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The first woman on the job

As the first female boss on the job, Jennifer Ramos has found herself in the spotlight. Her years as a spare parts manager in Peru have prepared her well. She knows that good leadership isn’t about knowing everything. It's about empowering people with the right knowhow.

Jennifer Ramos, Business Line Manager Parts and Services at Sandvik. A title does not make you a leader. Nor do you need a title to be a good leader. “Leadership is about having a positive influence on people to generate action and motivate innovation,” says Jennifer Ramos who recently became Business Line Manager for Parts and Services at Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions Andean and Southcone.

She speaks from practice. For five years, Ramos was head of spare parts at Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions in Peru. When she was ready to seek a new job challenge, the opportunity came through a move to Santiago, Chile in May 2023. Just two months later, she was offered the position as Business Line Manager.

Leadership with empowerment

“Spare parts and services is a strategic area in the company. In addition, I am the first woman to hold this position,” she says pointing out that this means she is scrutinized from several angles. “Being the first woman is always a challenge. It’s like there is a greater need for me to demonstrate my knowledge and my leadership, but that’s a challenge I am proud of.”

With more than 800 employees in a large network of workshops and field services in Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Peru, it’s impossible for Ramos to be everywhere and she leaves the understanding of how each machine works to others. There are other skills required for her to keep the equipment safely running and operating at its full potential.

“My job is to empower my peers and give them confidence and trust to make their own decisions,” says Ramos. “It’s really important that the teams we build have the right balance to support each other, because the success of one is the success of everyone in the team.”

With the move to Chile happening so recently, she hasn’t had time to settle into her new country, but she has adapted well to a job she loves.

“It’s a job where you never get bored. I get to stretch my capacity and train my resilience as I constantly get the opportunity to solve different problems – sometimes several times a day,” she says.

Personal development and mentorship

Leading others is a constant and ongoing learning process and just like others, Ramos needs to work on her leadership skills. Since taking on her new role, she has felt a growing need to work on her frustration tolerance. She also wants to improve her resilience, such as having the flexibility needed to cope with and develop from the challenges she faces in her daily work.

Her most important channel for this is the regular talks she has with her mentor, a female peer who also works in mining, but for a different company and in another part of the world. The mentoring sessions have helped her realize that most of the challenges she faces are the same regardless of where in the world you operate.

“I always talk about how important it is to create trust and with my mentor I feel that trust. I can talk about everything. I can share my feelings, my doubts about managing this new position, how to live up to everyone’s expectations, everything.”

In return, her mentor shares her stories and experience.

Creating a work culture of trust and growth

“She is very empathic, and these talks have helped me understand that my feelings are normal and a natural part of the development process,” says Ramos who always strives to coach others in a similar way. “It’s not always easy to prevent myself from offering a solution when someone comes to me with a problem, especially if you’re short on time, but I’m working on it.”

The ideal response should be to ask her co-worker about his or her own solution to the problem or ask the questions needed for a solution to emerge.

“Then it’s my job to make sure the initiatives to solve the problem are implemented,” she says.

To create a good working relationship relevant feedback is essential.

Three questions about leadership

What do you look for in a leader?
Trust and confidence.

What is most important for you in your leadership?
To build that trust and empower people to be confident enough to make their own decisions.

What helps you develop your leadership?
Peer coaching and mentorship sessions where I can put assertive communication into practice and develop critical thinking.

About Jennifer Ramos

Name: Jennifer Ramos

Role: Business Line Manager Parts and Services - Andean and Southcone

Location: Santiago, Chile

Tenure: Five years at Sandvik, previously in Lima, Peru

Education: Industrial engineer with a master’s degree in operations and logistics

Family: Parents in Lima, Peru

Favorite hobby: Traveling and urban biking. Newest interest is AeroYoga. “Where I step by step can see myself improve and get motivated together with others.”

Secret superpower: An ability to engage and motivate peers. “To detect their motivation and push and move them to advance and reach their goals.”