Ruth Francis, Senior Mechanical Design Engineer, METTLER-TOLEDO Safeline, on ambition
Ruth Francis recognises a glass ceiling when she sees one. At a previous employer she had to get used to it – waiting for her talent and commitment to be recognised, waiting for the opportunity to climb the ladder. It never happened.
“After ten years, I decided to find somewhere that would recognise my abilities,” she says. “Here I am at Safeline Metal Detection, and they have given me a chance to shine and develop.”
If there is a burning sense of injustice, Ruth disguises it well. She sounds somewhat philosophical about the memory as she recalls that “sometimes, the only way to move past an obstacle is to take a big risk and step outside of your comfort zone”, adding: “If you know your self-worth, you will succeed.”
It is possible that she owes some of this rational and pragmatic perspective to the US civil rights activist, poet and writer Maya Angelou, whom Ruth describes as a real inspiration. Though Angelou died in 2014, Ruth notes that she was a powerful public speaker, who could really catch your attention and inspire. “She had the power to change people purely by the way that she spoke,” says Ruth.
Though she is in the middle of her career and is still developing the plans that will take her onto the next stages, Ruth is able to look both forwards and backwards – to anticipate what she hopes to achieve…and to reflect on what she would say to the 18-year-old Ruth Francis if she was able to reach back in time.
“I know I want to leave a legacy within the company and feel like I have made significant changes that will last,” she says to the first question.
And for the teenage Ruth, just starting out on the big adventure? “Be patient and don't worry so much!”
Inspirational Women Shaping Engineering – Ruth Francis