Holcim Philippines' female boss pushes for diversity in workplace

Cathy Yang and Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 21 2018 12:43 PM | Updated as of Feb 22 2018 07:21 AM

NORZAGARAY, Bulacan - A mother of two is steering the operations of cement-maker Holcim in the Philippines and is pushing for greater diversity in the company that is associated mostly with men.

On the senior level, Holcim Philippines' workforce is 32 percent female, including its president and CEO, Sapna Sood. By 2030, she hopes women will account for roughly a third of the company's total number of employees.

"What we’re doing in order to enhance the participation of females in the company first of all it’s about policies, having the right policies, having the right infrastructure so that females are welcomed and that includes the plant," Sood told ANC's The Boss.

"We’re just ensuring that we have the right infrastructure and the right mindset to welcome women, not just to welcome them but to keep them," she said.

Holcim Philippines lady boss Sapna Sood with ANC's Cathy Yang for The Boss

The 44-year old Sood leads Holcim as the cement industry prepares to meet demand from President Rodrigo Duterte's P8 trillion infrastructure program.

Her rivals are men, scions of some of the country's tycoons.

Eagle Cement's CEO is John Paul Ang, son of San Miguel Corp President Ramon Ang.

The son and namesake of the country's richest man, Henry Sy Sr., launched Big Boss Cement in January.

The 44-year old engineer Sapna Sood, who runs Holcim Philippines is also a wife and a mother of two. Photo by: Holcim Philippines

This year, Sood said she hoped to empower female engineers like herself.

"We are really looking at women in engineering and in showing them that Holcim Philippines is a place where you can have a career in engineering, and that there are a lot of opportunities both here in the country and also abroad," she said.

Having been raised without gender stereotypes, Sood said she wanted to bring the same mindset to the company.

"I have a younger brother, we were brought up changing tires, gardening, and both had to do household chores like cooking. I grew up thinking that I could do anything and I have followed that throughout my career," she said.

Sapna with her husband and their children. Photo by Sapna Sood
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