Schneider Electrics Alicja Reaney discusses women in leadership

Schneider Electric's Alicja Reaney discusses women in leadership

 March 08, 2021

Alicja Reaney, Talent and Global HR Programs Leader for Secure Power at Schneider Electric, takes the opportunity of International Women’s Day to reflect on the topic of Women in Leadership.

Working abroad in multiple locations

My name is Alicja Reaney and I am Talent and Global HR Programs Leader for Secure Power Division based in Galway, Ireland. I was born and educated in Poland. During my study for master’s degree I had an opportunity to participate in the exchange programme with the National University of Ireland in Galway. This experience was in fact one of the turning points in my life and in my career and lead to multiple travels and working abroad in exotic locations such as Central Asia.

Holding several leadership roles

I joined Schneider Electric (APC at the time) in 2000 in Galway and my first role was as HR Manager for Central and Eastern Europe.  Part of the challenge, as well as the adventure, of this role was to be based in Paris in the APC Headquarters. I enjoyed this time tremendously as I had a chance to work with and observe company leaders daily.   

Over the years with the Schneider family I have held several senior regional HRBP roles and got to know and support our teams across the globe. I moved to my current as Talent and HR programs Leader for SP Division just over a year ago. 

Enjoying cultural experiences

On a personal level, I am a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter and a friend to many both locally and abroad. I enjoy cultural experiences through travel, cinema and theatre, walking, as well as spending time with my family. I am also a passionate reader who set up a local book club four years ago.

A focus on diversity, equity and inclusion

I am delighted to work for a company who has a compelling mission and people vision – focusing on embracing diversity, equity and inclusion. I was delighted to see the rollout of HeForShe campaign in Schneider Electric a few years back. As part of the HR team I have been proud to contribute to stronger participation of women in management roles and in the workforce overall.

Shaping the future of Schneider Electric

One of the things I really enjoy about my job is the fact that I have an opportunity to shape the future of our company by helping identify and develop talents, both male and female, who will be the leaders of tomorrow. 

In my role I meet new people and extend my network allowing me to learn from others on a regular basis. I love the fact that I interact with people from a multitude of cultures, backgrounds and generations. I have been very privileged to have great managers in the past and present who gave me many opportunities to advance my career.

Inspiring role models

Looking back at my life overall, I have had many inspiring individuals that I looked up to. Some of them were close family female relatives, who despite challenging upbringing and environment achieved great personal and professional success. Seeing them enjoying and growing in their jobs, which would have been traditionally male oriented, made me certain that once you set your mind on something and put the required work you can do it. Another person who influenced my life was my first English language teacher (female) who opened my eyes to the world outside of Poland and showed me that taking interest in something and pursuing it can bring success.  

Opportunities for career advancement 

In my first corporate job I was very fortunate to come across a senior executive who became my mentor. Thanks to him my career path developed into HR roles and led me to opportunities to travel and work abroad with Coca-Cola. At the time I was what we call now ‘early career talent’ and did not have a clear vision of what I wanted to do in the future. From then on, I have been building my knowledge and expertise in the HR field. 

My experience in Schneider as a female professional has been extremely positive. Since day one, I have had many opportunities for career advancement. I was able to successfully combine motherhood with my career and have had both the flexibility and support when I needed it for family health events.

My words of encouragement for female leaders is be passionate about your work, empower and take care of your team, listen with empathy. Above all, believe in yourself and reach for the stars! 

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