Tina D’Souza is Senior Project Manager at Inovor Technologies, where she oversees the management and delivery of all satellite projects at the company.
Tina began her career as a reliability engineer at a regional airline in Cairns, where she was able to learn a great deal about aircraft maintenance and operations. She credits a decision to take a two-year break from engineering to build her skills in program management and business transformation as a rewarding experience which enabled her to broaden her career horizons beyond technical knowledge.
Ahead of International Women’s Day 2022, SASIC spoke to Tina about working in one of Australia’s fastest growing industries.
What attracted you to the space industry?
It’s amazing that a country like Australia is pushing the frontiers in space technologies. I am excited to play a part in making it happen.
What has surprised you most about working in the industry?
The number of opportunities that are available for young professionals right now. There is a huge shortage for people with space industry experience in Australia. At Inovor, we have offered graduate positions to many of our interns so we can grow these skills in-house.
This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #BreakTheBias. Did you face challenges as a woman in the industry?
As a young female engineer in the aerospace sector, my biggest challenge in my early career was being overlooked. I learned that I had to speak louder to be heard and remain unfazed when my opinions were prematurely challenged/dismissed.
Many of these challenges have faded over the years, with most companies having a multi-generational, diverse, and inclusive working environment – where each person is valued for their expertise.
How did you overcome those initial challenges?
I focussed on building my confidence. I started by understanding what I’m good at and identifying areas for growth. While I was mastering my technical knowledge, I also challenged myself to work on my people skills. I learnt how to interact effectively with different personalities. Every little success improved my confidence.
Why would you encourage other women to consider a career in the space industry?
Space is cool – do we need another reason! Space is the pinnacle of science and technology, so women need to play an equal part in pushing boundaries and re-defining the possible. Moreover, women have a rich history in space, but I feel we don’t have enough stories. A bright career in space is achievable in Australia and we need more women involved to inspire the next generation.
What advice would you give young women looking towards a career in the space industry?
If you are interested in space, don’t wait for the right opportunity to come to you. Speak to diverse people in the industry and hear about their experiences. Keep up to date with space news and follow the success stories of start-ups in the industry. Connect with them on LinkedIn and reach out to see if they need any support (casual, part-time, or full time). Any experience is highly valued!