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Maya Maatouk : ” Being in a purely male environment can sometimes be stressful “

Hello to all SciGi readers!

My name is Maya Maatouk and I am a Senior Network Engineer at DELL in Montpellier. I’m part of the level 3 support team which is mostly made up of men. My missions mainly consist in answering complex investigations of a technical nature which are not common and which often require a deviation from standard procedures.

Being in a purely male environment can sometimes be stressful and often pushes me to prove myself in the field to legitimize my place. But I am fortunate to work at DELL, a company that respects gender equality and promotes diversity in the workplace. We have internal policies that provide a framework for professional exchange between colleagues and limit sexist remarks. n spite of that, I sometimes get comments from customers on the phone like:

“Sorry, but could I have one of your male colleagues on the line instead?” or “You need a female voice for the phone greeting!”

Luckily my skills are not always questioned but it can happen. Just for the record: One of our clients had refused to let me handle his request on the pretext that for him I am a woman so that my skills don’t go beyond the kitchen. I therefore decided to transfer his file to my colleague who unfortunately did not have the skills to handle the file. In the end, the file came back to me and I solved the problem. I can tell you that taking over the client’s file, solving his problem and having his recognition gave me joy and satisfaction!

You want to know how I ended up here?

So, I joined the engineering school of Lebanon after my baccalaureate and I was admitted after my first year to the student exchange program between France and Lebanon (program piloted by the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie). In France I joined the UTBM (University of Technology of Belfort-Montbéliard) in the telecommunications and network field where I obtained my engineering degree in 2014.

After my degree I had my first professional experience at D2T in Trappes in the Yvelines, I was recruited in the framework of a network infrastructure migration project which lasted two years. My role consisted in analysing the existing network, designing the new topology, configuring the equipment and maintaining the infrastructure in operational condition. In March 2016, I was contacted by DELL’s HR team who offered me the opportunity to join the Network Support team as a Level 2.

The project at D2T being completed, my work within the IT team was becoming monotonous and no longer met my professional expectations. So I agreed to start the recruitment process at DELL and after several technical HR and management interviews, I joined DELL in April 2016.

I would say that the most difficult part of my career was to leave Lebanon to adapt to the rules of a country different from mine. The assimilation of the rules and the French way of life required a lot of physical and moral energy from me!

My work occupies a good part of my time but contrary to what one might think, being a woman scientist does not prevent me from taking time for myself; it is all a question of organization. If you have a job that you are passionate about, you will enjoy working!

During my free time, I swim 3 times a week and I go hiking every other Sunday! (it’s not bad😉 ). I’m also a big thrillseeker !

The best advice I can give you is to set no limits! Dare, give yourself the means and you will succeed!


Written by Monika

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