For International Women’s Day, we thought it would be great to celebrate with some of our very own talented women who are each helping to close the gender gap in the predominantly male-led material handling and warehousing industry. As a company that services this industry, it is important for us to adequately represent women in our workforce. Below, we caught up with four of our employees, each contributing to the success and growth of our company in their own areas of expertise.
Who They Are:
Selene Di Lallo, Sales Support Center Manager
Lizeth Gayon, Logistics Coordinator
Katerine Ortiz, Project Engineer
Eglantine Casteran, Sales Representative
1. How did you begin working in the material handling field?
KATERINE: My interest in the field started at a young age watching my cousins work as civil engineers. I fell for the idea of a profession that involves design, inspection of a variety of large projects, and the application for solving problems for society to build a safer and better place. I then graduated as a civil engineer, worked in construction firms, and landed at Damotech as a Project Engineer.
SELENE: Life rarely takes you from point A to B through a direct route. My journey took me from stage-managing and studying theatre production in university to working in a family business. Those experiences prepared me for my current role in their own way. Our family business manufactured kitchen cabinets where I gained first-hand experience in understanding manufacturing and the processes involved, dealing with employees and customers. This made for a relatively seamless transition to Damotech as I was able to use my technical experience from designing kitchens as well as everything I learned about manufacturing.
Figure 1. Lizeth Gayon
2. What interested you in Damotech and in this industry in general?
LIZETH: Damotech is a wonderful company; the quality of its employees and how important their growth and wellbeing are, makes Damotech, in my opinion, the best company to work for.
KATERINE: What mainly captivated me was the fact of working in a very niche and yet essential trade where my job will have an impact in the safety of employees… We do get to save lives indirectly! Working along leaders in the industry who love to share their knowledge and empower their team members caught my attention. And clients are spread throughout North America, therefore we get to travel and visit new places.
3. How does it feel to be working in the predominantly male-led material handling and warehousing industry?
EGLANTINE: This year marks my 8th year with Damotech in this position. Since my first day, it happened only once that a customer made a comment about my gender vs. my work. Maybe others thought about it, but I don’t give them the opportunity to do so. My approach with customers is very professional, friendly, funny, honest, but above all, I’m an expert at what I do… Male-oriented or not, this line of work is my passion.
KATERINE: This is an interesting question! Already the company does so much to attract fellow women engineers to join the team and balance the testosterone level! I want to preface this by saying that I am lucky to have male coworkers that treat me equally, I have not felt like an outcast nor unheard. But there are certainly challenges I face that my colleagues don’t while on the field—simply because they are men. As an example, the assumption that I (as a woman) do not know how to operate a measuring tape properly while gathering data, which in fact a big part of my job. It’s alright, I have gotten used to it and I see how pleased they are once they've observed my actual measuring technique.
4. What are you most passionate about outside of work?
KATERINE: So many things! But to mention a few, I’m an outdoor enthusiast (reason why I enjoy being on the field during work) and I have a great appreciation for interior design which by the way, Damotech’s building charmed me with exceptional design and is pretty incredible how for a metal manufacturer the building is LEED certified.
EGLANTINE: I love karate. It’s mostly a man’s sport, but more and more women have been taking interest. I’ve been teaching classes for many years and I think my path has inspired more than one woman in our school. We fight on the same level as the men, we have the same training exercises, the same grading exams; no excuse. We learn to get back up, and move on from our wounds, our pride and our weaknesses.
5. What does it mean to be a woman in 2021?
SELENE: A woman in 2021 can and should be anything she wants to be, in whatever capacity that is for her. There has always been a struggle for women to meet societal expectations, but those expectations are changing. There is a greater emphasis on women empowering women and the importance of realizing that women are not and should not be in competition with one another.
LIZETH: It means that as women, we can do whatever it is we set out to do.
KATERINE: It means sharing ideas, finding a voice and be proud of your gender and identity. It’s ok to wear makeup and heels while counterbalancing wearing construction boots and carrying a toolbox on the field.
6. Who was your female role model growing up and why?
LIZETH: My mother. She taught us that everything is reachable once you set your mind to it, and that you can always learn and even difficult moments are learning experiences as well.
SELENE: I can’t say I’ve ever only had one single role model. Depending on the different stages of my life, there was always someone I looked up to or revered and it was always someone with whom I had a relationship (in other words it wasn’t ever a public figure). It was a teacher, a coach, a family member and friends—real people. The beauty of that was that there was an opportunity for dialogue and feedback. There’s nothing like being kept on track by those you look up to.
EGLANTINE: In a man’s world, my mother has been a strong female role model. As a French immigrant single mother taking care of my sister and me, she fought for a fair living. She was a saleswoman in the advertising business and her humor, her water-off-a-duck’s-back attitude and her professionalism were her biggest strengths during her 30-year run at the same radio station. Women like her paved the way for the new generation, and our grandmothers before her even more so.
7. What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
EGLANTINE: International Women’s Day is a celebration of the paths led by our mothers and grandmothers, a recognition of our active part in today’s society and an action plan to improve our fairness conditions. Past, present and future.
SELENE: I don’t mean for this to sound cliché, but it’s a celebration of how much women have been able to achieve. Women have led oppressive lives for far too long in history and unfortunately many still do. Those who came before us have paved the way to where we stand today and it’s up to us to continue paving that path for the women that will come after us.
8. The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.” What do you think of this?
LIZETH: COVID-19 changed us. It made us understand that no matter our age, our gender or our religion, we are all humans. We are all experiencing the same events and we are all vulnerable.
SELENE: Our COVID-fighting world is being led by women on the front lines. Nurses, caretakers, teachers, non-medical hospital workers (the list goes on) are essential, now and have always been, yet there is a long way to go before equality is reached. These women are being celebrated now and being hailed as heroes, but the true test will be once the pandemic is under control. Will things continue as they have always been, or will this be a catalyst towards change?
Does a Career at Damotech Interest You?
If you are interested in exploring our current career opportunities, you can do so by visiting our Careers page. Damotech is a fast-growing company with a dynamic team of professionals. The unique corporate culture promotes inclusivity and rewards collaboration, innovation, and commitment.
If you are wondering how to tackle rack safety, or where to start, this free on-demand educational video is for you!