Penda introduces you to Patricia Solioz, whose talent is remarkable. She is part of the SIG executive committee with 400 people under her responsibility.
There is a clear under-representation of women in management and Patricia, who’s my best friend’s sister, is an exception. In fact, she – along with Finance Director Céline Gauderlot – is one of only two women on the SIG executive committee, to which she had access before the age of 40. To me, she is a model of leadership, known for her professional and personal integrity. In a nutshell, Patricia is among the talented professionals for whom I have a lot of respect.
More specifically, Patricia has evolved with SIG, where she serves as Executive Director Smart City at SIG. She works for the development of a sustainable and connected society in Geneva. She’s currently in charge of planning for energy efficiency improvement and coordinating urban projects. She’s responsible for bringing together the necessary means to ensure that SIG, which is active in the energy transition, emerges as an innovative, forward-looking company.
Young Women Should Step Out of Their Comfort Zone
#1. What is the best moment you can remember in your career?
It’s tough choosing just one! Perhaps the time I was asked to set up an asset management unit and manage 20 engineers – all men – even though I had no background in engineering myself. I was at least 20 years younger than the rest of my team. The manager who appointed me had more confidence in me than I did in myself. We achieved some great things, and I think my team appreciated having a new style of management based on trust, which complemented their own skill sets.
#2. If you had to give just one piece of advice to a junior starting his/her career, what would it be?
I would say it’s important – particularly for young women – to step out of your comfort zone and have faith in yourself. There’s not been a single job offer I’ve accepted when I haven’t had a moment of panic. And yet, every time, I came to the realisation that, not only was I capable of doing it, but I could do it differently to the men who came before me. The key thing is wanting to learn – from other fields, other people and your own mistakes.
#3. Do you have a Motto/Lucky charm?
My mottoes change depending on what I’m doing and where I find myself at a given time. My current favourite comes from Victor Hugo: “Everything that increases freedom also increases responsibility”. I like this idea that rights and responsibilities complement and mirror one another.
#4. What do you enjoy the most in your day to day job?
When I have an hour to myself to think about something in detail. And having a coffee (or drink) with my teams, of course!
#5. If you had to do it again would you choose the same career path?
I feel as though I didn’t really choose my career – it chose me. I’ve seized the opportunities that came my way and have never regretted it.
#6. Where is your favourite place on earth and why?
Switzerland. My family and friends are here, and we are lucky to live in a country with a system of direct democracy (although I could do with a bit more sun and sea!).
#7. How could you qualify your relationship with Ampersand World?
Special and inspiring. I greatly admire people who have the courage to set up their own business, and Penda is one of those.