“Diversity extends an invitation to the party, while inclusion invites you to dance”
A chat with engineers Marieke Vermeulen and Syrine Mansour about Melexis’ commitment on diversity and inclusion
Today, we focus on an essential aspect of our journey, gender equality with two of our greatest ambassadors: Product Engineer Marieke Vermeulen and Associate Applications Engineer Syrine Mansour.
This topic has been at the center of Melexis' strategy since the very beginning. Thanks to the dedication of our founders, Melexis stands as the only company in the BEL 20 with gender equality on its board since 1988. Francoise Chombar, Chairwoman at Melexis, highlights the vital connection between STEM fields and inclusion. She is optimistic about technology if inclusion is part of this, which enhances the success of any organization. Marieke and Syrine together discussed their experiences as female engineers in a predominantly male landscape and shared their remarkable journeys at Melexis.
Do you remember the first time you heard about Melexis?
Marieke: “Before discovering Melexis while job hunting, my background was in linguistics and literature, and I had never encountered microchips. What intrigued me was Melexis' commitment to investing in employees and the surprising parallels between chip development and the collaborative nature of linguistics. Despite the initial unfamiliarity, the challenges align with my skills, offering an exciting opportunity to contribute to cutting-edge technology within a dedicated and innovative team.”
Syrine: “Yes, I remember the first time I heard about Melexis. It was quite a humorous encounter. Initially, I thought the company was related to biology. Little did I know that Melexis is actually a semiconductor company, not a biological endeavor. It's amusing how first impressions can sometimes lead us in unexpected directions.”
What did drive you to the semiconductor industry?
Marieke: “The dynamic nature of the business, with constant developments like new tools for data analysis and evolving team structures, keeps me engaged. It's a realm in perpetual motion, offering an exciting challenge of working with the same people in ever-changing teams.”
Syrine: “What captivated me about the semiconductor industry is the enchantment of its tiny yet impactful products. The constant evolution, coupled with the blend of manufacturing and nanotech, adds a dynamic and intriguing element to the field, making it an exciting space to be a part of.”
Why do you like working at Melexis?
Marieke: “Because of the challenging environment that constantly pushes and coaches us to be the best we can be, even under stress. The commitment to excellence and the opportunity for continuous learning align with my values. Moreover, Melexis stands out as a place where individuals are valued based on their capabilities, not their gender.”
Syrine: “For me, it’s because of the flexibility it offers, not just in terms of time and physical presence, but also in the choices I have. The team is selected for compatibility, and individual preferences are understood. The pleasant working environment in our Bevaix office, with around 80 people, fosters a sense of community where I know everyone in the team. Additionally, the company's commitment to continuous growth aligns with my values, offering opportunities for ongoing learning and skill development.”
What is your experience regarding diversity and inclusion at Melexis?
Marieke: “In the Ypres office, the diverse array of languages reflects a welcoming atmosphere where people comfortably communicate in their mother tongue. In group settings, the seamless switch to English ensures inclusivity, exemplifying Melexis as a model for how the world should be, both in its products and its culture.”
Syrine: “At Melexis, the diversity environment is really good, especially being based in Switzerland with a workforce of 80, where less than 10 people are Swiss. The entire company embraces 57 different nationalities.”
What is your opinion on women in STEM, and how can Melexis attract even more women?
Marieke: “My perspective on women in STEM is positive, and Melexis is already making strides through initiatives like STEM workshops for children on weekends and Wednesday afternoons. By providing opportunities for primary school children to learn and organizing school visits, Melexis is focusing on cultivating interest in technical fields from an early age and bringing together diverse fields, which contributes to attracting more women to STEM.”
Syrine: “Addressing the need for early intervention in encouraging girls to pursue STEM paths, Melexis is already taking steps through workshops for kids. Recognizing the importance of sparking enthusiasm at a young age, these initiatives play a vital role in fostering interest and breaking down gender barriers in STEM education.”
How important is the position and effort of Melexis in gender equality for you?
Marieke: “They are extremely important to me. With my Polish background, I believe that while countries exist, borders should not, and knowledge is universally accessible.”
Syrine: “I appreciate the balanced and mixed environment the company promotes. We may not think or behave the same, but our differences are complementary, and both perspectives hold value. Melexis goes beyond gender and also considers factors like culture and background, creating an inclusive workplace.”
At Melexis we believe that diversity and inclusion are crucial for organizational success and fostering a variety of ideas. Importantly, there is a big difference between inclusion and diversity. As our chairwoman, Françoise Chombar says: “diversity extends an invitation to the party, while inclusion invites you to dance”. True inclusion is not just about having diversity; it's about actively making it work. That’s what we aim for at Melexis.