Shira Sal Wobsht, Head of ICL’s Periclase factory at the South of Israel, describes her childhood ambition to work at ICL, how she sees her responsibilities in her leadership role, and how she’s perceived at work.
Throughout my life and career, while pursuing my chemical engineering studies and while in business administration, as a process engineer and a production manager, I’ve experienced a lot of commentary on the fact that I’m a woman. My career decisions and the choices of roles I’ve worked in – most of which have previously been filled by men – always generated some curiosity and critique, but I never let those have any impact on me.
As someone who’s spent her entire life in the southern region of Israel, I always wanted to work at ICL. After filling a few different roles at the company, I was promoted 6 months ago as the Factory Manager for Periclase at ICL’s Rotem site, where we develop magnesium compounds. As the manager, I lead the activities at the site, responsible for workers’ safety, product quality, and proper production processes., In order to be compliant with all of our standards, we have to constantly maintain our quality control, protocols, and regulations, ensuring we meet all our site’s targets and deadlines. In addition, the site’s employees work constantly to create innovative solutions in our field.
One of the major issues that I’ve championed in this role is an improved performance campaign to change the discourse and create more openness in the company. A platform for open dialogue with employees builds trust in management and improves performance.
At work, the treatment I experience from my colleagues depends on the person I’m interacting with, and enables diversity, inclusion and belonging. Its not the case though outside of work. Sometimes people comment about the career I chose – some are supportive and encouraging, but there are some whose responses are insulting and sexist. I don’t relate to these responses. Instead, I feel strengthened by the support I get from my current manager – he doesn’t evaluate me by my gender, but on the basis of my performance, and everything else is irrelevant. That makes me believe that change is possible or maybe already here, and that I need to keep walking my own path, with a mission to make a difference and be impactful in everything that I do.
Thomas Jefferson said “nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.” I believe this so strongly and it motivates me to act, to believe in people, to be respectful and caring. These are lessons I learned from my sister Adi, who has special needs. She has taught me to look at people differently, to learn to see beyond peoples’ limitations, to care and to accept difference from a place of love and through an understanding that we are all equal.
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We’ve all been through a difficult time lately, that has taught us, in a sense, a different way to function. Because our facility is considered essential, work mostly continued as usual, so we’ve learned to comply with all of the restrictions and guidelines, and we’ve been able to create work routines that allow us to continue production while keeping all of our employees healthy and safe.
Presently, we’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I wish good health to everyone around me. For me, I hope I’ll continue to develop on a personal level and professional level and that I’ll succeed in enabling growth in those around me as well.