There will always be room for career development in energy

Photo: OIE Serbia

The energy portal, as a media that wants to contribute to gender equality and inclusiveness of women in the green energy sector, decided to support the campaign for the promotion of successful women implemented by the Association of Renewable Energy Sources of Serbia with the support of the Embassy of Canada in Serbia. In the coming period, we will publish interviews that the Association of RES SERBIA realizes as part of the project “Path to greater participation of women in the RES sector” with the aim of encouraging young girls and women to get an education and seek a career opportunity in the RES sector.

Marina Obrenović is a master electrical engineer, who is employed at Schneider Electric as a specialist for medium voltage equipment and solutions. Her main task in the company where she has been working for almost 4 years is product positioning on the local market, and recently she was given the role of Sustainability manager, which entails monitoring the development of sustainability goals in Serbia and Montenegro. Since 2018, he has been a certified soft skills trainer of the Association of Electrical Engineering Students of Europe, with over 200 hours of training held on the territory of Southeast Europe.

In an interview for our portal, Marina Obrenović reveals whether she felt discriminated against during her studies at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, how disparaging comments gave her the wind at her back to be the best she could be, as well as why it is important to get a job in a company that values ​​people and their results regardless on gender

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When and how did you decide to study ETF?

Photo: OIE Serbia

Marina Obrenović: When I was in high school, I really liked natural subjects, especially chemistry, so I decided to take the entrance exam at the Faculty of Pharmacy, while the Faculty of Electrical Engineering was my second, backup option. After passing the entrance exam at both faculties, I had the difficult task of choosing what I would study and what profession I would pursue in my life. After considering various factors, I made a decision and decided to enter the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, with the intention of going to programming like my older sister, but after finishing the first year it was clear to me that Energetics was the major I wanted to study.

How does the desire to study in a predominantly male faculty form in a young girl?

Marina Obrenović: Personally, I don’t think that interests and affinities have anything to do with gender, I’ve never looked at things with prejudice in my life. When you are good at maths and physics during your schooling, technical colleges come naturally. I can only add that the boys have always been more collegial than the girls, which can actually be considered an advantage.

Have you ever felt discriminated against during your studies or at work because you are a woman?

Marina Obrenović: The question is very complex, and quite subjective. Everyone looks at things from their own point of view, there are situations that were very unpleasant and discriminatory for me, while others did not see it that way. During my studies, I received various comments, which were mostly derogatory and sometimes insulting. That never slowed me down, but gave me the wind at my back to persevere and be as good as possible in whatever I wanted and start working. On the other hand, while we are talking about work, at the very beginning of your career you have to stand out and show people why you are the one in the place and position you are in. I was lucky that my first job was in a company where people, their results and dedication to work, as well as proactivity regardless of gender, are valued first. At Schneider Electric, I met outstanding fellow engineers, which only gave me confirmation that I was in the right place. In the business world, the generalization of certain jobs in the energy sector bothers me more.

What jobs do you do in SE?

Photo: OIE Serbia

Marina Obrenović: I have been working for less than 4 years as a regional specialist for medium voltage equipment and solutions at Schneider Electric. My main task is product positioning on the local market, development of channels and partners who have our license. Daily communication with the corporation and transfer to the local level, launch of new products, training for sales colleagues, marketing actions such as conferences related to the segment of electrical companies. I am also in charge of cooperation with technical faculties on the territory of Serbia and Montenegro, where our main goal is to bring closer, improve and educate students in the field of energy and automation. I recently got the role of Sustanability manager, which entails monitoring the development of sustainability goals in Serbia and Montenegro.

To what extent are the jobs you work on related to renewable energy sources and green projects?

Photo: OIE Serbia

Marina Obrenović: When we talk about RES, I saw that many people have the perception that a RES project requires a solar panel or a wind turbine. It is certainly an integral part of every power plant, what is needed in most cases is the PRP connecting switchgear facility. Every day we receive requests for offers, which we can respond to with new technologies in order to implement a sustainable and green solution for end users. In its portfolio, Schneider Electric can boast of solutions that do not use SF6 gas as an insulating medium, but instead turns to innovative technologies such as purified air. We also have software that can perform 24/7 supervision and monitoring, as well as predictive maintenance of the entire system.

Would you recommend young girls to study ETF and look for jobs in power companies?

Marina Obrenović: Certainly! Everyone has the right to study what interests them, ETF is an excellent faculty that teaches you work habits, perseverance, an engineering approach to problems and work, it also has numerous student organizations where you can acquire informal education in the field of soft skills. I would add that women have always been considered more precise and meticulous in life, and that there will always be room for career development in the energy industry because it is an area that is in focus and from which much is expected.

What can we all do together to have more women in the RES sector?

Marina Obrenović: We can openly talk about it, and show how many possibilities and opportunities there are within the RES sector for development and improvement.

Source: OIE Serbia

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