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#IWD: Celebrating Women Who Challenge the Status Quo in STEM

Celebrated annually, International Women's Day commemorates the cultural, political, and socioeconomic achievements of women. GE's Grid Solutions is fortunate to have women across the world who contribute to the success of our company as well the development of their own communities. Today, we proudly profile five GE's Grid Solutions engineers who have built successful STEM careers and are focused on helping to electrify the world with advanced grid technologies and accelerate the energy transition.

Diversity on Ximena Bentancour, Grid Services Customer Application Engineer team-and throughout the company-is not just about numbers. "One of the key factors that makes us progress in our workplace is that at Grid Solutions, regardless of any gender, age, geography or background, all viewpoints are considered, and we are encouraged to provide them," she said. "When working on a proposal to a customer, every idea, insight or previous experience that generates a positive impact in the search for the best solution is heard. The benefits are not only having a broader vision of what we can offer or provide but also having an inclusive work team, which generates a culture of belonging."

"In the early years of my career in the offshore oil and gas business, I was assigned a new challenge," Telma Tonalezi, EHS & Facilities Leader for GE's Grid Solutions said. "My most impactful memory was meeting my future direct report manager for the first time. He laughed at me and said, ‘You gotta be kidding me, where's Johnny?' I said with a big smile, ‘I AM the new Johnny'." Fortunately, her team reacted with curiosity about having a female as a replacement. That curiosity was the catalyst Telma needed to implement change, she says.

Sunita Roy, Engineering Manager for Grid Integration works on offshore wind and solar projects which contribute to a greener world. Reflecting on International Women's Day, Engineering Manager for Grid Integration Sunita feels proud—even though she occasionally is the only woman in the room. "My parents always told me I could be whatever I wanted to be in my life, hence I never questioned whether my gender would hold me back," she said. "I am really proud to be a mom, wife, and a professional. If you are confident and proud of who you are and what you do, it doesn't matter if you are a male or a female."

International Women's Day passes by in most countries with little fanfare. Not so in Kazakhstan, where the day is a public holiday, according to Kazakhstani native Saltanat Khamit, a head of operations for Grid Services. "This is a country-wide celebration for women of all ages. It is like a tribute to women who are gifted bouquets of spring flowers, baskets of sweets, and celebrated everywhere with either friends, closest ones, families or colleagues."

These women are optimistic about the future and acknowledge that the responsibility is on everyone to raise our children in a more equal environment.

Grid Automation Senior Lead Systems Engineer Claire Guy, who has a daughter and is expecting another child soon, would like to see more women in the R&D field. "I'm very proud and happy to be in the society I live in, but I would like to see more women involved in R&D activities," she said. "We have our place today in society and are able to rise to any challenge. International Women's Day reminds us that the path is long, and changes take time."

#IWD2022 #BreakTheBias #GEGrid