International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) is celebrated on June 23 every year to honour the exceptional achievements of women engineers worldwide. The theme for 2022 celebrates Inventors and Innovators. On this INWED, we spoke to Magdolin Mikhail, Business Manager at the Cummins New Power business unit, to hear about her journey as a woman in engineering, a usually male-dominated environment.
After graduating with distinction from the Faculty of Engineering at the Alexandria University in Egypt, Magdolin fixed her mind on electrical engineering. She is driven by challenges and that is what motivated her to enter an industry very few women enter by choice.
Magdolin has followed opportunities in technical and application engineering, assumed more responsibilities and moved to a business development role where she presently looks after the sales of technical solutions for Cummins New Power for three countries: the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait.
What convinced you to join Cummins and could you share your career path?
Cummins has demonstrated a commitment to diversity, equality, and inclusion (DE&I) for many decades. They recently featured on Forbes ‘The Best Employers for Diversity 2022’ list. All these recognitions and years of work behind advancing equality in workplace has certainly helped Cummins attract great talent, and that was part of the reason I joined Cummins. I was also, of course, fascinated with the pace of innovation happening at Cummins and wanted to be a part of this new growth story.
About my career: I have 12 years of industry experience in power generation and have been associated with Cummins for the past 7 years. The current assignment, which I have been working on for the past two years, is leading the business development activities for Cummins’ New Power business unit for the Middle East region.
How does a typical day look for you as Business Manager for New Power Solutions?
I am responsible for discovering new growth opportunities in the hydrogen segment by working closely with key end-users, stakeholders, government, and industry bodies in the region. I champion the technical solutions that we offer to our customers, end users, and partners. Every now and then I participate in research work for new projects pertaining to the New Power business unit. That is followed by a lot of internal collaboration, internal goal setting and assigning tasks to the teams based on the requirements received from the customers.
What is the most exciting part of your job?
I enjoy interfacing with the general community and showing them the real-world applications of zero-emission fuel cell technologies. I am proud of being part of the solution, in helping our world stay sustainable for our next generations. Supporting the technologies we develop, to overcome environmental challenges also brings me closer to my personal goal of ‘go green’.
With a background in electrical engineering, I leverage my knowledge and experience in working on fuel cell power modules. I have always been very passionate about this field, and nothing can beat working on something you have always loved.
What challenges have you faced as a woman in an engineering role within or outside Cummins?
In the Middle East, women in customer facing roles, especially in technical or business development, are outnumbered by men. I recall delivering one technical session at a customer site where I was required to gain special permission to present only because I was a woman. Of course, I respect regional and cultural nuances and therefore complied with the requirements. But my audience had gender biases and it was my job to prove that my skills are not defined by my gender. At the end of the session, I took questions and put my knowledge on the table and came out strong in changing the perception, gaining the trust of my audience, and creating a moment to be proud of.
What would you say to young girls in school/college who want to pursue a career in engineering?
To all aspiring young girls out there, I just want to say do not limit yourself because you do not see enough women role models in your chosen field. It can be hard if you do not see someone to look up to, but regardless just talk to anyone who inspires you. Most women would have gone through the same challenges anyway. Be your own role model because this world needs more women in technology, be someone the other young girls will look up to. Focus on self-growth, keep feeding yourself with the right information and never stop learning.
Join Cummins in celebrating women in STEM like Magdolin who are improving the world, one step at a time.