Bring everyone to the table: Global Views in a Startup
August 31, 2023 – Munich (Germany)
In the series of closer looks at phelas’ people, in this interview, we sit down with Carolina, an inspiring individual who has forged a path in the world of engineering and renewable energy. She shares her experiences, motivations, and perspectives on gender diversity in the energy and technology sectors.
“Sometimes you need to take risks in your life now to be happy in the future.”
Q: How did you decide to move to Germany? Could you tell us about your journey and how you became involved with phelas?
A: After my master’s, I started working in project management in Portugal, because it was difficult to find engineering opportunities, even though I had studied chemical engineering. Germany offers better chances to do engineering, especially in the field of environment and climate crisis solutions, which is my passion. Then I discovered phelas, leading to a change in my career path. I took a step back because I wanted to do what I studied for, in the company that wants to help solve the climate crisis. I then started as an intern in Germany, despite being working full-time in Portugal. Although it may seem like going in the reverse direction, I feel I had to take this risk to be happy with my job and my future.
Q: What motivated you to work in the renewable energy industry with a focus on energy storage technology?
A: Renewable energy is fantastic, but it’s intermittent. Energy storage fills that gap. As someone intrigued by process engineering, I found phelas’ liquid air energy storage technology fascinating. It combines my passion for chemical engineering and the environment, making it an ideal fit.
Q: Could you briefly describe what are you doing in phelas?
A: Currently, at phelas, I find the balance between engineering and project management. I manage projects and tasks with the experience from my previous job but at the same time I am working on our prototype by using my educational background and skills I acquired here in phelas. Startups offer flexibility to explore diverse roles and it is a great place to experience diverse skills to find what you really like and that is exactly what I am doing right now.
“You have to embrace your flaws, no one is perfect.”
Q: Have you had any mentors or role models who influenced your career?
A: My role models are the three most important women in my life: my grandmother, my mother, and my sister. My grandmother taught me kindness and understanding. My mom always inspired me to be independent and free, she basically gave me wings. She always believed in me and encouraged me to follow my dreams without fear. My sister’s strength and resilience showed me possibilities. Moreover, my sister, taught me that it is normal to make mistakes and that no one is perfect. Their guidance has shaped my personal and professional outlook.
“It is important to promote women leaders to change societal perceptions and empower women.”
Q: How can organizations encourage more women to pursue careers in energy-related fields? Especially in leadership positions.
A: Companies should promote diversity, not prioritise one gender. Society should evolve its perception of women in engineering and science. Balanced education from an early age and shared family responsibilities can break stereotypes. Cultural shifts and encouraging stories of successful women help as well. Leaders should embrace kindness and emotional intelligence. It is essential to promote female role models and change societal perceptions. These role models can give hope and empower women.
Q: Could you share insights into phelas’ company culture and team dynamics?
A: phelas values open communication and emotional expression. Our team is united and trusts each other’s abilities. Beyond work, we bond personally, promoting a healthier work environment. We emphasize kindness, collaboration, and mutual support.
“At phelas, we value diversity and believe in the importance of an inclusive work environment.”
Q: phelas is hiring. What are you looking for in new arrivals? And how does phelas prioritise diversity and inclusion in its hiring practices as the company grows?
A: For newcomers, motivation, capability, adaptability, and trustworthiness are essential. A positive attitude, willingness to learn, and a team-oriented mindset are key qualities we seek. phelas values diversity across genders, nationalities, and backgrounds. We aim for a balanced team.
Q: Thank you for the interview.