From Working in a Male-Dominated Team to Managing One
This year will mark 10 years that Sigita Kašėtaitė has been working in aviation. More than half of this time she has spent at Avion Express, where she has walked a long and interesting path from Engineering Services Engineer to Planning Manager to Engineering Manager to ARC Signatory to her current well-deserved position of the Head of Engineering and Planning.
Sigita has always known that she wanted to do something unusual in her life. “Every other person went to study Law or Economics, and I knew that this wasn’t something I wanted to pursue”, says Sigita. Back in high school, she went to a Career Fair where VGTU Antanas Gustaitis’ Aviation Institute caught Sigita’s attention. Aviation intrigued her so much that she majored in Aviation Mechanics having earned both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in that field.
Although currently more and more women choose to follow a career in aviation, they are still underrepresented in this market. As Sigita says, “When it comes to technical jobs, there are still much fewer women than men. I’d say, if there’s a conference happening, 10% of the participants are women, at most”. Is it difficult for women to get into Aviation Engineering? “It wasn’t for me”, says Sigita. “A lot of women are simply not interested in such a career, and those who are – are afraid: what would I do there? How would I learn it? To be frank, a lot of people still ask me, how come I am interested in Engineering”, shares Sigita, who adds that she is very happy to be where she is. “I never felt any pressure or was mistreated because I am a woman working in a male-dominated industry. In Avion Express everyone treats their colleagues with respect regardless of their gender or background”, says Sigita. “I never had to change my working style or behaviour to fit in. I didn’t think about changing anything at all”, she adds.
Currently, 37% of Avion Express employees are women, but back when Sigita started her career, the ratio was much smaller. Over the time, not only the number of female employees in Avion Express has changed, Sigita has switched from working in a male-dominated team to managing one. “When I started, there were few women in the company. Now we have grown significantly, and more and more ladies are joining us and our department in particular”, says Sigita. “But knowledge and personal qualities have always been the most important factor. Communication and the atmosphere in the office are crucial. You need to discuss things with your colleagues, to be open and supportive. Simple manager-subordinate kind of relationship won’t work. Luckily, we have a fantastic team on board”, she opens up about her job.
If gender isn’t a particular problem, what is the greatest challenge in being an Engineer? “There is a point of view that this job is boring. That’s not true. Because a job is people you work with”, admits Sigita. “A lot of things have happened over the years. But when you have a great team, impossible is nothing. As cheesy as it sounds, without your team you are nothing. My colleagues in my department, as well as everyone in Avion Express team, are very friendly. They are interesting people who are great at their jobs, so there has never been a problem that couldn’t be solved”.
Sigita has indeed walked a successful path with Avion Express. Having proven herself to be the amazing professional that she is and having achieved what she has, if she could go back in time, would she change anything about her career? “One thing I know for sure – I made the right choice with this career and I wouldn’t change anything about it”, admits Sigita.
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