Mariana Guidugli Knows that Women in Technology Must Work Hard to Earn Respect
Mariana Guidugli, Technical Support Agent, Festo Canada, gains her greatest professional satisfaction in finding solutions for customers. “What makes me happy at work is when I solve a customer’s issues, and the customer is happy with the job I’ve done,” Guidugli said. “Identifying solutions motivates me at work every day and with every call I receive.”
She knows how important her position at Festo Canada is to the company. “Everybody in the technology industry knows Festo has high-quality components,” she said. “They buy Festo quality. They stay Festo customers because of our support. My job is to provide that support. And I love it.”
Guidugli, who grew up in Brazil speaking Portuguese and taking courses in English at school, earned a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering and since coming to Canada has earned a project management certificate. In her last year at school in Brazil in 2015, she learned an important life lesson.
“I was the only woman in my engineering class,” she related. “A professor singled me out in class and said a woman’s place is in the kitchen, not in engineering. I said nothing to him. I was too stunned, hurt, and publicly humiliated. My mother and father talked to me about what the professor said. They both encouraged me to see this as a challenge, not as a setback or roadblock.”
Guidugli said that she decided to earn a perfect score in the professor’s class, and she did. “From this experience, I realized that to be taken seriously as a woman in a male-dominated field, I had to prove more and to perform more than my male colleagues,” she said. “And now I’m okay with that. I am driven to outdo.”
Occasionally, when she receives a support call, the male on the other end of the line will ask, ‘am I speaking to the right person?’ She says yes and helps solve his issue. She’s not sure whether her male colleagues ever hear that question. It doesn’t matter to her. What matters is helping and teaching.
“Festo provides an outstanding array of free online engineering support tools,” Guidugli observed. “If a customer does not know about these tools, I walk them through the tools webpage and show them the range of capabilities. Then we go to the tool most helpful for the issue. I feel technically oriented people like to attempt to solve a problem first and then ask for help. Showing them these tools gives them the opportunity to do it first on their own. Many times, they say to me, ‘you’re a lifesaver.'”
After a year and a half with Festo Canada, how does Guidugli feel about the company? “During the hiring process, I saw that Festo human resources does not care about religion, race, or the gender of a person,” she said. “They are only interested in whether the applicant will thrive and be successful at Festo. I feel I am a member of an extended family at Festo. We care about one another and support one another. This is a wonderful place for me because my passion has always been providing solutions and technical support.”