Experiences

Interview with Mar Rúa, HSE Corporate Manager at SENER, to mark Women's Day

As part of the celebration of International Women's Day, whose slogan is "Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow," we spoke with Mar Rúa, the Health, Safety & Environment Corporate Manager at SENER.

Mar, tell us about your career. Have you always worked in the area of Safety, Health and the Environment? What drew you to the science sector?

I got a degree in Physical Sciences, specializing in Applied Physics. I chose a career in pure science because scientific thought, research, logic, curiosity and, as a result, innovation are an important part of my values.

I started out working at the university I studied at, the Autonomous University of Madrid. First as a technician in a small radioactive facility where biologists did research, part of the Severo Ochoa Molecular Biology Center, and then as a safety technician. From then on, my career has always revolved around Health, Safety and the Environment (HSE).

In 1999, I made the leap to the industrial sector, and ever since I have held various supervisory and managerial positions in renowned Spanish and international engineering companies. In 2017, I joined SENER Engineering as its HSE Corporate Manager.

Our perception of reality, business and our values are, by our nature, more down to earth, closer to life, and to a concern for the future, which makes our perspective necessary and valuable. Mar Rúa, HSE Corporate Manager

Promoting gender equality in the context of the climate crisis is one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century. How much do you think female leadership can contribute to build a more sustainable future?

I believe that a broad and diverse outlook is always more well-rounded and intelligent than a single perspective. I'm not only referring to gender diversity, but also to cultural diversity, which fosters the coexistence of different points of view. With regard to women's leadership, I believe that our perception of reality, business and our values are, by our nature, more down to earth, closer to life, and to a concern for the future, which makes our perspective necessary and valuable.

Surrounding yourself with different people is very good, professionally and personally, because it enhances creativity, teamwork and, in short, it improves processes. Mar Rúa, HSE Corporate Manager

You mentioned the benefits of diversity.  It's been shown that diverse and inclusive work teams get the most out of each individual's personal skills, foster innovation and are beneficial to project development. From your point of view, do we need structural changes to how work is organized to make sure we can all, regardless of age or gender, contribute and work as a team?

I don't know if we need structural changes, but we do need a change in mentality. I don't want to be simplistic, but I think it's comforting to surround yourself with the familiar, with those who share your ideas, your hobbies and your general approach to things. Surrounding yourself with different people is more complex, it forces you to reconsider, to "leave your comfort zone," as they say. And I think that is very good, professionally and personally, because it enhances creativity, teamwork and, in short, it improves processes.

On International Women's Day, what would you tell other women to help them further their career and balance it with their personal life?

I would tell them not to set limits for themselves, and of course, not to let others set limits either. It's possible to do a good job while also having a full personal and family life. I live with my partner, a 17-year-old daughter and I have been in positions of responsibility for some time. Everything is possible, there is always a way to balance things out. That being said, we do have to look until we find the right projects in both our personal and professional lives. You have to be demanding, and not just with yourself.

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