Kristien Loontjens, originally from Belgium and mother of 2 daughters, moved to China 20 years ago to take on the role of Business Unit Manager of Actemium Shanghai. As a Business Unit Manager, she takes on responsibilities like leading her team to reach their yearly objectives.
Kristien highlights what it’s like to be a woman in industry.
What made you decide to pursue this field? How did you decide?
KL: The Belgian company, Ensysta, was searching for a general manager to set up a branch in China. I was looking for a new challenge, to start something from scratch, and I knew that this opportunity would allow me to grow and learn along the way.
What is the best part about being a woman in industry?
KL: The best part is that I get applauded for taking on such a role in a male-dominated field, especially in a foreign country! Indeed, there are not many women in industry, but I think this fact is evolving every day, and I am happy to see that I am part of that change.
What are your biggest accomplishments?
KL: Taking on the job as general manager at Actemium Shanghai (previously Ensysta) 20 years ago and making it profitable within 2 years. I am also proud to say my team and I successfully turned around the company after a bad project back in 2013.
Have you experienced any obstacles in this line of work? And how did you overcome them?
KL: To be honest, I have not experienced many obstacles, people in China trust that you know your role and what is expected of you. Otherwise, I would not be in this position.
Any advice you want to give to women considering a career in industry?
KL: If you love a challenge, want to be recognized and be surrounded by engineers then go for it! There are lots of roles in industry, you do not necessarily have to be an engineer. I’ve dedicated 20 years to this field, so I would say it’s been very fulfilling.