14 March 2024

Empowering Diversity in a Male-Dominated Field: Karen's Story

In a world where the impact of women in various industries continues to grow, the water industry is no exception. From water treatment engineers to risk assessors, women are making significant contributions and shaping the future of the industry. Today, we interview one such trailblazer, Karen Fuller, who shares her experiences, motivations, and aspirations within the water engineering sector.

Karen’s Background

Karen, a BA (Hons) Tourism Management and CIPD Level 5 graduate, is an industry professional with a passion for global travel and the environment. Her career has spanned across various sectors, but it was her desire to make a difference that led her to join SMS Environmental, a renowned water engineering company.

I have been lucky in my career to manage large teams, champion employer branding, training many people to ensure success in their roles and getting the true story of the amazing people that work for companies out there. This is why I love being here at SMS Environmental.

Journey in the Water Industry

Since joining SMS Environmental in April 2023, Karen has had the opportunity to work alongside exceptional individuals and a supportive leadership team. Her role as a leader in talent acquisition and talent development enables her to champion the company's philosophy of hiring top talent, promoting career growth of our amazing people, and enhancing the industry's capabilities. Through her work, Karen aims to highlight the incredible stories and expertise of professionals in the water industry.

Motivation for Joining the Water Industry

When asked about her interest in water engineering, Karen expressed her passion for working in industries that make a difference. From pharmaceuticals to biotechnology and telecommunication, her previous experiences allowed her to realise the importance of working for a company that positively impacts the world. Joining SMS Environmental was a natural choice as she recognized the opportunity to contribute to water safety and build and develop a strong team committed to public protection.

Experience and Challenges

As a woman working in the water industry, Karen has found immense support and no hurdles that hindered her progress. Within SMS Environmental, where 23% of the female employees are women (above the industry average of 20%), she feels fortunate to collaborate with other inspiring women in the business.

I am pleased to say I have never encountered any challenges about being a female in my job role or this industry that has held me back.

Inspiration and Influence

When it comes to influential women, Karen draws inspiration from her own family. Her grandmother, who worked as a code breaker during World War II, taught her the value of resilience and maintaining a positive mindset. Her mother, a general practitioner, inspired her with her life-saving decisions, instilling in her a sense of kindness, determination, and empathy.

Enhancing Women's Contribution to the Water Industry

In order to enhance women's contribution to the water industry, Karen emphasises the importance of an open and inclusive approach to talent acquisition and development. By creating equal opportunities for all, regardless of background or gender, companies can empower women to excel in their careers. This approach, she believes, is crucial for the continued growth and success of the industry.

Advice for Girls Considering STEM Careers

Reflecting on her own journey, Karen wishes she had known about the career opportunities available within STEM fields earlier in life. Her advice to young girls aspiring for STEM or engineering careers is to explore and embrace the limitless possibilities within these fields. Working in STEM can provide the chance to make a positive impact on the world, work with inspiring individuals, and enjoy a fulfilling career.

The water industry stands stronger and more diverse than ever before, with remarkable women like Karen leading the way. Through their expertise, dedication, and commitment to making a difference, they are inspiring inclusion and shaping the future of the industry. As we celebrate International Women's Day, let us recognise and support the women who continue to drive excellence and innovation in the water industry.

If I was to go back in time and speak to myself at secondary school, I wish I had known about the wonderful career opportunities that you can have within STEM roles. No one talked to me about water engineering, and I only realised this career path existed later in life. Working in STEM can provide a career where you make a difference to the world, you can work with amazing people who can offer you career development and you can have a really fun career where you work with people who make you laugh, you have joy with and can enjoy your day. Why would my 16 year old self not have listened to that?


Related Content

Get in touch

Need to make an enquiry? Just use our quick form and we'll come back to you as soon as we possibly can.

Please allow up to 48 hours for a reply. If your enquiry is urgent please call us.

Having a hard time keeping track of your compliance?
Find peace of mind with Opuz Compliance Software
Opuz environmental risk and compliance management software