Meet Anna Keeling, Senior Vice President of Commercial at GKN Aerospace, London UK.
Born in Poland, Anna Keeling moved to Australia when she was five, and it was there where her curiosity as to how things worked was sparked. “My father was an engineer and as I was growing up, he would involve me in some of the projects he was working on. Family trips to the Royal Air Force museum inspired me to pursue aerospace engineering and I’ve never looked back.”
Anna has travelled extensively during her career, spending time in Asia, Switzerland, France and the US before moving to England in 2006. “I have always loved adventures. Through having a mobile life and career, I have gained wide experience of different people and cultures, and the way business is done around the world.”
For GKN diversity is key
This passion for diversity led Anna to join GKN in 2015. “For businesses, being diverse means more perspectives and more options, unlocking potential and sparking a new level of innovative thinking. I was attracted by GKN’s public commitment to diversity, as well as its ability to continuously evolve and innovate throughout its long history. I wanted to be a part of this legacy and more importantly play a key role in GKN’s long term sustainable future.” As Senior Vice President, Commercial, Anna is responsible for all GKN Aerospace’s commercial governance and ensuring an aligned commercial customer strategy across the business.
As the only female on the GKN Aerospace Executive Committee, Anna reveals her secret for succeeding in a male dominant industry, “My ultimate passion is engineering and gender is never my focus. I focus on what make us the same: our common aspirations for building skills and capabilities within our teams and organisation, of achieving great performance and finding a shared language through open communication. Throughout my career, I have had both male and female role models and I take inspiration from both.”
“Joining a large, dynamic organisation can be a challenge and strong networks and working relationships are important to successful integration. I’ve continued to invest time into building my networks not just within GKN Aerospace but across the broader GKN organisation and our customers, and ensure I have good working relationships with my team and peers.”
Encouraging women to pursue careers in Engineering
Anna is keen to see more females pursue engineering. “It’s a highly interesting and rewarding career choice. You acquire transferable skills such as problem solving in a very structured manner, which translates into more opportunities as your career evolves. Unlike some professions, it provides opportunity for you to work internationally too, if that’s of interest.”
Her advice to those interested? “There is no substitute for applying yourself in order to be successful. It’s a career in which you will continue to learn. Always stay curious, ask questions, and never be afraid to challenge the norm.”
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