WOMEN INSPIRING WOMEN
First position on the EPIC Awards 2018
CEO of ASTI
The “robotics and women” pairing is less and less surprising, says Verónica Pascual.
And she should know: she’s the CEO of ASTI, one of the most powerful robotics companies in Europe. “There are more and more women in different fields of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics),” says Pascual, who nevertheless cautions that there are still not enough of them.
That there be enough of them is one of the aims of the ASTI Talent &Technology Foundation, which is dedicated to promoting these kinds of skills among young people. They start with boys and girls of just four years of age, and also have an exclusive program for girls between 14 and 15, called STEM Talent Girl. To develop it they have had support from Telefónica Open Future, the Museum of Human Development, the Atapuerca Foundation and the Fundación Bancaria La Caixa. The mission is to educate, inspire and empower girls and adolescents, who are mentored by women through professional activities in the fields of science and technology. The mentors transmit to the girls their passion and organize workshops in programming, robotics and virtual reality, among other subjects.
“Education and work at early ages are vital,” she says. “Along with the influence of the context –society and family– they are essential for making the most of opportunities. Or, just the opposite, they can generate negative consequences. Today´s boys and girls want to take over the world, everything seems possible to them, and we’re they’re main limitation,” adds Pascual, who has been nominated for the EPIC Awards in the Women Inspiring Women category.
There are more and more women at ASTI Mobile Robotics. The firm easily surpasses the gender quotas in this type of career, but it does so “without any effort at positive discrimination.” They consider themselves promoters of talent. “We’re looking for the best talent, wherever it is, and gender and cultural diversity is a very enriching factor,” adds Pacual, who was a student in both the IE Executive Master in Positive Leadership & Strategy and the Advanced Management Program, both of which she considers “absolutely transformative.”
Her firm, ASTI, is dedicated to creating robotics solutions –driverless cars– for transporting merchandise inside manufacturing plants. “The world is changing at a great speed and production processes must be much more flexible”, says Verónica Pascual, who joined the company in 2003 and bought it in 2008. “Mobile robotics has a leading role in bringing forth this new industrial era. The truth is, this is an exciting time.”
One of her priorities is the wellbeing of the 210 people of eight nationalities who work at ASTI Tech Group. Although the work of many ASTI professionals requires them to spend a lot of time at the industrial plants of clients all over the world, Verónica tries to make sure that when they are in Spain they have flexible hours and can use teleworking. “Family life is very important for me, and as much as possible I support the team’s right to it. I think a balance in life is much healthier and enriching, and I want happy people on my team,” she says. A sample of this is her ASTI Talent Kid program: “The aim is for our children and nephews to benefit from working in a technological company, one that is very humanistic. We teach them emotional intelligence, mindfulness, programming practices,” she adds.
Over the course of her career, being a woman in surroundings that are predominantly masculine has created some situations that, seen from the perspective, she now calls “amusing. I choose to consider them positively. I think we all have mental models we should be aware of, and you can’t fight against labels. It’s better to dissolve them through our work and the results we yield.”