arrow-right angle-down-sx angle-down-dx menu-hamburger search YouTube Facebook Twitter Instagram LinkedIn Flickr Scribd Info Tooltip

People Stories

Simone Dias

"I know the value of diversity."

Simone Dias, product development engineer at Prysmian Group Brazil: "It is necessary to respect differences and accept them without preconceptions."

Olá eu me chamo Simone Dias. Meet Simone Diaz, Brazilian woman of colour, and electrical engineer. Product development engineer at Prysmian Group Brazil, she is responsible for cables for ESP (Electrical Submersible Pump) systems in Latin America. She coordinates the R&D team. "A challenge," she says in her office at the Sorocaba plant in Brazil, an hour and a half to the west of Sao Paolo. "It is not so common to find a woman working in a technical area," she points out — and perhaps even less common to find a a woman heading up a team of engineers in such a crucial department as Research & Development.

The value of diversity

"At first, the word 'diversity' may seem uncomfortable. But it is a fundamental value for respecting differences and accepting them, with an open mind, without preconceptions," Simone points out. It is a recipe for building stronger, more resilient and more innovative organisations and societies.

"I believe that the idea of diversity has always been present in my life. Sometimes due to the colour of my skin, sometimes due to my job: it has always been there. I noticed it particularly a few years ago: I was the only black person on my engineering course. But I like to speak about this today, to inspire other people," she says.

Gender equality

"If I could change something in my job, I would like to see more women employed in technical areas, like in R&D or production," the engineer reflects, and adds: "Gender equality means accepting that men and women can do the same job. This requires promoting meritocracy, based solely on skills and capabilities."

Paola Visingardi

Diversity as an approach

Paola Visingardi works in Prysmian’s plant at Arco Felice, in the Italian town of Pozzuoli, near Naples: she is a Health Safety & Environment manager. "Being the only woman in a technical department is now a normal thing for me. It is not a problem," she says, looking back on her story.

A difficult period

Yet, it has not always been so easy, as she herself recalls: "I spent a really difficult period when I had my first child: I was trying to work and be part of the Group." Evolution is a matter of attitude, starting with an appreciation of what is a minority, different.

Prysmian is changing

“Prysmian is changing," Paola observes. "When I go into the company HQ, I now see many women and I am happy about this. In the plant where I work, I am the only woman amongst the senior technical staff, but I am not the only one. So I am in full agreement with this approach. Not only regarding gender. I agree we should be opening up to other cultures and different ages."

Submarine cables

The Prysmian plant in Arco Felice is one of the production hubs for submarine cables. Here, they make all the cables for the Viking Link project, which the company has been working on since it was awarded the contract in 2019. It is the first interconnection between the power grids of the UK and Denmark: 630 km of direct current power transmission cables beneath the North Sea, from Bicker Fen (Lincolnshire), on the English coast, to the Danish conversion station in Revsing (Southern Jutland).

Infrastructures are like bridges between different worlds, a concept that obviously also applies to the way things are seen within a global group like Prysmian. Paola Visingardi has no doubt: "Diversity underpins my approach to life. I always want to be myself, I want to keep my identity. This is what I am trying to teach my children: it is fine to be part of a group, but think with your own mind and do what you think is right for you. For me, diversity is a positive factor."