Mechatronic engineer Maria Fernanda Ruiz has worked at ABB Australia, part of the Swiss-based global process and automation technology group, for the past six years.
She has spent the past 17 years in engineering and industrial sales roles in the mining, oil and gas, manufacturing and food industries.
Currently a sales engineer in ABB Australia’s industrial automation division, Ruiz spoke with InvestMETS about her 2022 Women in Industry Awards nomination.
InvestMETS: You would be a mentor to many women in the mining sector. What are your thoughts on how to get more women involved in this space?
Maria Fernanda Ruiz: I believe leading by example is the best way to encourage more women to participate in industry, particularly in mining. From my observations, I’ve noticed that sometimes women don’t take the same professional risks as men. My advice to women is to take advantage of the professional opportunities that come their way, apply for positions which you have qualifications for but perhaps don’t feel fully qualified for – because what’s the real risk? You may miss an opportunity to advance your career.
InvestMETS: Who are your own mentors?
Maria Fernanda Ruiz: My great mentor is my mum. She was a truly strong woman, overcoming many challenges. She demonstrated to us – my sisters and I – that with perseverance and hard work you can reach all your goals. She was and will be the leader that I am working to become one day.
InvestMETS: How has the landscape changed in your time in the industry (good and bad)?
Maria Fernanda Ruiz: The landscape has changed for good fortunately. There are many more opportunities for women currently. Of course there is still a gap between men and women in the industry, but we are closer than before, in terms of equality. Also, the ‘new normal’ after COVID has showed us different ways to work in different environments, other than the office, getting us closer to our families.
InvestMETS: What does ABB’s growth path in mining and metals look like over the next 12-24 months?
Maria Fernanda Ruiz: ABB is a dynamic company, continuously evolving according to the world’s changing circumstances. With more than 100 years in the market, ABB will continue to be a leading global technology company that energises the transformation of society and industry to achieve a more productive, sustainable future.
InvestMETS: What are the main challenges for your business at the moment, and how are you meeting them?
Maria Fernanda Ruiz: One of the main challenges many businesses are currently facing is the lack of resources. We need more people with the right competences and skills for the industry. I am personally encouraging local people, friends and family to prepare for the current and future opportunities in the industry.
InvestMETS: What are the three top things about your job/sector that get you excited to get out of bed each day?
Maria Fernanda Ruiz: The ability to provide solutions to our client’s needs. The capacity to build and nurture relationships both internally and externally. The knowledge that my voice as a woman in industry is heard and that I am able to motivate many other women and men to follow the industry path.
InvestMETS: Do you have any words of wisdom for Gen Z’s looking to work in the mining equipment, technology and services industry?
Maria Fernanda Ruiz: The world is adapting to and embracing the new generations. My advice to them is to take advantage of what the METS industry is willing to offer, like hybrid workplaces, flexibility, training and technology opportunities. Prepare yourself and be willing to take risks, you won’t regret it.