities, where workplaces are supportive and inclusive so everyone feels equally respected and valued.  

What does Building Tomorrow’s World Today mean?  

From my personal perspective, Building Tomorrow’s World Today means not only advancing in technology, but also fostering inclusivity, sustainability, social impact, education, workplace equality, and global collaboration. It is about creating a future that is not only technologically advanced, but also socially responsible and beneficial for everyone.  

What role can companies in general women engineers in particular play in inspiring and empowering others to pursue engineering careers?   

I think companies can encourage more women to pursue engineering careers by offering flexible work arrangements, childcare, and family friendly schedules so female engineers can balance their careers with their personal life. Quality of life matters. Women in engineering can motivate and inspire others by actively participating in mentorship programs and by advocating for inclusivity, sharing success stories, and promoting continuous learning. By taking on leadership roles in organizations and projects, women can lead by example. By mentoring we can share our experiences in the field, the challenges that we have faced, and the ways that we have overcome them. I think it is the best time to be an engineer, to be a woman, to be whatever we want, and that is great. 

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