Rhonda Doyle, Director of Operations, Services & Projects, Schneider Electric, Ireland

10th May 2021

This week Rhonda Doyle, Director of Operations, Services and Projects at Schneider Electric, Ireland and WMB Diversity Ambassador tells us that when opportunity knocks ‘Take it, own it, be transparent and get input from key stakeholders’.

Please describe your role at Schneider Electric in Ireland.

I’m part of the Ireland management team developing our overarching growth strategy in critical industries like data centres and networks, manufacturing, and renewable energy. I oversee the project teams delivering multi-discipline projects, and I’m directly responsible for developing and maintaining field services and customer support across Ireland.

Can you put into context the size and scope of Schneider Electric for our readers?

Schneider (SE) is a multinational company focused on driving sustainability and energy efficiency through digital transformation. We work with customers and partners to integrate energy efficiency technology and processes, real-time automation, software and services for homes buildings, data centres, infrastructure and industries. We have operations in over 100 countries and employ 137,000+ people.

As a WMB Magazine Diversity Ambassador, how important is it to have role models?

Self-belief and the ability to learn from others is crucial for career development.

I’ve been lucky to have positive experiences working with several different types of leaders, all great in their own authentic way, which helped me see that I could progress while staying true to myself.

Research reveals that the crisis has affected women disproportionately – How necessary is it to focus on inequality in recovery and resilience plans?

Governments and companies must find ways to ensure that female talent is not lost due to the pandemic.  We know that some women’s careers may be impacted due to them taking on a greater share of childcare or home-schooling responsibilities, for example, and others may have left the workforce altogether. As a working mother of two, flexibility is so important to me. Thankfully, we have several policies to support at SE, including a Global Family Leave Policy open to all employees.

What kind of initiatives at Schneider Electric help attract and/or retain employees?

At SE, we have long been committed to ensuring our organisation is a diverse, inclusive and supportive place to work, which draws people to us and unlocks more creativity and innovation. We have several initiatives to attract and retain people from diverse backgrounds.

My team and I are very engaged in partnering with Universities and organisations like Solas to support placements for graduates, interns and apprentices. We also invest in early-stage career recruitment and seek to hire from places we may not have looked before, assessing a candidate for their potential as well as their existing skills.

To thrive in a rapidly evolving workplace, the ability to be flexible is important. What are other attributes necessary for companies and their employees to survive and succeed?

Covid has been a lesson in how quickly things can change. Having a solution- and growth-orientated mindset is essential. As we emerge from the crisis, companies and individuals need to stay flexible, adaptable and open to continuous learning in this ever-changing world.

Given the shortage of women in STEM, what more can be done to increase the female talent pipeline?

It starts with building a pipeline of talent coming through schools, apprenticeships and colleges. We need to encourage women and raise awareness of the opportunities available through targeted messaging – this has been successful in one of the universities we partner with. Similarly, it’s important to proactively engage with recruitment agencies and be clear about your requirements to drive more diversity.

How can we eliminate the pay gap, which currently stands at 14.4% in Ireland?

I am proud that Schneider Electric has been included for the third year in The Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index (GEI), which tracks public companies’ performance on their gender equality commitments through policy development representation and transparency.

Only by taking steps to spotlight the change that’s needed can you make it possible to progress.

With the evolution of hybrid working, what advice would you give to employees when it comes to getting noticed?

If anything, it’s even more critical to engage and bring value to the meetings you attend when working remotely by actively engaging, listening, learning and contributing. Prepare the key messages you want to communicate and think about what you want to get out of your time with colleagues. Email can still be helpful to send brief progress reports or update on project successes and milestones that increase your visibility.

And, if you get an opportunity to take the lead on something? Take it, own it, be transparent and get input from key stakeholders.

Can you share one important lesson/observation/mantra that will inspire others?

I was once given a great piece of advice that has stayed with me ever since:

“Create the environment you need for success”.

Many women try to do it all instead of asking for what they need both at work and home and implementing suitable support structures to succeed. Now when I am in a situation, I start by asking myself what I need to create a successful environment.