International Women Day

On the occasion of International Women's Day, we interviewed seven of the many outstanding female employees working at DYWIDAG.

We want to thank each of them for sharing their motivation, expectation for the future as well as how they perceive themselves in a predominantly male industry.  They also accepted to present some of their female inspiration(s), let see if they can become one of your own inspiration!

Every day this week (03.08.2021 – 03.12.2021) we will publish the full interview of each of those great women. Enjoy the read!


Essence Valdez, Sales Coordinator

  1. What do you think made you grow within DYWIDAG? At DYWIDAG, everyone, regardless of their job title, plays an integral part in conducting the DYWIDAG mission - Safer, Stronger, Smarter. It’s that commitment that fueled me to grow within DYWIDAG. 

  2. How do you feel working in a conventionally male industry like the construction industry?  Prior to DYWIDAG, I worked in environmental health and safety. Like the construction industry, women engineers were few in number, but great in value. As a woman working primarily amongst men, I make sure to highlight areas where my strengths can really play well and vice versa. With environmental health and safety being the foundation of my work experience, a savory-sweet personality was birthed that allows me to accept the challenges of the construction industry. 

  3. Who are your female inspiration(s)? The women lawyers that started the Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law that provides free legal services in southern CA, where I volunteered for a short while. Volunteering there was fulfilling in a way that inspires me to want to help and/or give hope to someone uninformed or meager. 


Zoe Harper, Human Resources Generalist

1. What do you think made you grow within DYWIDAG? The opportunities I have allow me to get involved with duties above my level and my role. I am extremely lucky to work in a very open and transparent team both within my country and globally. My team allow for visibility in areas above my role to allow for personal development within my career. As a team we do not operate in a hierarchical structure and this allows for more collaboration and learning. The culture of DYWIDAG being an inclusive one allows me to approach and communicate with people of all levels without fear of judgment and to learn more about myself and the business.

2. What is your next objective / What do you strive for? For me, I am striving towards completing my highest level of HR CIPD qualification and through expanding my knowledge and experience in my day-to-day role I hope that one day I can become a HR Manager in the long term and strive in the short term to be a Senior HR Generalist within DYWIDAG.

3. How do you feel working in a conventionally male industry like the construction industry? Maybe because I sit in a HR role with a majority female team, the male industry does not seem to affect the way I feel in my role. Even with the industry we are in being predominantly male dominated it doesn’t feel this way in our business. We are an extremely inclusive business in which all employees regardless of gender are treated fairly and given the same opportunities to grow and develop through the company if they so wish.

4. Who are your female inspiration(s)? For me personally I have 2 key female inspirations whom have been in the public eye (there are many women in my personal life that I admire and inspire me daily such as my mum, but for this I felt appropriate to use people we all have heard of)

Princess Diana – she was seen so clearly as the people’s princess and supporting the population and this is how I view my role within HR as people person

Jill Biden – she had what some view as the best of both, she never gave up on her career or her goals to have her own family. When I look to my own future, I want to be able to have both a successful career and a family of my own, I think she {Jill Biden} really shows women that if you want both then you can have both.

5. What inspired you to work in an engineering environment? Upon completing my first work experience in HR at the age of 16 for an engineering company, the industry always excited me and I wanted to learn more. When I finished my university degree, I had the opportunity to return to that engineering company, seeing the innovative work that engineers do kept me inspired and wanting to help them from a HR perspective. When looking for my next role, it was clear that this was the industry for me and was so excited when my role here at DYWIDAG became available.


Jihane Naji, Sales Manager for TAM Groupe and DY.CO

1. What do you think made you grow within DYWIDAG? I have the chance in my position to collaborate with colleagues in many coutries who share the same goals, and I found in DYWIDAG a great team spirit whatever the distance, language or culture. There are also all the challenging opportunities that were offered to me since I joined DYWIDAG, that I’ve always seized with enthusiasm.

2. What is your next objective / What do you strive for ? I have just been assigned to new roles so my next objective is to bring positive change where it’s necessary and of course to achieve my goals. In my professionnal and private life I strive for challenges, learning and discovering.

3. How do you feel working in a conventionally male industry like the construction industry? I’ve never considererd myself as a a woman working in a conventional male industry. I’ve only focused on the challenges and goals, on learning, growing, and this is probably what helped me feel good in this industry.

4. What inspired you to work in an engineering environment ? To be honest, I mostly found myself in this environment… but I quickly got interested and keen to learn thanks to my colleagues and managers who inpired me growing in this industry. It’s also the dynamism and competitiveness of this environment that made me get so much involved.


Christine George, VP Human Resources

1. What do you think made you grow within DYWIDAG?  I am new to DYWIDAG. In 6 months time, I see that  DYWIDAG provides many opportunities for employees to contribute their ideas and make a difference.  One of many things which made me want to work for DYWIDAG was the commitment by Matti Kuivalainen, CEO, to transparency and open dialogue on suggestions for improvement and opportunities for development of all employees.

2. What is your next objective / What do you strive for ?  From a personal and HR perspective, I am driving for continued open communication and transparency throughout the organization and ensuring all employees have an opportunity for development and growth. Matti has provided a wonderful foundation with values that promote transparency and development.  My goal is to ensure this message and philosophy is present in all employees day to day lives.

3. How do you feel working in a conventionally male industry like the construction industry?   My 20+ year career has been predominantly around manufacturing which tends to be a male industry.  I feel very much at home with the construction industry and DYWIDAG.  Matti and the Senior Leadership team have given me a platform that has allowed me to feel heard.  My opinion is valued by the team.   This has not always been the case throughout my career.  Over time, I have been able to gain the respect of my male colleagues which has resulted in collaboration for favorable changes.

4.     What inspired you to work in an engineering environment ?  My career started at a company called Watlow that manufactured electric heating elements for medical and building applications.  They are an engineering focused organization.  Throughout my career, I have gravitated towards engineering focused businesses.  I appreciate working with people that think differently than myself since they provide a different perspective.   Also, I am married to a Mechanical Engineer so I get plenty of experience communicating in the engineering space

5.     Who are your female inspiration(s)?  Early in my HR career, I worked for a female Director of Human Resources. She was an inspiration on how to conduct myself and she gave me the confidence to voice my opinion about ideas, then and now.

Viviana Costa, Project Engineer for Mega Project

1. What inspired you to work at DYWIDAG? Passion and determination in what you do are definitely the winning point to achieve what you want in your life. When I started with DYWIDAG I was very young, just finishing university but I was so inspired and fascinated by the job that I would have done that moving to another country and changing my life was totally worthwhile

2. How do you feel working in a conventionally male industry like the construction industry?  Working in a predominantly male industry can be hard, especially when you´re young and you have no experience but this is exactly what should drive women to dare more, to show who they are  and to show they great potential 

3. Who are your female inspiration(s)? I have a great sense of admiration for those women who are moved with their great enthusiasm in their attitude and passion and dedication in what they do no matter what comes in their way because they know that nothing can stop them if they believe in what they do


Shayla Collins, Human Resource Generalist

1. What do you think made you grow within DYWIDAG? For one to grow I believe that you must have the desire to do so. Growth sometimes isn’t always easy and requires an individual to step out of their comfort zone. The passion to help others, being an advocate for change, and power to improve processes and polices have played a part in my growth. Also, the dedication, support, and transparency of communication from our Human Resources Manager Crystal Soldan, has been a key factor in my ability to continue my growth and development. We are a title-less HR team here in the US, which means we all provide equal input and partner collectively on all organizational tasks ; but more importantly we work together as a team to achieve the impossible because as we know TEAM means-Together Everyone Archives More.

2. What is your next objective / What do you strive for? From a HR perspective, our HR team strives to operate in excellence in all that we do.  We will continue to partner with leadership to define and enhance the DYWIDAG culture and provide training resources for our managers and employees.

3. How do you feel working in a conventionally male industry like the construction industry?  As a woman working in what is perceived to be a man’s industry, has its challenges but also provides great opportunity.  DYWIDAG’s leadership team is male driven, but our HR team is driven by dynamic women. Our voices are heard, all communication is transparently passed down and majority of all changes and projects are collaborated on. Breaking the gender barrier starts by leading all conversations with excellence that is back by proven track record of success. I never start any conversation based on my gender, I start it with the facts and an open ear.

4. Who are your female inspiration(s)? As women we all wear many different hats but it takes a woman of great faith to do the impossible. My mother and grandmothers are my inspirations. These amazing women exemplify what it means to be strong, courageous, ambitious and humble. They have always believed in me and pushed me to dream big and never give up.


Corryn Zimmerman , VP Marketing & Communication, IT

1. What do you think made you grow within DYWIDAG? DYWIDAG is very good at hiring the right people for the right job and letting them do what they do best. Also, because we are mid-size/lean organization, the scope of your role can broaden if you have bandwidth or interest in other areas. 

2. What is your next objective / What do you strive for? I recently was given the task of managing the global IT team, and this will be a learning curve for me. I am really looking forward to learning about and developing the team to deliver on DYWIDAG’s strategy for IT Infrastructure, launch and consolidation of online platforms and implementation of One CRM. I am excited to see how restructuring and looking at new technologies can add value and efficiency to our growing business.

3. How do you feel working in a conventionally male industry like the construction industry? I spent more than 13 years in the automotive industry, so I am very used it. I enjoy it, because I truly believe in the business value of diversity- and I like to be an active member of that. I definitely bring a different voice and personality to the table and DYWIDAG values that and leverages my specific skills where it makes sense. I also work to ensure in my teams- and areas that I can impact- that diversity is acknowledged and discussed openly. Achieving the benefit of it, only works if people can feel and see the value and have open dialogue. 

4. What inspired you to work in an engineering environment? Oddly, I am not an engineering minded person but have always been attracted to data and highly technical things like cars, 3D technology, areas where innovation and evolution is at it’s height. What was most attractive about this environment to me, was it is a product and service I can be proud of. I can see the direct positive impact it has on cities, communities and the world. 

5. Who are your female inspiration(s)? Ahh…so many, but throughout my career, it has become very clear. It is the amazing women I have worked with, that have mentored me, supported me, kicked me in the ass, and most importantly, helped brush me off and get back up when I fell- figuratively and literally. I am a klutz. I could name names, but they know who they are.

DYWIDAG-Systems International

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