Join Us in Honoring Our Women for International Women’s Day
Dating back to 1981, March was inducted into history as Women’s History Month, and as a company, March 8th, International Women’s Day, holds a special place. PALFINGER values and supports diversity, growth and equality and with that would like to recognize and celebrate the strength and hard work of the women in PALFINGER North America.
These four incredible women have been nominated and highlight what it takes to succeed in their varied fields. We value every person’s differences at PALFINGER and hope you are as inspired as we are by their unique stories!
Team Lead in Install
Betty Magana joined Team PALFINGER at our Oklahoma City, OK, location in 2014. In her eight years with us, she has worked hard and grown to a Team Lead in the Install Department. As a Team Lead, Betty constantly adapts and thinks ahead to ensure her group has what it needs to succeed. She leads by example and shows that you can achieve anything with determination and a great work ethic.
Betty draws a significant amount of inspiration from her mother, who instilled in her that the rest falls into place if you have a good work ethic. Drawing from this inspiration, Betty had this to say, “My advice to fellow women: You are just as capable as anybody you work with.” This speaks volumes, and we all can take a page out of Betty’s playbook and put our best foot forward to achieve any goals we set. She is passionate about coaching, mentoring and training and enjoys helping other women recognize and reach their potential.
Virginia Tejeda is part of the Sales & Service Team for Palfinger USA in Cerritos, CA. As a Buyer, she oversees all procurement responsibilities and works with different teams within the organization. Since joining the PALFINGER family, she has found great inspiration and had this to say, “I am proud to work for a global company that cares about their employees and offer opportunities and growth. One of the women I admire is my former purchasing supervisor Nathalie Barrick, who took me under her wing. She taught me a lot about standing out in a male-dominated industry and encouraged me to speak up and learn more about the business. So, I got involved with our engineering, quality and manufacturing teams. Because of her, I now have the confidence to take on new tasks and responsibilities.”
Virginia knows that it is easier to grow when you have supportive leadership. But for those who don’t have this, she advises women to not be afraid to speak up. “You need to step up and take the challenge. Our contributions matter,” she says.
Virginia is glad to see the progress on gender parity, especially in our industry. She recalled this memory in her career, “I remember taking a call as a customer service rep, and when the person heard that I was a female, he asked to speak with someone else. Now we have a female rep with over 20 years of experience in liftgates, and many customers ask for her for help.” It shows how much we have grown and that anyone can be an expert in their field.
Outside of work, Virginia has a penchant for old Victorian homes. “I absolutely love Victorian homes. There are not many where I live, so whenever I travel to our offices in Iowa and New Jersey, I drive around looking at old homes when I get a chance.”
Keana West works in the Paint Department at our Omaha Standard PALFINGER facility in Council Bluffs, IA. She has traveled to over half of the United States and is very proud of her heritage. “My grandfather is full Hawaiian, which makes me a quarter Hawaiian!” she exclaims.
Since joining PALFINGER in 2018, she has become very knowledgeable about her department. She has acquired numerous skills, from helping prep the PAL Pro body, doors and other items for painting to wiring and taping them. She fondly recalls that one of her proudest moments was when she jumped on the opportunity to learn how to operate a multi-directional forklift.
“Working for PALFINGER has made me grow in ways I did not know was possible. One of my favorite moments was when I took on the Combilift, and many people that I did not know encouraged me to keep working my way up,” says Keana. “It showed me how they cared about something so simple and how working at PALFINGER is a home away from home.”
Keana is happy to see that the number of women working for our organization grows every year. Her advice to fellow women in the industry is not to feel intimidated and always try their best to push themselves to do what they want. She adds, “I know sometimes starting off might seem complicated but keep working.” She gets this determination from her mother, her biggest inspiration. “She is never one to give up!” says Keana.
Spare Parts Department Administrator
In 2016, Karyne Sawatsky joined our PALFINGER location in Niagara Falls, ON, and has built great relationships with her team as the Spare Parts Administrator. They work like a well-oiled machine day in and day out, and when hiccups arise, Karyne is always eager to help solve the problem. Her team feels like family, from laughs and discussions and everything else in between, and she knows that they always have each other’s backs at the end of the day.
Over the years, Karyne has found many people who inspire her, from her work family and actual family to public figures. Her daughter is one of the people she admires most and had this to say, “The strength and resiliency of this young woman is not only admirable but should be emulated. I learn from her every day and hope to continue learning.” Interestingly enough, Cher is also one of these people, “This woman came into a male-dominated industry and took control of her career and has been doing so for almost 60 years! She adapts to the times and is always on top of her game. She has won an Oscar, Grammy, Emmy and more! She shows you are strong as you want to be at any age,” said Karyne.
During the pandemic, Karyne stepped up where she was needed the most and became the “go-to” person for her team. While this may make for some longer days, she takes pride in knowing that this has helped her team grow more robust and make record-breaking sales at that!
When she is not at work, she works with the Kristen French Child Advocacy Center as their event photographer. They host events that raise funds to help child victims of violent or sexual abuse in the Niagara Region. Her advice to fellow women in business is, “If you want it, go for it. Take a risk. Don’t always play it safe, or you will die wondering.”
As we constantly strive for inclusivity, diversity and putting our employees first, we are so happy to feature some of the great women we have here at PALFINGER! So go on and celebrate the women in your life! If you would like to learn more about International Women’s Day, its history and how you can help #BreakTheBias against women, please visit the official website here for more information.