Generational and gender diversity is always important and should always occur on our teams. It’s a mix that makes the company work better.
Patricia Barragán, Tenaris Technical Sales Manager for the Andean Region
Patricia Barragán is the first leader of the technical sales team for Tenaris in the Andean region. She has been familiar with the oil and gas industry since she was a child. She was born in Barrancabermeja, known as the Oil Capital of Colombia, home to the first and largest refinery in the country. Both her grandfather and her father worked in the first fields operated by Ecopetrol, among the largest oil companies in Latin America.
When she began her university studies in petroleum engineering, she was one of just six women students in the department. By the second semester, she was one of two. By the fourth, she was the only one who remained. “Competition was tough,” says Barragán of her time at school.”
However, says Barragán, women from her part of the world are known for having character. As she describes it, “We are also brave and strong, resisting difficulties. We are women who face challenges and like to work hard for our dreams.” That strength and tenacity served her during her university years as well as in her working life.
After graduating as a petroleum engineer, she began her career in various energy service companies and then joined Tenaris 15 years ago on the commercial team. The opportunity arose to travel abroad with Tenaris, and just as she was about to accept it, Tenaris acquired the Tubos del Caribe mill in Cartagena. Suddenly, a second opportunity appeared: new management invited her to create the technical sales team.
“It was the best decision. In these years, I’ve developed a technical career of which I’m proud,” says Barragán. Now she manages the technical team in Colombia, which is in charge of the corporate Ecopetrol group, where she shares her duties with, in her words, “an excellent and diverse team.”
When she started in technical sales, she was the only petroleum engineer in the area, and the youngest among the group. However, she realized the strength they had in diversity as a team. With that in mind, she grew her team to have a spectrum of talents and experiences. “Generational and gender diversity is always important and should always occur on our teams,” says Barragán. “It’s a mix that makes the company work better. I feel comfortable in diverse teams; there is no hierarchy of one group over another, but a complimentary relationship that makes work more efficient.”
With a diverse team, everyone is able to learn from everyone else, notes Barragán, no matter their age. “The new generations have a clear notion that life is not only about work. I’ve witnessed how an excess of work can affect both your physical and mental health. They manage this much better. In that aspect, they give us daily lessons.”
The growth and learning in the team reflect the growth and learning of Tenaris companywide. “I feel proud to be working in a company that is in constant evolution,” says Barragán. “Even clients acknowledge this. It is a recognition that you earn for your technical ability, but also for the company’s profile. And that makes you work with pride.”