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Female Voice Focus: Laleh Solhi

Laleh Solhi, student in the MBA Strategic Management & Technology shares her experiences as a woman with an immigrant background and emphasizes the importance of diversity and inclusion for innovation and problem-solving.

Diversity and inclusion have become critical benchmarks for innovation and problem-solving in industry. As a woman of color, Laleh Solhi’s journey within this field illuminates both the inherent challenges and the profound advantages that diversity offers to drive advancement. This interview encapsulates her experiences, reflecting on the positive influences and overcoming obstacles, all while navigating a career path marked by incessant learning and leadership growth.

How has being a woman positively influenced your professional journey within the industry?

Being a woman of color with a diverse cultural background has significantly enriched my perspective, especially in a field driven by innovation like science. My unique experiences offer valuable insights that might not be readily apparent to others, thereby enhancing creativity and problem-solving within the team.

What challenges have you faced as a woman in the workplace and how did you overcome them?

I have faced numerous challenges such as sexism, gender pay gaps, and internalized sexism. The key to overcoming these obstacles lies in recognizing and addressing them directly. Education and awareness about these issues are critical for minimizing their impact and fostering a more inclusive workplace environment. Each situation requires a tailored approach, underscoring the importance of being well-informed and proactive.

How is further education, specifically your recently started Executive MBA in Strategic Management & Technology with us at TU Wien ACE, already influencing your career?

Pursuing an MBA has significantly influenced my career by providing formal education in leadership, negotiations, and strategy development. The diverse perspectives gained from my peers in the program across various industries have enriched my professional experience and enhanced my leadership capabilities.

What significance does continuing education hold for women in your view?

Continuing education holds strategic importance for women and the LGBTQIA2S+ community, facilitating their personal growth and skill acquisition in a rapidly evolving job market. Formal education can accelerate career advancement and amplify their voices within the workplace, particularly for women and marginalized communities who may face systemic underpayment and underappreciation.

What advice would you give to your younger self, regarding advancing in your career?

My advice for the younger self regarding career advancement would emphasize the importance of continuous learning, seeking diverse perspectives, and being proactive in addressing workplace challenges. Recognizing and valuing everyone’s unique contributions can also play a critical role in advancing one’s career.

How can businesses better support women, especially within (aspiring) roles in leadership?

To better support women, businesses can implement training programs, and workshops on gender and diversity issues, and provide supportive measures such as implementing transparent and fair pay systems and offering childcare options. Listening to and valuing the voices of all employees, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, are crucial steps toward fostering an inclusive and supportive work environment.

Reflecting on these insights showcases not only the distinct challenges faced by women in STEM but also the untapped potential that lies in fully embracing and supporting diversity within our industries. Laleh’s journey, punctuated by learning, leadership, and the quest for an equitable workspace, aims to inspire and catalyze change for women and minorities aspiring to carve their niche in science and beyond.


Laleh Solhi

Laleh Solhi, opens an external URL in a new window is Team Lead Pharmaceutical Development at Sandoz and student of the Executive MBA Strategic Management & Technology.

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