International Women's Day - Talk with our COO.

International Women's Day - Talk with our COO.

Breaking the gender bias, International Women's Day - Ramona Vlasiu, COO.

What does the #breakthebias movement mean to you?

For me it means creating an awareness around the fact that being different is an amazing thing that actually needs to be valued and celebrated. It means a world free of stereotypes and etiquettes where diversity is celebrated and even more cherished.

Why do you think the movement is gaining momentum?

Over the years there have been many that pushed and promoted the diversity and inclusion topic in different ways. I remember reading a book almost 10 years ago (which actually became one of my favourite ones and a bit of a bible within my career) LEAN IN - Women, Work and the Will to Lead - by Sheryl Sandberg. The strongest theme in that book that spoke to me was the mental biases that we actually impose on ourselves. We have come a long way since then with the topic of biases gaining a massive momentum. I believe that the reason it’s even more prominent now is because as a topic it has become a fact with proven studies and clear data that an organisation that is more diverse and more inclusive has higher chances to become more successful. It has been proven that companies that have a higher share of women in their executive teams and company boards are more profitable. It is clear that people value a company and look to join it if they see that there is a fundamental culture of diversity and inclusion.

What has attracted you to work in energy?

At first it was an opportunity for me as a lawyer to do what I actually loved to do, which was M&As. I joined E.ON when the Group was massively expanding in Europe and acquired shares across various countries, including Romania (my home country). Over the years I have grown up in the energy market and matured myself along with the energy segment maturing as well, to a point to which right now I actually love working in the sector as I strongly believe we can make a big difference and we have a massive contribution towards one of humanity biggest challenge of our times and the times to come and that is climate change.

Which leaders you came into close contact with inspired you?

I always say that I was lucky enough in my career to meet the right person at the right time in my development. But a consistent theme that came across every time was the trust element. I was not confident enough in my ability to progress, even though I was quite ambitious. And how I received the support was through people trusting that I could do it and basically proving to me through that and working on my confidence. Trust comes with an immense sense of duty from my point of view and this always helps you to want to do more and more. And even more, the trust you receive you always have to give back.

What is the best piece of advice you received to fulfil your career potential?

Trust yourself! Break your own biases as sometime we are our number one enemy in career progression! Start with you and then demand from others!

Can you summarise three goals of E.ON Next's to change gender bias in energy?

  • We value people that are DIFFERENT in all shapes and forms.

  • Leading the way in the energy sector when it comes to the share of women in executive and management positions!

What do you think is the greatest bias faced by women in the energy sector?

I believe in the past it was seen as a more technical sector, especially back in the days when energy companies were vertically integrated and had power and gas distribution networks. At least that was the case when I joined E.ON in 2006. But not anymore and I don’t think, or at least I want to believe that is the case. If I look in E.ON and E.ON Next stats this tells me I am right: we have double the amount of women in executive positions compared to industry standard (28% vs. 14% POWERful women board 2021) and our promotion rates for women are in line with men’s.

What would be a successful outcome of this movement for E.ON Next?

Success for me in E.ON Next would be that we as a company live, breathe, act and behave with diversity and inclusion as part of our DNA. What I mean is that we don’t need to talk about it anymore because it will be so deeply embedded in our DNA and core values.

Why is E.ON Next a destination for career fulfilment (for women)?

We’ve already proven this via our progressive environment for women, our organisation allows women to progress within the company. I am also a very good example of that. Being promoted to a very high executive role while I was on maternity leave!!!

Describe what it's like to work at E.ON Next in three words?

Exciting! Fun! Rewarding!

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Published 07/03/2022