"Dare to be different, follow your passions and chase that dream job."
- Name: Marinella De Paepe
- Age: 55
- Studies: Licentiate in Commercial and Financial Sciences (VLEKHO Brussels)
- Function: Dispatcher
- Hobbies: Walking, cooking
The 55-year-old Marinella De Paepe works as a dispatcher at Cegelec. Her main responsibility is planning the technicians’ interventions such as maintenance, breakdown assistance, installation tests and repairs. For this, she is in close contact with the customer and manages all requests. At the start of every year, she creates an annual schedule with recurring fixed appointments, which is gradually translated into weekly schedules that can be subject to last-minute changes.
Does the collaboration with all colleagues happen smoothly?
Marinella: At the office, I work with both female and male colleagues and I can honestly say that we form a very close team where there is always a positive atmosphere. As for our male technicians, they were a bit sceptical at first, as I was new to the team and needed to refine my technical knowledge. Eventually, their trust grew as they realised how diligent I was. Now everything runs very smoothly and I have already been able to learn a lot on-the-job. The fact that I was interested in techniques from an early age certainly helps. In fact, my father was a car technician and believed that everyone, regardless of gender, should have a solid basic technical knowledge. I am grateful for that.
During your career, have you observed significant changes in colleagues’ attitudes towards diversity?
Marinella: During my career, I have observed a positive change. In the past, prejudice was more prevalent, but today’s generation is increasingly open to working with people with different backgrounds. Initiatives such as the Women in Technology campaign and more media coverage about diversity play a crucial role in this, in my opinion. Such initiatives also help eliminate certain misconceptions, such as the outdated idea that women in the tech sector are less feminine and never wear make-up or dresses, for example. Of course, this is not true at all and these choices depend from woman to woman. The most important thing is: you can and should always be yourself. However, that is not always easy to remember and that is precisely why role models are needed. For example, one of my sources of inspiration is Margaret Thatcher, the Iron Lady. As a woman, she managed to reach the top in politics, a male-dominated world at the time.
Can you fully identify with VINCI Energies’ values?
Marinella: Absolutely. There are several projects within VINCI Energies, such as the VINCI Fund, which help to give people who are struggling a place, role and self worth. I therefore think it is great that our company so actively participates in the fight against any form of exclusion. What sets VINCI Energies apart is all its employees of different religions, cultures, genders and ages. My own story is an example of VINCI Energies’ commitment to providing opportunities to people of all ages. In fact, I was 52 years old when I applied but was still without a doubt given the opportunity to use my experience. So my message to others is: dare to be different, follow your passions and pursue that dream job, regardless of stereotypes.