Celebrating International Women’s Day: an interview with Eva Virtute

Celebrating International Women’s Day: an interview with Eva Virtute

We are proud to celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March as a special opportunity to shine the spotlight on women working in the materials handling industry, highlighting unique experiences and expertise, and what led them on this career path.

Today we share with you the story of Eva Virtute, Advocacy & Product Sustainability Director at KION GROUP AG, as well as an active expert in FEM, highlighting her key role and motivation in shaping our industry!

What does your role involve and what are your responsibilities?
As the Advocacy & Product Sustainability Director, my key areas are product sustainability and digitalisation. In my role, I steer and guide the product sustainability department, aiming at calculating the impact of our products in the environment and to identify possible hotspots and countermeasures. I also coordinate our internal community on digitalisation, contributing to build up knowledge and positions across the brands. Lastly, I represent the Group before governing bodies and in different sector associations, like FEM or Orgalim.

What initially interested you, and led you to this industry?
The great potential and ability to innovate. Materials handling products are crucial for several activities and sectors, completely different between them, like construction or handling and logistics. By being part of this family you are like a cinematographic director, supporting the development of new scenes, while observing the world changing and moving.

Do you have any advice for other women who may not have considered this sector as a possible opportunity for them?
This industry has a lot to offer and a big variety of application. It’s very innovative and the dynamicity and the exchange is a matter of fact. It’s not only pieces of metal to assemble, but it’s passion and courage to evolve. You can deal with defining competitiveness strategy, new business models as well as with designing automated machinery, or researching new sustainable materials. Despite your background (engineering, mathematics, law, marketing and so on), you may find several fields of expertise where you can contribute on one side and learn on the other.

Do you have any insights into what could be done to encourage more women into this sector?
Equal opportunities are still a challenge in mechanical industry, even if the situation is changing. For example, in KION, we have concrete programs to promote equal opportunities and develop female talent, including in leadership positions. We also launched an initiative to promote female Service Engineers in our network at KION ITS EMEA.  Nevertheless, the diminish of the gender gap and the support of work-life balance conditions could make the difference in getting more women on board. And to the women who read this interview, I would like to encourage them. For sure, you will find obstacles, but believe in yourself and never back down!

What do you as a woman bring to this sector?
I like thinking that I bring my perspective, with my feeling and experience, contributing to develop different points of view and constructive exchanges. I believe diversity can only enrich persons and business.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself still in a managerial role, with some important milestones achieved but always looking ahead to the future and ready for the next challenge. In my private life, I see myself travelling and discovering new pieces of the world and meeting new friends.