We are proud to celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March as a special opportunity to shine the spotlight on women working in the refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump industry, highlighting unique experiences and expertise, and what led them on this career path.
Today we share with you the story of Silvia Romano, Chief International Affairs at the Italian RAC training institute Centro Studi Galileo and the Association of Italian Refrigeration Technicians, as well as an active expert in AREA, highlighting her key role and motivation in shaping our industry!
What does your role involve and what are your responsibilities?
I manage international projects for the Italian RAC training institute Centro Studi Galileo and the Association of Italian Refrigeration Technicians; my job takes care not only of training courses, but also conferences, seminars, partnerships, and publications.
What initially interested you and let you to this sector?
I’ve always been passionate about environmental protection, international treaties, and global cooperation. Freshly graduated in European Management and back to my hometown, I stumbled upon this job opportunity; I like to think about it as karma leading me into this incredible sector, where I could grow my personal and professional passions.
AREA, together with World Refrigeration Day, have launched a great initiative that shines a light on women in this industry. Can you tell us about it?
The EU Association of RAC Contractors AREA and World Refrigeration Day have partnered to launch a competition on best practices for all European women in cooling. By filming a video where they show their best practices, women are invited to take the stage and give a 360-degree view of their active role in the HVACR sector, proving that there’s no such thing as a man’s or a woman’s job to be good at. In the wake of the first successful African edition (U-3ARC “Good Practices Video Competition Woman in Refrigeration in Africa”, won by Diarrah Coulibaly from Mali in September 2022), AREA’s campaign has already risen much interest and aims at encouraging new generations of female engineers, project managers, entrepreneurs to get closer to the HVACR sector, for it provides many opportunities and professional satisfaction. The winner will be awarded of a check, flight, accommodation, and conference fee to attend the UNEP-IIR-AREA-CSG 20th European Conference in Milan on 8-9 June 2023.
Do you have any advice for women who may not have considered this sector as a possible opportunity for them?
Do not be afraid of stepping into a field where you seem not to belong as it will provide you with the biggest chance of growth. Environmental protection and everyone’s well-being must be our common goals. We can only reach it by tackling the problem from different angles in order to provide a unified solution, and this includes the job we, both men and women, do daily in the HVACR sector.
Do you have any insights into what could be done to encourage more women into this sector?
First and foremost: leading by example. I’ve been lucky enough to have great female role models in my family and career so far. The founder of Centro Studi Galileo, Maria Cristina, was a strong female entrepreneur who’s inspired me since day one; this has encouraged me to grow my passions and have my voice heard. I believe that providing young women with successful examples of a happy and healthy work life in this field, as well as building a strong supportive network, will attract many new professionals.
What do you as a woman bring to the industry?
I bring my knowledge and my passion to the table. Especially in a male-dominated sector, women bring a different set of skills, and communication is known to be one of their best features; we are able to take wise decisions as leaders all the while creating a friendly environment and enhancing cooperation. We should not forget that, according to McKinsey & Company, a more diverse workplace is proven to increase productivity, creativity and, therefore, profitability.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I’ve become fond of not giving myself any limits; my goal is to keep growing professionally and personally while doing the job I love. One precious lesson that I’ve learned is “where there’s a will there’s a way”.
Find out more about the women in cooling competition here.