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Celebrating our Engineering Hero - Sam Ashton #INWED2021

Updated: Aug 2, 2021

Packaging Automation welcomes applications from all but we are particularly keen to encourage women to consider a career in engineering. Often perceived as a male dominated role, we took time recently to interview Sam Ashton, Commercial Director at Packaging Automation about her experiences.

What or who inspired you to embark on a career in engineering?

As a family business I have been around engineering from an early age so I guess you could say it is in my blood! I always took an interest in family work discussions and subsequently became interested in a career in engineering which led me to study Mechanical Engineering.

What are some of the highlights or your career to date?

I started my career in engineering with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from University of Birmingham and my first role after graduating was in aerospace and then I moved into corporate finance, buying and selling family businesses which really helped me understand business structures especially now in my role as Commercial Director at PA.

Are there particular challenges for women in engineering?

I have to say I have never been treated any differently to my male colleagues and whilst women were in the minority on my degree course, that was in the early 1990s and I’m pleased to say that things have moved on quite substantially since then.

As a female leader it's natural to have self-doubts but it is important not to underestimate one’s abilities and to focus on the positives, not to be dragged down by imposter syndrome.

Over the years I have developed resilience and have had to make some tough decisions which are not always easy to do but having confidence in my abilities and rationale for my decision making makes it easier.

How difficult is it be a mum and have a successful career?

This is one of life’s biggest challenges. I have twin teenage daughters who are at a pivotal stage in their life, but I hope that I am and believe that I am a positive role model for them. Balancing work and home life isn’t easy, but we involve our daughters in our business discussions to help them understand the challenges we face. It is great that they take such an active interest in our family business.

Any words of advice for other women.

Yes, never give up – it is our family moto!

Remember ladies, have self-belief, you can do it, when you put your mind to it. It may not be easy but believe in yourself and give it a go!

If you would like to find out more about starting a career with Packaging Automation, please contact Dorothy Wainscott HR Manager on 01565 755000.


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