Karla Jaramillo Vicente was born and raised in Ecuador before she moved to Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and finally Munich, Germany. The chemical engineer is now working fulltime as a production manager for Fazua and ensures that all evation drive systems are manufactured in time and quality “Made in Germany”.
So Karla, how long have you been with Fazua and how did you get to know about this company?
As of February 2018 I have been here for one year and three months. I first learned about Fazua on LinkedIN, when I decided to move to Munich and pursue a more vibrant life in a bigger city.
Now here you are, working as a production manager. What previous career experience is your background?
In the Netherlands I was working as a process engineer, so I was developing new products in the medical sector. Before that I studied both in Spain as well as in Italy.
In Germany women in leading tech-roles are usually considered rare. Does that make you feel like an outsider?
So far absolutely no, I am equally treated, gender is never a topic around here and honestly I do not feel like a woman doing a job, but simply me doing my job as an engineer. Working at Fazua is about completing a task and for that taking the right or wrong decision, not whether I am female or not. As a professional, the quality of my work must be way more important than my gender. Working in an environment of mostly male colleagues is very funny, actually, I feel very comfortable here. It is about helping the company achieve its goals and fulfilling your task. No one would stop me from picking up something heavy because I am a woman.
The production will have a lot of new space once the company moves to Ottobrunn.
Yes and I am very much looking forward to it! It is very satisfying, because we will increase the production significantly, and have to take future in consideration – now in a very big building. What an exciting challenge. The operators themselves also are involved in designing new processes there so I do not just write down new rules for the production and they have to comply. We will tackle this challenge as a team.
I noticed you are learning German.
Yes I am und es ist nicht wirklich leicht! I try to learn every language of the country I live in. Also, many operators we have in our production team mainly speak German and we need to be able to communicate very well. Especially when it comes to discussions about materials, pieces of our compact drive systems. The tasks themselves in the production are not that difficult, but there is always a little gap when we speak English, so I am trying to learn German the best I can.
But you know what is easy?
Not sure what you mean? (laughs)
Driving one of your E-Bikes! Before our interview we took a bike for a spin and it was a marvelous experience. It was very soft and easy, there was no annoying sound and the handling was very intuitive.
Thank you, that is a sweet compliment!
What do you like most about your work at Fazua?
That it is completely different from my background since I am a chemical engineer. Here I manage the production and a so far small group of people, which will keep growing. Anyone interested in starting to work in operations with us, please visit the website!
When I started at Fazua, the main challenge was that the production had to be designed from scratch. So when I arrived there were many people with a lot of ideas and we had to build all of it into a functioning process that can be adapted to future production loads. Everything people had thought of and what was needed to create a stable production process – we had to make it work. Seeing how well it works now makes us feel proud and satisfied.
Normally the conception is that after college you get a job and you do what you were hired to. At certain points you may feel like a machine. In a company like Fazua you have a whole different kind of responsibility, you create smart alternatives to how big companies run their show, you are constantly developing something and being proactive.
How did the company change over the past year?
When I joined we were ten people here. The company has now become a very international and enriching environment. It’s a very creative company. Everyone comes from a different background, which is perfect for me, as I do have a very international mindset. The more different you are, the more you have to offer to your team. The contrary would be scary for me.
What would you personally be looking for in applicants for Fazua?
As a person have to be outgoing and – more importantly – to be constantly challenging yourself: Take a decision on topics that might be new for you. It may be wrong, but then you learn something for the future. Your team will not point at you and talk behind your back, we all stick together and learn from mistakes. Here we try to learn from and listen to each other.
Interview and text by Bettina Riedel.