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In her People Story, Rianne talks about her career, her impression of Evonik as employer and her experiences as a woman in a male-dominated profession. "Believe in yourself!" - that's the message Rianne sends out to all women.

Tell us about your Evonik journey and your current position. 

We had to find an internship for our chemical process technology dual learning, where we worked in production for 15 weeks. In my case it was Evonik, at the methionine unit. My internship started at the end of 2018. The team I ended up with gave me a lot of opportunities. I was able to follow and try everything, in a safe way of course. They also quickly taught me how important cooperation is in this profession. In June 2019, I received the news that I could start here as a permanent employee. I could stay in the same department and on the same team. Then a part of the department closed. A large number of staff members had to change departments and I was one of them. That's how I ended up at Oxeno. The big difference is that here we mainly work with gases and on methionine we did work with liquids and solids. Here I learned a lot of new techniques and other ways to do the same job. After six months, there was the news that my original department was going to expand again. They needed 20 extra staff members for this. So I decided to apply and go back to Methionine. In June 2021, I will move back to Methionine but with one year more experience. In this way, it also became clear to me that there can be a lot of difference in the same job. 

Which opportunities were offered to you at Evonik? 

I had the chance to do an internship here at Evonik and this also enabled me to deliver a good thesis.  Thanks to Evonik, I graduated with a good mark. Afterwards, I got the offer to start here as a permanent employee. I grabbed the chance with my both hands. I was also able to follow some training courses so that I could do my job even better. These are experiences that I also can use in my daily life. I still learn a lot every day, which I see as a positive experience.

Evonik also gave me the opportunity to do some interviews. For example, I was able to speak to Jinnih Beels, an important person in Belgium, about dual learning.

In retrospect, would you do anything differently?

In the future, there will be a balance between the number of women and men in production units. We can already see this at the site in Singapore. We have staff here who temporarily help out at another site, at the first start-up for example, and they find it easy to work that way. I believe it will work like that here eventually. If we look at the educations - chemical process technology, the study I did- more and more women are graduating.

How do you think the diversity aspect will develop in the future?

Not really. I am very satisfied with the studies I have done. The internship I had at Evonik was exactly what I had imagined. As a result, I knew exactly what I wanted when I started working here. After a few months, I received bad news that part of my department was closing down and that 20 people had to move. In my new department, I would have done a few things differently if I could have started again. It was much bigger, so I had to learn in a different way than in my previous department. I would have started combining the two ways of studying earlier than staying with the first way for a long time. That is the only thing I would do differently. I am very satisfied with all my other choices.

Do you have any advice for other women in your profession?

Keep believing in yourself. Some people will say that it is not a woman's job, that you cannot do it, that women are too weak. Meanwhile, there are plenty of women who have proven otherwise. Ignore all remarks and do what you like! And keep believing in your own abilities. It’s better if you can prove them wrong. 

Role title: Process Operator 
Based: Antwerp, Belgium 
Division: Performance Materials
Joined Evonik : 2018
Study: Chemical process technology (dual learning)

Learn More ...

... #HumanChemistry

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Yesterday we launched our D&I campaign 'Everyone Evonik - Everyone unique' in which colleagues of Evonik Antwerpen introduce themselves to each other. They show that it is possible to do both: to feel 100% at home at Evonik and to be completely yourself at the same time. Colleague Mohamed Amhaoul is the first to tell his story. Read it in Dutch (https://corporate.evonik.be/nl/DI) or in English right here: YOU CAN TURN PREJUDICES AROUND "I am Mohamed Amhaoul, but everyone calls me Moh. I grew up in a Muslim family and am now a husband and father of grown-up children myself. I have been working for Evonik Antwerp since 2005. I started my career at the silanes production unit and after wanderings via the then Cyol unit and the hydrogen peroxid unit, I have been working at the methionine unit for several years now. I am a team leader in the B-team and I am also involved in the employee representation. By ending up in so many different teams, I have already experienced a lot, both positive and negative. Experiences are real learning opportunities for me. For example, I learned over the years not to react immediately when people say something. I take the time to think. A statement always has a context and you can't just assume it's meant badly. I'm a big fan of the consultation culture and conversations. If we don't talk to each other, we won't get anywhere. I really believe that. My origins and religion sometimes cause unease in other people. I have learned to be careful with my own reactions, not to make things worse. You always have a choice: stir things up or be smart. I find it smarter to have a calm conversation and not to impose yourself or your own opinion. Believe me, I have experienced it many times: prejudices can be turned around, without fierce discussions or heated situations. Give people time and trust comes almost naturally. I myself do not accept any form of discrimination. Not in relation to women, colour, religion, race, gender,... and this at no time: not at work, not in the sports club, not in the family. For example, my sisters all started higher education, because I was able to convince my parents of the importance of it. The sports federation, where I am a member of the board, has appointed me as a confidential advisor and I am grateful for that. Here at work, I feel respected. I can be who I am and I wish that for everyone. I dream of a world where boys and girls get to choose what they study, where firms reflect the diversity of the world. Where no one is afraid to be themselves and everyone respects each other without reservation. We are on the right track, there are many bright spots for those who want to see them. #HUMANCHEMISTRY #DIVERISTY #EVERYONEEVONIKEVERYONEUNIQUE #SENSEOFBELONGING #DIVERSITEIT #INCLUSIE #EVONIKANTWERPEN #IEDEREENEVONIKIEDEREENUNIEK #D&i #INCLUSION
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Responsible for Communication - Central & South America Region #Evonik #teamwork #determination
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test test test test #Humanchemistry