engineer, make 15 years he founded the consulting firm DINKA, where he leads an interdisciplinary team of 10 women. “We are empathic, but we combine it with hard skills”, it defines. And it says that the smallest SMEs were the most affected by the pandemic.
Sandra Felsenstein is an Industrial Engineer and has a postgraduate degree in Strategic Marketing. Worked in industrial plants and in process reengineering. He also worked in a finance company, doing analysis of investment portfolios for foreign companies. On 2005, with 29 years, decided to set up his own consultancy, DINKA, oriented to SMEs and made up of an interdisciplinary team of 10 professional women.
He says that some big company names stand out in his client portfolio, but what 90% they are SMEs and entrepreneurs. "They are people who are very used to getting ahead and fighting it; the Argentine businessman is not usually in favorable contexts nor does he have policies that usually accompany him. In this sense we have a great challenge, but the good thing is that the entrepreneur precisely because of these shortcomings developed the capacity for creativity and innovation to get ahead” describes Felsenstein, who was also a speaker at events organized by the Argentine chapter of Voces Vitales, the NGO founded by Hilary Clinton with the aim of identifying and training women for leadership positions.
What did the pandemic reveal for SMEs?
The pandemic accelerated a process that was going to take place perhaps in 5 years. Companies that are more familiar with innovation or those that have already been working on their digital transformation suffered much less from the effects of the pandemic. The pandemic revealed where we are going and destroyed archaic preconceptions such as control by tasks or pre-specialty. It was evident that from the consultancy we always teach, which is that financial problems are not solved with money but with innovation.
What other consequences were there??
The pandemic also accelerated the need for efficiency in terms of processes and in using technological tools that help make better use of time or work better remotely..
Did everyone make use of those tools??
The smallest SMEs, with less back, are those that, along with the productive (that require face-to-face work), were more affected. The largest were able to better navigate the situation and those that belong to the most technological category or linked to essential activities, they grew. Many of the more traditional ones went bankrupt and therefore the market share of others increased and they gained in billing.. But it was because they got in the way.
How do you rate women in consulting?
Consulting is a world of men. I think that earning the right of flat is more difficult being women. Everything costs twice as much because you have to break down preconceptions of society. I believe that it is more difficult for women to sell ourselves. Even the least educated man dares to go to market before a. I felt the challenge of being a woman in settings appropriate for men, both in the consultancy and in the engineering career. Due to DINKA’s intervention, after so many years of work, we have a portfolio of clients that supports us, but at first I felt that my word was underestimated for being a woman. Being a woman is a barrier to entry.
I happened to be asked, how i thought i could handle, being a woman, a sales team. Skills are not given by gender but by training and experience in the field. Before starting with the consultancy, I managed teams of men in the plant, and she was the only woman. From the Faculty I have a list of tremendous anecdotes, that involved even having to think about how to dress. When I started the consultancy I was already seasoned and I think that also served as a letter of introduction. I am very persevering and never doubted the added value of our proposal. Today I trust a lot not only in my abilities, but also in those of the whole team.
Is there a lack of women in the hard sciences?
It is true that there is a lack of women studying hard careers, they generally choose softer careers and I think this responds to how socially we are pigeonholed men and women, when in childhood they raise us giving us dolls to the girls and building blocks to the boys. However, I believe that there are abilities that are born more naturally to women than to men., like empathy. But that in no way implies a lack of skills to work with harder skills.. In consulting, empathy is a fundamental tool, but it is combined with other hard skills, as dashboards, processes, indicators. That combination is our true added value.
There is also a lack of women in leadership positions
The rate of women in leadership positions in SMEs is very low, what are the ones that drive the market. I think there's something we're not realizing. I believe that if we could encourage more and more women to reach leadership positions, or enter tougher races, it would be a benefit for all. The man is more risky and it is something that we women have to learn.
We are so perfectionist that in this search for perfection we are losing ground, only for lack of confidence. A man who presents a project speaks of it as a mega business and the woman as something smaller, even though both are the same. Another reality is that household chores are not equitable and women end up occupying various roles simultaneously., so professional development becomes more uphill; It is more complicated if the responsibility for caring for the children and the home falls on us alone.. For all this, there are more women entrepreneurs than owners of SMEs; it costs us more to make that jump. Contrary to what was expected and desired, the pandemic, Regarding the division of tasks, caused the gap between men and women to grow. Although some men began to do some housework that they did not do before,, everything continues to fall more on women.
What immediate benefits would there be with more women in leadership positions?
First, for his capacity for empathy, a fundamental tool to have a motivated team. Women, usually, we are more orderly and detailed; two benefits of leading. and it's, of course, the formation. I am not in favor of hiring a woman if she does not have training in accordance with the needs of the position, but it is also true that women, by perfectionist, It is usually more educated and is trained in everything it deems necessary to continue growing.
Por Laura Andahazi Kasnya.