Schneider Electric North America channel strategy leader Estelle Schweizer challenges herself and others on gender bias and inequality


Schneider Electric leader Estelle Schweizer champions equality

Schneider Electric leader Estelle Schweizer champions equality

 March 16, 2021

Estelle Schweizer leads the channel strategy for Schneider Electric North America, specifically focusing on the company's partner programs for electrical consulting engineers, electrical contractors, and power equipment manufacturers. Throughout her time at Schneider Electric, she has held various marketing and strategy roles. After completing the Schneider Women Leader’s program, she now serves as a mentor.

She is also an active participant in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion groups and leads an initiative to help colleagues find wellness in the workplace through a twice-weekly virtual Yoga at Your Desk program. Her work-life balance looks like working from home, teaching yoga classes, and helping her two teenage daughters navigate their entry into adulthood.

Throughout her career, Estelle has challenged herself and others on gender bias and inequality. She shares how she is championing shifts in perspective.


Experiencing a change in perspective 

When Estelle completed a year-long women’s leadership program at Schneider Electric led by facilitators from the prestigious INSEAD school, it was a catalyst for change. It opened her eyes to just how prevalent gender bias and inequality still are, how to recognize it in the moment, and how to respond to and challenge it.

Since then, she challenges the status quo. Every day, she chooses to be aware, to be alert, and to call out gender bias and inequality when she sees or experience it.

Challenging self-limiting patterns and actions

Estelle continues to shifts her own perspective through learning and self-study. She works to notice her own self-limiting thought patterns and actions, "knowing that often those have been engrained in me because of pre-existing belief structures that I grew up with," she explains. 

She challenges herself not to apologize, to participate more, to speak up, to not take on tasks that are not her responsibility, to not use self-deprecating humor as a shield.

"I deserve to be confident in my skills and talents, which encompass but extend well beyond caretaking, organization, and empathy," she adds.

Yet, at the same time, she strives to be what Brené Brown calls 'whole-hearted': "to embrace the courage in vulnerability," explains Estelle. "Challenge makes you vulnerable. But it also makes you strong. Embrace challenge. Choose to challenge – yourself, others, the current norm, and the legacy it comes from."

Working for a company with equality at its core

Luckily, Estelle works for a company that shares her values and embeds them into the very core of its company culture. She cites examples such as Schneider Electric's New Ways of Working initiative which enables all employees, regardless of gender to find a better balance between life and work, breaking down gender stereotypes.

Estelle also celebrates Schneider Electric's commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and the core value that at Schneider Electric, employees “embrace different,” which has given her "the confidence that I can be the true version of myself at work, while also being there for my family and a role model for my two teenage girls."

Offering advice to women and allies

Estelle shares how women can challenge gender bias and inequality:

  • Journal about how you feel as a woman at your work. Do you feel valued? How does your experience as a woman differ from that of a man’s?
  • Think about what self-limiting beliefs do you have? For example, “I am not smart enough to get that job. I am not brave enough to speak up in a meeting.” And ask yourself how gender roles and beliefs might have influenced those beliefs.
  • List 3 small things you can do on a daily basis to help you combat those self-limiting beliefs.

And, for those who want to support women as an ally, Estelle shares ways to participate:

  • Ask your company what actions they are doing to reach gender balance and pay equity.
  • Join a women’s leadership group, inside or outside of your company, to continue to educate yourself, find allies and mentors in your network, and learn how to navigate gender obstacles.

Work alongside women like Estelle at Schneider Electric 

Women like Estelle are empowered by Schneider Electric to drive equality in the workplace and beyond. 

If you align with Estelle and Schneider Electric's values, search and apply for a job at the company.

 

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Disclosure: Where Women Work researches and publishes insightful evidence about how its paid member organizations support women's equality.

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