The Epitome of an Empowered Woman

“Empowerment doesn’t come in rising above others, but in complementing the team to achieve the desired result of each project undertaking. It is collaborating with the team in performing your best, whatever it takes, for the success of the project.”

MJ Estorque (Site Engineer – Process Environment)

Have you ever dared to venture into the unknown and risk leaving your comfort zone in pursuit of professional development and personal growth? If the answer is yes, then you may be able to relate to what I’m about to share. If the answer is no, then believe me…it’s about time you take that first step toward doing something that you’ve been so hesitant about. Trust me, that perfect timing you’ve been waiting for…is now.

Hi! I am Mary Jane P. Estorque, a Chemical Engineer by profession, and please allow me to share how my Life at Alsons has become not only a daunting challenge and a daring adventure but also a rewarding experience and a fulfilling journey, as I perform my responsibilities as a Site Engineer for Process and Environment under the Alsons Group Project Management Team for nearly eight years and counting.

 

When and how did you start your career at Alsons Power?

I first heard about Alsons in 2015, for a job opening at Sarangani Energy Corporation (SEC), during a time when the SEC Phase 1 Project was in the middle of its construction. I was still employed by another company at that time, where I had started a career that felt like my home base, being part of its pioneering team. But it was also a time when I was starting to feel stuck in my professional growth, so I set out to explore new possibilities, willing to leave my comfort zone, despite my uncertainties and reservations.

The selection process is grueling, consisting of lengthy written exams and a series of highly technical interviews that seem to ask questions about all aspects of life, willing you to bare out your ability and personality. However, attending the interview without fully understanding what I was getting myself into was a bold move on my part, as the available position did not correspond to my work experience… something I only discovered on the day of the interview itself. Luckily, the kind of perspective my leaders had when they hired me to join the team is a different level of wisdom. The kind that also capitalized on a positive attitude on top of your technical knowledge. I was chosen not mainly because of experience, but primarily because of my potential.

I was hired as a Process and Environment Site Engineer for the Project Management Team of the Sarangani Energy Corporation 210MW Coal-Fired Power Project. I was part of the SEC-1 and SEC-2 Project Management Teams and am now part of the Siguil Hydro Power Corporation (SHPC) Project Management Team for the 15 MW Siguil Hydro Power Project where I am also currently designated as the Pollution Control Officer (PCO). In a nutshell, I am responsible for ensuring that the Project’s design and construction, as well as its overall process, comply with technical requirements and environmental laws and regulations.

 

What made you decide to stay this long at Alsons Power?

Throughout my time at Alsons, I never felt that there should be a distinction between being a female engineer and being a woman in general. That, in my opinion, is the most fundamental form of equality. Not feeling the need to prove yourself and perform differently because of gender-based restrictions and associations, for as long as you deliver the expected output from your tasks and responsibilities. For me, empowerment doesn’t come in rising above others, but in complementing the team to achieve the desired results of each Project undertaking. It is collaborating with the team in performing your best, whatever it takes, for the success of the Project.

On top of that, my quest of quenching my thirst for professional growth has been achieved, “in good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over.” With the Project’s diverse and ever-dynamic challenges, every day offers new learning. I can say that in the last seven years, I have grown immensely and improved not only technically, but also in how to professionally represent the company with various government partners and stakeholders. I am blessed to be working with a team who shares a culture that challenges you to always give your best while encouraging you to never settle for less because there is always room for improvement and you look forward to learning something new every day. All while maintaining good working relationships and strengthening friendships.

 

What message do you have for our newbies who are still finding their way in the organization?

My message to my fellow striving engineers, especially to all the female engineers struggling to take up space in a male-dominated profession, is to uphold grit and exhibit grace in whatever endeavors you undertake. Maintain your commitment to becoming a better version of yourself while never jeopardizing your relationships with others. Most importantly, be gentle and kind to yourself. Whatever challenges you face, take courage and comfort in the fact that in life it’s either you win, or you learn.

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