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Breaking barriers in the water sector – women of Xylem solving water

Breaking barriers in the water sector – women of Xylem solving water

As the world celebrates International Women’s Day, Xylem is proud to support #BreaktheBias. “At Xylem, we are committed to building a culture that embraces and leverages diversity, equity and inclusion,” says Xylem President and CEO Patrick Decker. “We know bringing together different voices with different perspectives ignites the widest array of innovation. This is key to solving the greatest issues of our time, like global water challenges.”
 
We are proud to spotlight some of the women innovators and trailblazers on our team who are helping our customers and their communities solve water around the world:

Hanna Albåge Director, Training & Global Application Engineering, Sundbyberg, Sweden

What are you working on now?
I manage an international team of people who are experts in the engineering involved in pumping wastewater and dewatering. Our solutions end up in many different, challenging environments with high customer demand for reliability and efficiency. We help our commercial teams globally in designing new pumping solutions, optimization and application development, and troubleshooting, as well as helping their internal teams build capabilities in technical skills.  
 
How did you find yourself working in water?
When it was time for me to do my master thesis project within Mechanical Engineering, my thesis partner and I approached Xylem. I was intrigued by the innovative and cutting-edge solutions they developed and quickly fell in love with the company, in particular with the people working here who are dedicated, ambitious and always helpful – and also with the purpose of the company. To work at a company where the common goal is to solve the world’s water issues makes me very proud and gives me that extra energy to work hard and keep the focus on our important mission.
 
Thoughts on the importance of breaking the bias in water?  
Water is life – independent of ethnicity, gender, social status or where in the world we live, we all need water to survive. As with many other industries there’s still a long way to go for the water sector to become truly diverse. I strongly believe that to be able to solve the water issues of the world we need the power of diversity within our industry.

Not only does a diverse workforce increase innovation and creativity, it also forces us to open our eyes to seeing the beauty in differences, and challenges us to understand what those differences means to the people we are solving water for.

Breaking bias can be hard, but that is not a reason to shy away from it.

Alice Xu, Marketing Director, China and North Asia, Shanghai, China

What are you working on now?
I’m working on our annual distributor conference with a cross-functional team, which is one of the most important events for Xylem China. This event reinforces our close connection with distributors of Xylem products all over China, giving us the opportunity to showcase our holistic company offerings as well as new products developed by local R&D team. We are looking forward to another rapid growth year of our business in China with channel partners.
 
How did you find yourself working in water?
Water is really the industry where I feel the purpose of my work and where I think I, we, all of us can do more to help the entire society. As a marketer in the water sector, every day we put ourselves in our customers’ shoes to feel and sense the water challenges they are facing, from flooding emergencies to water quality and supply reliability, to the need to realize energy savings, and beyond. As a volunteer for our corporate social responsibility program, Xylem Watermark, I have personally visited many sites where Xylem donates drinking facilities or sanitary solutions. You feel the incredible opportunity and responsibility our sector has when you see children in rural area dealing with water challenges and see how happy they are when they have access to safe drinking water.
 
Thoughts on the importance of breaking the bias in water?

Water itself is always flowing and mixing, it represents inclusiveness and diversity in Chinese culture. To have ideas and opinions from different genders and different backgrounds always brings new thinking angles and is the foundation of innovation.

Minal Patel, Manager, Material Planning and Stores, Vadodara, India

What are you working on now?
I am responsible for planning and warehouse management based out of the Xylem Vadodara Facility in India. I look after order execution, collaborating across our global organization to ensure smooth execution of orders delivery to our customers.
 
How did you find yourself working in water?
Being trained in mechanical engineering, my aim was to help communities pertaining to environmental issues. I consider myself fortunate to be associated with a leading global water technology company dedicated to solving water on daily basis. I believe in having an open mindset and having integrity. We practice these values at Xylem – they help fulfill our daily tasks and contribute to our company’s all-important vision: to solve water. Every day I work to improve myself and my skills to become better at what I do, and I am really glad to have a supportive team at Xylem to help me realize my potential and passion.
 
Thoughts on the importance of breaking the bias in water?
Bias makes it difficult for women to work and move ahead. It also prevents women’s talents and ideas from being leveraged, holding back innovation and progress. Individually, we all are responsible for our own thoughts and actions. We can break the bias within our communities and families, among our friends and at our workplace. Together we can advance women’s equality. This belief is well-supported in our Xylem team in India – in my 12 years with Xylem, I have been given a platform to grow my career and thrive.

Kate Greenaway, Project Delivery Manager, Melbourne, Australia

What are you working on now?
Currently I’m working with my team to deliver turnkey solutions for our most complex orders for our customers in Australia and New Zealand. Additionally, I’m focusing on continuous improvement initiatives to improve our systems and processes, which in turn provides our customer with optimal solutions and experiences.
 
How did you find yourself working in water?
Soon after I graduated from university, a networking connection offered me the opportunity to experience the water industry as a commissioning engineer at a sewage treatment plant. I thoroughly enjoyed this opportunity to work on site, gain some valuable hands-on experience and work alongside some particularly knowledgeable individuals. Providing the community with an essential service has continued to draw me towards the industry since then.
 
Thoughts on the importance of breaking the bias in water?
Balance and diversity in the water industry provides a platform for individuals to thrive. By embracing a collaborative approach, we can accomplish far greater achievements and solutions, and in turn we can offer greater value to our community and customers.

Stacey Nyandiko, Sales Engineer – East Africa, Nairobi, Kenya

What are you working on now?
Currently, I provide tailored water solutions in the built environment and for various industries in East Africa. I work closely with property developers to provide innovative and smart water solutions for commercial and residential properties. My focus is in populous cities where a majority do not have access to safe drinking water and proper sanitation facilities.
 
How did you find yourself working in water?
I always enjoyed solving mathematical problems from a young age. I enjoyed learning how we can use different mathematical concepts to solve real-life problems. Therefore, I decided to study mechanical engineering where I discovered my passion for water through fluid mechanics and computational fluid dynamics. Since then, I have made it a personal goal to solve water.
 
Thoughts on the importance of breaking the bias in water?
We all dream of a world free of bias and discrimination. We need to make a deliberate and conscious effort to break the bias and give more opportunities to women in water. Having diverse and inclusive perspectives on the decision-making table drives innovation and brings cutting-edge ideas into solving water.

Randa Alameh,Director, Treatment Global Product Management, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

What are you working on now?
I currently lead a global team of tremendously talented product managers. They work at what has been called the intersection of technology, business and customer experience within the water and wastewater treatment sector. What that means is that we advocate for our customers and ensure their voice is heard when it comes to product decisions, from development and positioning to pricing and beyond. Our focus is to solve our customers’ water quality, affordability and resiliency problems utilizing the latest and greatest technologies, all while meeting our company’s business and financial objectives.   
 
How did you find yourself working in water?
I grew up in Lebanon, and although the small Mediterranean country was seemingly abundant in water resources, we faced continuous shortages in supply that impacted our daily lives. I later moved to the Gulf region, and it was eye-opening that water shortages never felt like a problem there, despite the harsh desert climate. I began to understand that governments, communities and companies can work together to overcome water challenges, and I wanted to be part of that important mission. I later joined Xylem, a global water leader with a strong mission to solve water challenges, and the rest is history.
 
Thoughts on the importance of breaking the bias in water?
We have seen significant strides towards a more diverse and inclusive environment in the water sector, but there is still a ways to go. Let’s be frank, similar to other engineering sectors, ours has traditionally been male dominated and women in many cases continue to face negative biases that leave them behind when it comes to promotions and leadership roles. Recognizing and shifting these biases is critical to drive progress, and the whole sector will benefit from it: diversity and inclusion not only makes for a better working environment, it has also proven to lead to more creativity and innovation, and better decision making! We need that in our sector as we work together to tackle the world’s most pressing water challenges. 
 
Learn more about Diversity and Inclusion at Xylem.
 
Hear from Xylem’s head of sustainability, Austin Alexander,
about Xylem’s commitment to sustainability, diversity and inclusion.