A Life-Long Journey
Ground-breaking Women: Karen’s Story
Karen’s is a story of success, achievement, and resilience, both
personally and professionally.
Working in a male-dominated environment, Karen is very proud of
her colleagues, who have been nothing but welcoming, supportive,
and above else, respectful.
Early in life
As a young girl growing up in Tallaght, Karen fondly remembers playing
football on the street with the boys, including Stephen Bradley, current
manager of Shamrock Rovers.
Those social interactions would prove to be invaluable for the future.
After the company that she worked for 16 years closed down, Karen
found herself in the middle of buying a house with her partner, a
mortgage, and a young child. With such pressure, she was
determined to find a job to provide for her family and applied for
the position of General Operative at Capital Switchgear.
Karen was the first female general operative to join the company.
One of Capital Switchgear mentors prepared her well, and after just 12 months in the role, she was promoted to Wirer. The student has now become the teacher and is currently training new employees.
Her colleagues have been fantastic.
The lads have welcomed her with open arms, are always respectful, and include her in everything they do. Yes, there are times that she wishes more females were working with her, but she is thrilled working alongside such great men.
Working in a man’s world
“That first day, when I walked to the Production floor, I was a bit apprehensive. I knew I would be spending my working day with the lads, and I did not know how it would go. The guys have been amazing, and I am delighted that my colleagues have been so accepting. I consider myself a part of the team.”
Being the quiet type, Karen does not enjoy being the centre of attention. Sometimes, when she is wearing her work gear, she finds outsiders observing her. There is a curiosity from other people to find out what she does, why she is wearing the clothes she is. Although this can make her uncomfortable at times, Karen has learned to accept it. “The more women join in male-dominated roles, the less these types of situations will arise,” she comments.
Advice for young women
“I would say, don’t be afraid, and go for it. There is no reason why you cannot do it. Do not let the fact that your new role might be a more male-oriented one stop you from pursuing it if that is what you want.
As a woman, you will bring a different perspective on things; it will bring a sort of balance to your environment. Enjoy it and embrace it”.
It is a testament to the owners of Capital Switchgear that they have created this excellent work culture, one which is fair, supportive, and full of professional development opportunities. Karen reflects on this and is very grateful for the last two years and is looking forward to a bright future within the company.
She is also delighted to make her 8-year-old son so proud of her, “Mammy is very cool; she works with electricity!”