It all started with a passion for change.
As early as 1792, British writer Mary Wollstonecraft penned A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. The 1850s saw Barbara Bodichon campaigning for legal rights for women in Britain. In the U.S., 15,000 women marched through the streets of New York City in 1908 demanding economic and political rights. Fast forward to 1910 at the International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen, where Clara Zetkin successfully proposed an international annual holiday focused on women’s fight for equality and to celebrate the accomplishments of women around the world.
Alina Kmiecik, product manager at Hexagon Geospatial, sums it up perfectly: “On International Women’s Day, we cannot forget the multiple roles we play every day. We are a colleague, friend, boss, fellow, leader, reviewer, mum, wife – all in one.”
Today, we celebrate some of the dynamic women within our organization, individuals who are passionate about change and have made countless contributions at Hexagon.
Karen Bachmeyer, Technical Director, Hexagon Safety & Infrastructure
Karen Bachmeyer joined Intergraph in 1986 as a software developer and quickly moved into development management, where she’s been leading software development teams and project implementations ever since. “When I was working as an industrial engineer, I really developed a knack for taking a big picture and breaking it down into specific pieces and steps,” says Bachmeyer. “And while my career field and knowledge base might have changed, this is still an important skill that I use to manage the creation and delivery of software products to customers.”
During her tenure, Bachmeyer worked on a number of products and projects in the utilities and communications space. But for her, seeing the technological evolution of Hexagon’s customers and the creation of solutions that address their biggest challenges has been the most rewarding.
When asked about how the roles of women in technology have evolved during her career, Bachmeyer simply states that they haven’t. But this sentiment is not intended to be critical of an industry dominated by men. In fact, Bachmeyer’s views are the opposite. She says during her time at Hexagon, women have always played strong and critical roles in product and project management, as well as software development.
As for any advice to young women considering or entering the computer science field, Bachmeyer adds, “Don’t be afraid to ask questions. And don’t be afraid to answer questions or make suggestions when you see opportunities for solutions or improvements. Even if you’re not 100 percent sure you’re right, you shouldn’t be afraid to fail. Own your mistakes, learn from them and move on.”
Alina Kmiecik, Product Manager, Hexagon Geospatial
Alina Kmiecik, Smart M.App product manager and chief product owner of Geospatial Server, joined Hexagon as part of Intergraph Poland in 2007. Kmiecik has taught computer science, served on standards committees and worked on projects and pre-sales as a software analyst, solution architect and as the technical leader of EMEA SDI Competence Center.
Throughout her diverse career, Kmiecik has been part of many successful projects that are making a difference for customers and the geospatial industry.
She’s excited about the recent release of the Smart M.App’s cloud-based GIS. “I’m curious to see what happens when people turn their ideas into reality by configuring Smart M.Apps,” she says. “It might be one of the most exciting journeys in the GIS world, which changes the game forever.”
On any given day, Kmiecik has a packed schedule of verifying backlogs, contacting stakeholders, performing quality checks on software and overseeing paperwork for each new release, but still has time to offer advice to the next generation of analysts and product managers. “Always give 100 percent of your heart to the project or do not sign up for it; this is true for both private and professional life. Believe in genius or luck, but remember that it gives only 10 percent of success; the remainder is the hard work. Also, do not be a judge of your own ideas. Express them loudly and let others judge. You have to believe and trust people.”
Joyce Lee, Planning & Logistics Director, Leica Geosystems
Joyce Lee has proven that mind over matter leads to success. After years with Leica Geosystems in Singapore, Lee suffered from a debilitating health issue that led her to take an extended leave of absence from the company. Upon her return, she successfully set up Leica Geosystems’ Distribution Centre in Singapore, a massive facility that coordinates with all of Asia. Lee says it was a tough undertaking, but she was determined to make it work.
Determination has been a key driving force in her career. She steadily climbed the Leica Geosystems ranks, starting out as a procurement engineer when the company was still named Leica Instruments Singapore. After impressive work with the company for more than two decades, she recently was promoted to Planning and Logistics Director.
“I find it essential in my job to build strong relationships with all the suppliers to ensure their commitment in fulfilling our requirements,” she says.
When asked to give advice for women looking to break into the tech industry, she gently replies, “It is important to be hard working, have determination and possess a positive attitude towards learning. When you are on the job, one should never stop the learning process – it will ultimately lead to greater success.”
Anna Maria Izzi, Product Manager sCMM Product Line, Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence
A 31-year veteran of Hexagon with a degree in electronic engineering, Anna Maria Izzi has spent most of her professional life in product management, contributing to efforts to provide the market best-in-class stationary measuring systems, from the first horizontal measuring arms to a series of bridge CMMs. She remembers the GLOBAL CMM line launched in 2000 and still performing successfully in the market today, as well as the more recent TIGO SF and GLOBAL EVO.
But her best experience was back in the early 1990s when she was part of a small group that developed and launched an innovative automatic fixturing system. “Its name was Five, an acronym for Final Verification, but most people thought it was because of the development group was made up of five people.”
Izzi says the stationary CMMs arena is a tough market. The competition is becoming more and more aggressive and the challenge is to keep/increase market share while staying competitive. “We are trying to restructure our offering to focus more on customer needs and to create solutions aligned with industry trends,” she says. “This will be not an easy transition and it will require a lot of energy, but the change will also be very exciting!”
Although strides have been made for women in engineering, Izzi says it’s still difficult for women to carve out a technical career. “I can’t say women are discriminated against, it’s more a mentality factor. It’s slowly changing, but it will still take quite some time. I recently met a young woman engineer just hired from Q-DAS. She reminded me of me at her age, full of enthusiasm, determined and with her entire life in front of her. I told her that if she really wants to succeed, she will have to prove to be at least twice better than a male colleague. It may seem hard, but it can be done!”
As made clear by these accomplished women, passionate innovation is the driving force behind female empowerment, a force that will inspire generations of innovators to come- now that’s shaping smart change.
Digital Marketing Specialist
Contributing Authors: We thank Kate Bailey, Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence, Geraldine Santos, Leica Geosystems, Jay Pongonis, Hexagon Geospatial, and Justin Dinger, Hexagon Safety & Infrastructure, for their contributions to this post.