Women in Industry presents Helena dos Santos


Helena dos Santos, Director of VINCI Energies Portugal, in charge of 3 Business Units; Electrical Switchboard Solutions (ESS), Actemium Portugal and Security Engineering Solutions (SES) shares her journey as a woman in industry.

She studied electrotechnical engineering at the Engineering University of Lisbon, Portugal in 1980. In March 1981, she interned in the High Voltage department and then worked her way up to management, responsible for the maintenance and high voltage areas, later on, adding manufacturing in her perimeter. In 2012, Helena became responsible for Actemium Portugal amongst others.

  • 1. What made you decide to pursue this field?

    It naturally happened. It was more of an acceptance of tasks that were compatible with my perimeter. It was necessary to have a director for Actemium Portugal, and I was chosen.

  • 2. How does it feel to be a woman working in industry? Any challenges?

    I’ve never had issues being a woman in a man’s world. I kept that same mentality since my college days and it has lasted to this day.
    People are more obliged to be polite and friendly which facilitates the interaction.

  • 3. Have you experienced any obstacles in this line of work? And how did you overcome them?

    Yes, but fortunately they are just minor situations, like informal conversations that happen after meetings. For example, when they discuss sports, I cannot relate since I am not interested. And how do I overcome this? I have my days where I just get over it, and some days are harder… like any human being.

  • 4. Any advice you want to give to women considering a career in industry?

    Go for it! There’s nothing a woman can’t do!

For more information, please contact Helena dos Santos.