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I became a member of the Women in Automotive Network because I strongly believe in the impact of professional communities. This network has provided me with valuable support and clarity through its mentoring program. I aim to engage in ongoing learning and collaboration with fellow members to promote a more gender-inclusive and equitable automotive industry.
DE&I is vital to me because it aligns with ethical principles and it is a strategic imperative for the success of businesses. Embracing diversity in all its forms, fostering an inclusive culture, and ensuring equitable opportunities for everyone will not only lead to better decision-making and innovation but also drive stronger business performance and overall sustainability in the long run.
The primary automotive trend I am currently monitoring is the decarbonization of the transportation industry and its effects on operations and value chains. This is a mega trend in the market driven by EU regulation aiming to achieve zero emission vehicles target.
In the short-term, I foresee the automotive industry maintaining a strong emphasis on innovative technological advancements to promote sustainable mobility and enhance customer experiences. Key areas of focus include electrification, shared mobility, autonomous vehicles, connectivity, and the integration of AI, among other critical developments.
I find myself deeply inspired by Michelle Obama. From my point of view, she exemplifies a natural leadership style, consistently breaking barriers and paving the way for women and girls worldwide. Her dedication to the cause of gender equality, coupled with her visionary life achievements, serves as a beacon of inspiration for me, propelling me to strive for excellence and create meaningful impact, even on a smaller scale.
One of her sayings as First Lady in 2009 has left a lasting impression on me: "“The women we honor today teach us three very important lessons. One, that as women, we must stand up for ourselves. The second, as women, we must stand up for each other. And finally, as women, we must stand up for justice for all.”
My proudest career moment is not limited to a single event but rather encompasses the entire journey of professional growth that has shaped me into the woman I am today. From my early experiences in human resources management and Big 4 consulting to my current role at Yazaki EMEA, I have consistently worked towards integrating ESG principles into my customers' and employers' processes and operations.
One significant milestone that stands out is when I had the courage to embrace a new challenge and move abroad, driven by a passion for sustainability and air transportation. Accompanied by my Siberian Husky, I relocated to Malaysia - a truly diverse and multicultural society. This decision marked a historic moment of resilience on my personal and professional path.
Currently being a part of Yazaki's team and contributing as a change agent to the advancement of the company's sustainability journey fills me with immense pride.
The greatest challenge I faced in my career a couple of years ago was navigating corporate environments where sustainability was not a priority for businesses. Fortunately, in the last three years, there has been a significant positive shift, with sustainability gaining higher priority in boardrooms due to evolving regulatory landscapes. Another significant challenge I have observed throughout my career relates to gender biases and barriers. For example, women being frequently spoken over in meetings, leading them to raise their voices to be heard; seeing their suggestions being ignored until men articulate them, female leaders have sometimes felt pressured to conform to male leadership models. My particular concern arises from the estimates provided by the WEF in 2021, suggesting that the global gender gap may take another 136 years to close. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, this estimate was 100 years, indicating a setback that has slowed progress toward achieving gender equality.
Although my first car was a Ford Fiesta, it is my second car, a Fiat Uno, that holds significant sentimental value for me. It symbolizes my initial steps towards achieving financial independence.
What advice would you offer to those considering starting a career within the automotive industry?
For those considering starting a career within the automotive industry, my advice is to remain curious, open to exploring industry trends, and engage in mentorship programs. Cultivate strong networking connections, embrace lifelong learning, and above all, trust in your abilities and potential. The automotive sector offers a dynamic landscape with diverse opportunities including design, R&D, engineering, sustainability and digitalization.
There is a growing opportunity for female professionals seeking career advancement through “Empowerment”. As companies recognize the value of diverse perspectives and inclusive leadership, doors are opening for women to take on pivotal roles and drive positive change in an industry that is moving towards greater sustainability. I believe this is an auspicious moment for women to enter the automotive workforce.
Connect with Patrícia Cavaco on LinkedIn
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