14 December 2021

Laura Garzón, MB92 Senior Project Manager

A determination to go against the tide led to Laura starting out on a career in the sector and this self belief has been a cornerstone of her success as a Senior Project Manager. She shares her story

Who or what inspired you to take the career path that led you to where you are today?

When it came to choosing a career, I decided to take the path less trodden and dedicated myself to Engineering. Other, more traditional paths I saw as saturated at the time, plus I have never settled for “normal” as it is not my nature, so specified in an area even less known for its opportunities for women and chose Nautical Engineering. 

 

Were there any hurdles on this journey and, if so, would you mind describing them? 

If there were, I don’t remember them as such. Throughout my life, whether in athletics, university, or at work, I have always been in the minority but never considered this as an obstacle. At University, we were maybe 5 or 6 girls in a class of 50. Maybe I have become accustomed to it.

In your current role, do you feel that you have extra pressure on your shoulders?

I have been working on ships for many years. When I started on merchant and cruise ships, I thought I would find many barriers in front of me as a woman, yet I was pleasantly surprised because the opposite happened. Although I must say that I put myself to work like any other worker. No one could tell me that I worked any differently to anyone else.

Once I started in the yachting world, the story was different given that I had thought that women were much more commonplace. It turned out not to be quite the case. I have many anecdotes, now funny to me, such as a Captain directing another member of the team to respond to my emails, questioning what I was doing in a man’s world. Another that I always remember is that of a Captain at the end of the project telling me “at the beginning I very much doubted that a woman could lead the project, but now I congratulate you for your great work ” and I simply replied, “I don’t have to prove anything because I’m a woman, but I thank you for having the courage to tell me this sincerely, and for trusting me “…

I am a naturally competitive person so, regardless of gender, I am going to push myself further so the only real pressure comes from within.

 

How do you feel progress is being made (if at all) in this industry? 

I believe that the presence of women in jobs previously covered mainly by men is becoming much more normal, but I also see that there are more and more men in jobs that were mostly covered by women. I believe that the line between job gender is becoming increasingly fainter in the naval sector.

The path begins by first believing it yourself and what comes after are steps towards realising your potential … “Never apologise for being a powerful woman”

In your current role, do you feel that you have extra pressure on your shoulders?

I have been working on ships for many years. When I started on merchant and cruise ships, I thought I would find many barriers in front of me as a woman, yet I was pleasantly surprised because the opposite happened. Although I must say that I put myself to work like any other worker. No one could tell me that I worked any differently to anyone else.

Once I started in the yachting world, the story was different given that I had thought that women were much more commonplace. It turned out not to be quite the case. I have many anecdotes, now funny to me, such as a Captain directing another member of the team to respond to my emails, questioning what I was doing in a man’s world. Another that I always remember is that of a Captain at the end of the project telling me “at the beginning I very much doubted that a woman could lead the project, but now I congratulate you for your great work ” and I simply replied, “I don’t have to prove anything because I’m a woman, but I thank you for having the courage to tell me this sincerely, and for trusting me “…

I am a naturally competitive person so, regardless of gender, I am going to push myself further so the only real pressure comes from within.

 

Do you have a message or piece of advice for others who may feel inspired to follow your path into this industry?

Believe in yourself, in your dreams, in what you want to achieve and not in what others expect of you. Just try to be a great professional, not a “great professional woman”. The path begins by first believing it yourself and what comes after are steps towards realising your potential …

“Never apologise for being a powerful woman”

What more needs to be done in your opinion in the workplace or wider industry?

We must do more to combine the progress of incorporation of women in industries such as ours with family life. Even today, I could say that more than 50% of the family burden falls on women and this is an area where we still have a lot to do.

What are your hopes for the future?

That within the naval world I continue to find great professionals around me, and great women fighters that share the same hopes as me – to continue to grow.

 

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