March 2023. Empowering women is promoting the progress of the economy, education, health, culture, nature, politics, families, and society in general. According to the World Bank, 70% of household purchase decisions around the world are made or are influenced by women, who invest it in their family and community in health, food, and education for their families. Also, more than 60% of higher education students are women and their academic performance is 28% higher than that of men.
Despite the growth in women’s involvement in business and particularly the MedTech industry, there is still a long way to go in enabling opportunities for their professional growth. One of the pioneering companies in this path is OKAY Industries, which recently announced operations at Evolution Free Zone. They have created a culture that adapts to women’s unique needs and accompanies them to accomplish both their personal and professional goals in harmony.
The company currently has 62 women on their employee list, of which many hold engineering, supervisory, mechanical, and other positions, which are fields traditionally associated to men.
We had the opportunity to talk with five of them hoping to understand a little more about their work and how they hope this next phase they’ll live in Evolution Free Zone means an opportunity for them and other women in the company to continue growing as they have done so far.
Mariana Vega Rojas: People & Excellence Manager / Talent Management & Operational Excellence
Gissela Arauz Valverde: Engineering Supervisor / Engineering
Daniela Calderón Ocampo: Buyer Sr. / Supply Chain
Celeste Guevara Céspedes: Process Technician / Engineering
Paula González Valerio: Technical Operator / Production
OKAY Industries has been operating in Costa Rica for 11 years and are now one of the first companies to announce operations at Evolution Free Zone.
At this company’s local operations, there are 15 outstanding women holding positions of managers, supervisors or in other leadership roles. With customer-focused processes and an unwavering dedication to excellence, OKAY Industries has become one of the most respected medical device manufacturing companies in the world.
OKAY Industries designs and manufactures components and sub-assemblies for OEMs in the medical, surgical, precision, and specialty markets.
For the company’s employees, their values and the impact in improving the quality of life for people make their work more meaningful. “Our goal is to save lives and give people quality of life. That gives value to our purpose as people”, mentions Mariana Vega Rojas, People & Excellence Manager / Talent Management & Operational Excellence of OKAY Industries.
Other interviewees also find value in their family, highlighting how OKAY Industries allowed them to be mothers without losing the possibility of having and dedicating themselves to a family.
When I started to work here, my baby was a newborn and I had to go on maternity leave. After a month, my baby got sick, and I was transparent to the company. I told them that I understood if they had to fire me,” adds Daniela Calderón Ocampo, Buyer Sr. / Supply at OKAY Industries. “The company rather emphasized that they would wait for me for as long as was needed. That is worth all the work that I can give back to them”
For other women, during their time at OKAY they have been able to find fulfillment through the achievement of their professional goals.
One of them, Paula González Valerio, Technical Operator / Production, who managed to complete her studies thanks to a company alliance for women and people in vulnerable conditions, ensuring that they do not lose the opportunity to continue studying.
Also, Celeste Guevara Céspedes, Process Technician / Engineering at OKAY Industries, thanks the company for the opportunity to practice the profession she chose in high school and that she was able to deepen in college. “We have been a part of OKAY since the very beginning, when there were few women and we managed to establish a sisterhood where we supported and taught each other,” Guevara adds.
Empowerment, growth and development are part of the attributes that these women value from their work in the company. They highlight a culture where everyone helps each other and there is a sense of camaraderie. Inspiring the next wave of leaders, they note that as women, it’s vital to not be afraid of their capacity to get ahead, trust their abilities to fulfill the roles of mother, professional, and wife, and above all, work with passion to be proud of their achievements.
We thank these incredible women for giving us a glimpse into their life and work. At Evolution Free Zone, we are very proud to welcome them as part of our Park’s community.
Recognized by the United Nations since 1975, International Women’s Day (March 8) has its origins at the beginning of the 20th century, in the demonstrations of women -mainly in Europe- who demanded their right to vote, better conditions of work and gender equality.
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