Could you tell us more about who you are and what you do, your leadership style and philosophy?
My name is Graziella Borg; I graduated as an Electrical Engineer from the University of Malta in 2007. I joined a global pharmaceutical company as a junior R&D Engineer during the same year and have been employed by the same company ever since. I have furthered my studies by completing a Master’s in Engineering Management, with Brunel University London throughout the years. Today, I am a Senior R&D Engineering Manager, working together with a dynamic team of engineers, located both locally and globally, to design and sustain disposable devices targeted to be used for Medication Delivery.
“I consider myself as a team player.”
Apart from leading a group of engineers, I take full accountability to deliver what the team commits to, even if the deliverables are not owned solely by myself. I take the responsibility to talk to my team and guide them to understand that any setback can be overcome if we work together in the right direction, take the necessary steps, and ensure that a backup plan is in place.
My opinion is that you can only achieve, if the team is equipped with the right training and development and enjoys the trust of all members within the team. Allowing your team to grow will help you indirectly grow and achieve more too. It is only by investing time in your team and building a relationship with each individual on your team, that makes delegation easier, faster and smoother.
What has been the most career-defining moment for you?
Shortly after starting my engineering journey with the company I currently work at; I was approached by the University of Malta. They presented me the opportunity to further my studies through a PhD postgraduate degree. Although the line of study progression was not in my plans, I decided to embark on this opportunity to give it a try. Nevertheless, this also meant that I was to return to being a full-time engineering student and stop being employed within the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry.
In only a few months, I realised that being an academic was not motivating me to achieve my personal goals. I also acknowledged that being a part of a global firm, observing goods from design to launch, was indeed where I was meant to be. Luckily enough, at the time I could return to my previous employment and continue my journey as if I never left. It was a step in the right direction for me.
“evaluate opportunities that may cross your pathways”
Such an experience taught me how essential it is to evaluate opportunities that may cross your pathways, especially unexpected ones, but most importantly, to consider what motivates oneself, to consider what inspires you to be the greatest version of yourself every day at work, regardless of what others may think.
How have technology and digital skills been relevant in your career progression?
In today’s world, knowing about accessible tools, including hardware and software, can help you make better decisions about what to use and when. It does not require being completely familiar with all technologies, whether newly released or already in use, but I think that being knowledgeable about which technologies are available will benefit towards making better decisions and working more efficiently. Nowadays, technology is thriving and has become an integral part of our lives. Be it remote working or even office-based, each individual responds to technology in different ways.
Each individual has their preferred way on how to use technology and execute tasks. The digital era has improved areas at work varying from the ways a team is led, to being organised in administrative tasks. Thus, any digital or tech-based skill, is an asset that one way or another, will be used at the workplace or otherwise.
How important do you think developing STEM skills is nowadays and why?
“developing STEM skills is essential”
It is common that nowadays, most individuals seek to level up their goals and aim for higher achievements. In general, people aspire to continuously learn and, thus, even strive for a better working position. We look for change. We also look for opportunities for growth at every stage in our lives.
For this reason I believe that developing STEM skills is essential; such skills equip the individual to react to the latest needs the industry is after, and equip the induvial to adapt to new ways of doing things that are continuously evolving. Still more importantly, such skills prepare the individual to introduce change. Critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and many more, are skills that aid an individual who constantly seeks for more. Having the energy to ask for more is what gives power to the individual to do more. Thus, I believe that such skills help ensure that the status quo is regularly challenged, and that individuals spend time thinking about how to keep on simplifying the world around them; be it at home or their place of work.
How important is it in the context of women?
I do not really wish to differentiate between a man and woman in such context. What I wish to say is that whoever leads more than one role in his/her life, would be gaining by making use of any STEM skills learned along the way, with or without knowing.
There is a likelihood that individuals own more than one role in their life. At times, a male or a female’s responsibility takes them beyond what their job description describes them to be, at their place of work. They might also be a husband/wife, a partner, a father/mother, a carer for a relative or a pet, and whatever the situation is, he/she needs to co-ordinate and own their role in these different environments, but still do it in a very similar way. It takes effort to learn how to juggle time in the most efficient way, how to handle all the different needs and still meet expectations. Practising STEM skills in or outside your workplace helps the individual do more with the time they have allocated. They can think in advance, proactively deciding on the best course of action, seek options, ask for information, make decisions and achieve them.
Do you notice a lack of women in leadership positions? If so, why do you think this is the case?
“I encourage women, who are willing to push forward in both their personal and professional lives”
It might be a fact that we might notice more males in leadership positions. A possible reason is that a higher percentage of females decide to pause and cater to other responsibilities outside their place of work along their career path. This can make females vulnerable to losing out on opportunities, or experience slow progression at their workplace.
Nevertheless, unfortunately, I do believe there are still some companies that do prefer males over females. Some might also be associated with the type of service or product they are offering to their industry. However, I do believe that if a woman can balance her personal and work environments responsibly; she can achieve and practice a leadership position in the same manner any male can.
For this reason, I encourage women, who are willing to push forward in both their personal and professional lives, to seek options whereby females are considered equal to males, where leadership positions are assigned based on educational background and experience, and not on gender.
What is one major leadership lesson you’ve learned in your career?
“Invest in your team as much as you invest in yourself.”
Invest in your team as much as you invest in yourself. This helps build a relationship with your team members based on trust, and it also eases delegation, helping the team grow and achieve more.
What advice would you give the next generation of females who are not sure about where a STEM career can take them?
A STEM career helps you strive for more. You will not settle until you feel accomplished. You owe that to yourself. For this reason, I only see a gain in achieving such skills. They might not all become handy from the start, but in the long run, you will notice that you have used the majority of such skills, maybe even without knowing.
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