Cristina Cardiel, colleague, people

Cristina Cardiel, Specification Manager for ROCKWOOL Technical Insulation in Spain, shares her career journey in engineering

Cristina Cardiel is an engineer with almost 20 years’ experience working in industrial settings. After spending time working in the oil and gas, construction and other essential industries, Cristina moved to Rockwool Technical Insulation about five years ago and has been delighted with the welcome she’s received.

“ROCKWOOL is a company that is really pushing for more equality in the workplace and that’s noticeable in everything from the benefits on offer to the way people talk to each other. These things matter. I have worked places where I felt that I was treated differently because I am a woman, but here I feel part of the team and even though there are still not as many female engineers as any of us would like – things are improving.”

“I’m always happy to prove them wrong”

Cristina Cardiel

ROCKWOOL Technical Insulation
Technical Specification Manager

Recalling how people initially reacted when she was studying engineering at university, Cristina laughs. “I remember one guy asking me why I’d want to do this instead of staying at home, being a housewife. We’re only talking 20 years ago – I couldn’t believe his attitude! But what I’ve found is that wherever I go in the world there will be some people who think I should stay at home, or who mistake me for someone’s assistant because I am a woman. But that’s not everybody. And when I come across someone like that, I’m always happy to prove them wrong.”

people, colleagues, Spain, event

“I work hard. I solve problems”

Cristina attributes her resilient attitude to her family, who raised her to be strong and determined. “My grandmother lived through the Spanish Civil War and it had a huge impact on her perspective, which she passed on to her children, and which my mother passed on to me. She taught me that we can overcome difficulties through hard work and perseverance. So when people ask me what it’s like being a female engineer, I tell them – it’s no different to being a male engineer. I work hard. I solve problems. And I want to do the best job I can. That’s why I’m here.”

That hard work has extended into Cristina’s life outside of work, where she spends a lot of time running and training for marathons. “Running helps me process things. It’s a time to focus on myself, my breathing – a kind of meditation, really – and I can do it anywhere, so it’s very convenient! I think it’s good for us all to take time in nature and get some fresh air. I’m a bit evangelical about it!”

people, colleague, employee, Cristina Cardiel, climbing

“It’s so important to reach children, and especially girls, at an early age”

The other thing Cristina thinks all engineers should be evangelical about is encouraging children’s interest in STEM subjects. “Engineering wasn’t in my family. It was science lessons at school that started me down this path. We were asked to make a circuit to light a bulb. I thought it was amazing. I think it’s so important to reach children, and especially girls, at an early age – it’s a curious age, and a time in your life when no doors should be closed. If we want more women in engineering, we have to start there.”

“I try to look at projects from a fresh perspective”

On a day-to-day basis, Cristina spends a lot of time building relationships with customers – either from her home office, or on the road. “For me, the job is about getting to know customers and trying to understand their challenges. I am a Specifications Manager, so it’s my job to make sure we provide the right products for every application, but I’m also always looking for opportunities to improve efficiency and drive cost savings because I know that’s what’s important to our customers. I try to look at projects from a fresh perspective, and I think that’s one of the benefits of a more diverse workplace – you get more diverse perspectives. Men, women, different nationalities, different cultures, different ages – the more diversity in our team, the more creativity we can bring.”

people, colleague, Cristina Cardiel, climbing, employee

“I am a small part of a big team”

When talking about specific projects that she’s enjoyed working on, Cristina revealed that one project that’s currently in the works – at too early a stage to disclose just yet – has been particularly fulfilling. “We’ve been working with this customer for a long time, building the relationship and finding the best way to support them with some critical projects. I am a small part of a big team, but I’ve really enjoyed pulling together to deliver on their requirements. I find it especially satisfying to identify opportunities where we can make a difference, knowing that we’re the right partner for the job.”



“It’s really important that companies don’t just talk about equality”

Cristina is pragmatic about the past, and optimistic about the future. “Yes, in the past, I have found it difficult to work in a sector with very few women, and also in countries where women don’t have the independence I’m used to in Spain. But things are changing. I hope the younger generations entering the industry find there are less barriers to equality than there were when I started out. For that to happen, it’s really important that companies don’t just talk about equality. It needs to be embedded in the company’s culture, like it is here. It’s clear things have changed and are still changing. It would be nice to imagine a time when we’re not still having this conversation because there are just as many women in engineering as men.”

For Cristina, International Women’s Day is a day to recognise the efforts other women have made to get us to where we’re at today. “100 years ago a woman couldn’t be a doctor. Look at us now. I think International Women’s Day is necessary to show how far we’ve come and how far there is to go. I don’t want to be thought of as special for being a woman in a man’s world.”

“I just want to be treated equally”

Cristina Cardiel

ROCKWOOL Technical Insulation
Technical Specification Manager

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