Programme Director Human Capital Agenda
Marsha Wagner is the program director of the Topsector Energie Human Capital Agenda since 2012 and member of the 75inQ Advisory Board.
After a MSc.Cognitive Artificial Intelligence from Utrecht University, she has been holding a wide selection of strategic leadership and advisory positions. “I started to make money since I was 11 years old. I can’t imagine my life without working. I love to work on challenges, meeting interesting people and building up relationship with diverse people. I am an entrepreneur and self-employed professional. I am also busy with national programs and initiatives regarding human development.”
Mission of a lifetime
“I have a particular mission for myself; I want to make my country, The Netherlands, strong and competitive internationally. And I do this by focusing on the development of human capital.”
“At Topsector Energie we are building educational programs in order to make sure there is a level playing field in the economy. We want to have a warm and professional environment where everyone can find their way, regardless of their societal background. I have talked to many high school students when they wanted to select their major in the university. What I saw were mostly rational reasons: I get a better salary in this major, I can get hired in large corporations if I study this subject, etc. But I shall advise them, just find what makes you tick. What is on your mind? What are you reading on a daily basis? You can probably find your passion there.”
“When gender balance is considered, in my opinion, it is first and foremost important to have someone in the position who can actually do the job. He or she should bring the competencies needed and have the personal characteristics suitable for the role. However, even with sufficient competencies, you shouldn’t feel that you are different. If you feel so, you get distracted and cannot do your job properly!
However, managers who want to hire people mostly look for those who are similar to themselves. This means if there is a gender imbalance, it will persist. On the other hand, if you have a bad experience with a person from a different race, gender, etc,, you might unconsciously discriminate against people with that characteristic. Bad experience can shift your mindset.”
“With having more women in powerful positions, I think the situation is getting better. Historically, girls were not interested in engineering and management studies. This is partly responsible for the current gender imbalance that we see in the energy sector. With the efforts to attract the attention of girls to engineering and management studies, we can expect a better balance in the future. But we should be patient. “
An honest community
“When the balance between men and women changes in the companies, the company culture needs to be changed and this takes time. Women themselves have a responsibility in this regard, to help develop this culture in their working environment. Communities like 75inQ can help facilitating culture change. I experienced a constructive and honest atmosphere that provided me with new perspectives. An important insight for me for example was that we should be aware of the way that our minds function. Then we should work on the awareness of the employers.”