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Meeting Women Leaders – Ing. Maria Rita Muscat - September 27, 2021 - 0 comments

Could you tell us more about who you are and what you do, your leadership style and philosophy?

I graduated from the University of Malta with a B.Eng (Hons.) Degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2008 (whereby my final year thesis design was patented and awarded a First Place Award Certificate from the Institution of Engineering Designers (IED), UK, for the most innovative Engineering Design) and a Master’s Degree in Integrated Product Development in 2012. I have also obtained a Higher National Diploma in Financial Services with Distinction in 2015. Not content to rest on my laurels, I also started a course in the German Language.

I joined Lufthansa Technik Malta in June 2018 as an Aircraft Engineer. I had a very active role in the start-up and development of the Planning and Engineering Department for Wide-Bodied Aircrafts. I obtained my Systems Authorization in 2010 and Structural Authorisation in 2012. Apart from acting as a Planning Engineer between 2013 and 2014, I was involved in several projects with the latest involvement in Data Entry.

Being involved in various projects including C and D-Checks on all A320, A330 and A340 families, I lead a three-year project (including STC) on major Lufthansa Cabin Modifications of A32F, A330, A340-300 and A340-600, including Full Support to Hamburg Planning & Engineering Department, Manila and Sofia Central Job card Engineering Department.

In August 2017, I was promoted to senior aircraft engineer specialising in Structures and Cabin, further enhancing my competencies and skills. Then in February 2018, I was promoted to Engineering and Planning Manager.

“There is little in life that compares to the challenge of being a leader.”

Embodying the responsibility of leadership requires constant self-assessment and objective evaluation. One of the most effective leadership styles is the transformational leadership style. Transformational leaders inspire their employees through effective communication and collaboration and thus initiating the path to success. Organizational leadership, cultural leadership, spiritual leadership – we talk about many different forms of the role, but when it comes down to the core qualities that make a leader, there are seven meaningful traits that form the foundation of my leadership philosophy: attitude is everything, trust is paramount, learning never stops, being open to relationships by being honest, approachable, full of integrity, and respectful, give always your best, prioritize, delegate and trust, and be compassionate for all.

The most important leadership principles from my point of view are:

  • Effective communication and effective listening, whereby I seek to identify and clarify the will of the group and/or the individual. This involves listening to what is being said and noticing what’s not being said!
  • Striving to understand and empathize with others.
  • Being aware of the situation, feelings, strengths and weaknesses of the employees.
  • Conceptualization of innovative ideas and process improvement.
  • Learning from the past, considering the reality of the present, and thinking of the consequences of upcoming decisions.
  • Moreover, there should be a commitment to invest in personal growth within the team and build a community of a team of employees working together to accomplish a goal whilst inspiring, motivating and aiding others within and outside the team.


What has been the most career-defining moment for you?

The most career-defining moment was when I was promoted to a leadership position, starting as a Senior Aircraft Engineer and then following into being a Manager. In these progressive leadership positions, the most satisfying moments are seeing employees growing and developing in the career through my guidance, mentoring and coaching.


How have technology and digital skills been relevant in your career progression?

Through technology and digital skills, one enhances further knowledge, opening up opportunities one would never have dreamt of. The more knowledge and exposure, the more opportunities are available, which help advance further into one’s career.

“Technological advances will continue to offer new ways of working.”

Leaders who embrace those changes will reap the benefits of highly satisfied employees, allowing them to be keen to collaborate, communicate, or create new tools that will enable them to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively!


How important do you think developing STEM skills is nowadays and why?

Think about key skills needed in today’s workplace: problem-solving, analytical thinking, and the ability to work independently. What do they all have in common? They’re all related to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). They are the real-world problem-solving skills that are very important nowadays in such a technological world. From my point of view, what is interesting is that what binds together the STEM movement is the notion of modern skills. Employers talk about problem-solving. Society requires problem-solving. Everything we experience requires problem-solving. Those are the types of skills that matter. Out of my own experience, I can tell you that I didn’t use the calculus I learned at university to solve problems on paper, but the way it taught me to solve problems and to think about problems was significant!

It is imperative because most employers want employees who can reason and solve problems using math, science, or technical knowledge.

Key STEM skills include:

  • Analytical skills to research a topic, develop a project plan and timeline, and draw conclusions from research results.
  • Science skills to break down a complex scientific system into smaller parts, recognize cause and effect relationships, and defend opinions using facts.
  • Mathematic skills for calculations and measurements.
  • Attention to detail to follow a standard blueprint, record data accurately, or write instructions.
  • Technical skills to troubleshoot the source of a problem.

Many employees in STEM fields use “soft” skills at work as much as they use math and science.


These soft skills include:

  • Communication and cooperation skills to listen to customer needs or interact with project partners.
  • Creative abilities to solve problems and develop new ideas.
  • Leadership skills to lead projects or help customers.
  • Organization skills to keep track of lots of different information.


How important is it in the context of women?

Most companies are highly aware that supporting female leadership and fostering gender equality is an absolute must in today’s work environment. Women can bring unique experiences and utilize these experiences to boost productivity and motivation levels.

According to research, most companies find women indistinguishable from men on key leadership traits such as intelligence and capacity for innovation. Many say they’re stronger than men in terms of being compassionate and organized leaders.


Do you notice a lack of women in leadership positions? If so, why do you think this is the case?

Companies are still struggling to provide the necessary opportunities to set up women employees for success. Even with the increase in women leaders in recent years, men are still being promoted at a higher rate than women, allowing them access to the people and tools they need to continue their success within a company. While women tend to leave the workforce and re-enter it more often than men, it’s not necessarily a downfall in a woman’s career. Since women experience different work environments from re-entering the business world, they typically learn to be more resourceful, doing more with less. This is a skill that usually can’t be taught, but rather it is acquired from life experiences.


What is one major leadership lesson you’ve learned in your career?

“Teamwork is fostered when results are achieved with the ‘us’ mindset rather than the ‘me’.”

More so, delegating work whilst trusting employees also contribute to enhancing a team’s environment. This is very powerful and rewarding as it encourages growth in others and boosts an employee’s self-esteem. Moreover, being authentic and empathetic whilst talking less and listening more are crucial.


What advice would you give the next generation of females who are not sure about where a STEM career can take them?

“Females with STEM degrees gain a wider variety of career choices.”

STEM education helps people feel more comfortable using new technologies and encourages them to become excellent problem-solvers. Encouraging females to take up STEM Careers will help break down gender stereotypes and give females the tools to change the world around them. More women with STEM degrees serve as role models and create a virtuous cycle that helps more girls enter the field.

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