British Asia News Network
London: When you come from an Indian family living in the UK what’s the one typical line that resonates throughout your childhood? You must become a doctor or a lawyer and then that time comes when you are off to university and your parents make a point “you must become a doctor or lawyer.” Mamta’s parents aren’t typical in that sense – they wanted her to follow her passion.
We met with Mamta Singhal an Indian born in Massachusetts, America. Her family moved to Glasgow when she was a baby and she spent the next 22 years growing up in Glasgow in a hardworking family who had high aspirations for her! To grow up with a strong education and make an impact in her chosen field. She did just this and has become in the industry a key mover and shaker, an inspirational Asian female working in the Engineering industry. She completed her undergraduate degree in Product Design Engineering (Mechanical Engineering) and continued to do a Postgraduate in Engineering Management. She banked some good work experience with some well-known mainstream companies like Polaroid, Dyson and Hasbro before deciding to go into further studies and completing a MBA in 2007. Glasgow is a city renowned for generating some amazing engineers, scientists and thinkers and it is clear that Mamta wanted to follow in their footpath…
Having moved to London 15 years ago after her masters she started working with Hasbro as a design engineer and worked across a range of new toy ideas, having the best job you could think of developing toys like Star-Wars, Actions Figures, Play-doh etc.
Mamta won the Women Engineers Society’s (WES) Young Woman Engineer of the Year Award in 2007 an accolade that any woman in the engineering world aims to achieve! The awards are run by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) which is one of the biggest engineering institution in the world. Mamta spoke highly about WES and the IET and says “It puts female engineers on the map. Winning the young woman engineer award in 2007 was a great boost to my confidence, it made me realise that I could be a real strong professional international engineer. I was actually thinking of leaving engineering but I realised that the UK has a shortage of professional engineers and that I would be valued. At the time I won, only 5.4% of the population were female. 10 years on it’s doubled to 11% however it’s taken that much time and so if we want gender parity it’s going to take at least another 30 years. There is no reason why woman should not be engineers, why is there that discrepancy between genders in engineers is still an unknown to me.”
WES are celebrating their centenary this year, female engineers are‘change makers’ - it’s about women breaking new grounds/rule breakers/change makers making significant impact.
So why do you think that discrepancy is there in the engineering industry we asked Mamta?
“I think it’s a misunderstood profession and it’s under sold at schools. Teachers often don’t know what engineers do but we all know what doctors and lawyers do but nobody knows what an engineer does. Current professional engineers are not visible enough in society but that change is happening. You don’t go to visit an engineer but one visits an accountant, or visits a doctor plus we all have been taught by a teacher, the reality is that engineering impacts everyone’s life yet people take the profession for granted.”
What do you do in your spare time?
“I love music, music was massive for me whilst growing up and it still is plus fusion indo-western music is a big passion of mine. I love dancing; I did Scottish dancing as a child and trained as an Indian dancer in my 20’s. Then when I moved to London I further trained in dancing. A lot of my time is taken up now by writing blogs for institutions or preparing for the next talk being a key speaker for events.”
What does success mean to you?
Although she left her day job and risked it all to do a MBA this woman is just a high achiever, ambitious and aspirational as she came out of her MBA with a distinction and was a global finalist for MBA Student of the Year.
Her current role is a Commercialisation Manager working for Coca-Cola European Partners GB supply chain.
Last year was a busy year for engineering and Mamta got involved in numerous events at the House of Commons, she chaired the Young Women Engineers of the year award as well as being 3rd time round judging on the panel during the ceremony Rachael Riley plus other high calibre people were present. She attended an event at 10 Downing Street, services at Westminster Abbey to celebrate engineering and the Marvel station at Excel. The Marvel event showcased how engineers are similar to superhero’s - demonstrating working in teams, make the world a better place, have knowledge and protect against evil, make the world safer, this all wraps up the world of engineering for Mamta. In March last year she was the spokesperson for Mr Men and Little Miss launching the new book character The Little Miss Inventor, who is an engineer. Plus, she was part of the exhibition celebrating 100 years for women getting the vote and during October half-term the science museum had ‘We are Engineers' real engineers demonstrating how things are made and looking how to invent things, there is no stopping this woman she was on a roll!
Mamta has thrived in her career and has been pivotal in putting engineering on the map for women engineers, her determination and ambition is truly inspirational,she is assiduous - evident throughout the interview and we hope she continues to inspire people along the way. She may have made her name in Design Engineering, manufacturing and toy consumer goods world but the true sparkle in this woman is what she gives back to society, with her endless enthusiasm and knack for balancing a successful career with life – most of us would agree that we need to support and inspire a new generation of woman engineers in the UK, Mamta is doing just this and we give her our big thumbs up!