Interview with Ellie Sterba, Knauf UK Product Manager
Over the course of the year, Knauf will be speaking to women across the business as part of our Women in Construction series. We caught up with Ellie Sterba, Knauf UK Product Manager to find out more about her role and to find out her ideas on encouraging more women to join our industry.
Knauf: Why did you decide to join Knauf?
Ellie: I left University in 2014 and was a self-employed Architectural Designer for several months before I was approached by Knauf. I was familiar with their products as I had specified them for numerous projects, but knew very little about the Company itself.
During my interview I learned about the Company’s four Values and ‘Build for the world we live in’ which immediately had me hooked! When they offered me the job, I jumped at the chance and I’ve not looked back. I’ve been at Knauf for five years this October.
Knauf: What do you like best about working at Knauf?
Ellie: At Knauf, we ‘build for the world we live in’ and I relish the feeling that I am working towards a greater cause. The process of working on an innovative product, from conception to launch, before finally seeing it into fruition is the greatest feeling and gives me real purpose as a Product Manager.
Receiving positive feedback from our customers and knowing that they love a product I have helped create motivates me and I want to make my next launch even better!
Knauf: What does a typical day look like for you? What sort of tasks do you do?
Ellie: No day is ever the same! I like to start my day early, allowing myself enough time to plan the day ahead before my morning meetings begin. I also like to review the previous days output (over a cup of coffee of course!). Then it will be straight into meetings to discuss NPD progression, category performance or even warehouse management.
I work with colleagues in a number of different departments, facilitating projects and managing tasks. Come the afternoon, I like to catch up on emails and work through actions from the day. My daily activity is diverse which makes the job so interesting.
Knauf: Why do you think the construction hasn’t been attractive to women in the past and how do you see things changing?
Ellie: Traditionally, the construction industry is seen as male dominated, with the few female roles generally administrative. In recent years, perceptions have changed with more women seen in senior positions. It’s no longer about gender, it’s about being the right person for the job.
Knauf: What do you think can be done to encourage more women, in particular young women, to pursue a career in construction?
Ellie: I think we all have a part to play to encourage more women to pursue a career in construction. For me, actively discussing my own experiences through blogs is a positive first step.
I am proud to work for a company that is an inclusive employer that concentrates on skill rather than gender, sexuality or ethnicity. I would like to see more businesses following suit to normalise women in construction, promoting diversity in the workplace and running campaigns that can be cascaded into schools and universities to challenge perceptions early on.