Cummins celebrates commitment to gender diversity


Cummins is celebrating the diverse roles that women continue to play in the company. These range from business development to human resources and distribution. “That is what attracted me to Cummins. There is so much I can do, but it is up to me to learn and demonstrate the ability to execute and perform,” Susan Quist, Director, Corporate Services at Cummins Africa Middle East, comments.

Quist’s journey at Cummins began five years ago, with her being attracted to the company initially due to the challenging nature of the work, the environment and culture, and the values it embodied. “It is not impossible to be successful in an industry such as this. However, it requires being fearless and bold, and believing that there isn’t any job that a woman cannot do.”

It is important to remain undaunted, Quist maintains. “I look at engines and gensets as any other electrical appliances or machines. I have focused on learning about the different product ranges, our routes to market, and our value proposition to industry. I also believe strongly in Cummins’ products as being the best in the world.”

As for any message to young girls’ wishing to embark on a similar career path, Quist says simply: “Go for it. What is stopping you? Learn about the different fields within the industry, and do whatever courses are required. There is such a shortage of women in this field that job security is virtually guaranteed for women. Whatever you do though, always strive for excellence.”

Cummins is “the employer of choice” for women in the Africa and Middle East region, Quist highlights. “I perceive it as being the most diverse company to work for in the region, and I hold my colleagues accountable to this objective. I also think there is more of an interest in Cummins now on the part of women throughout the region.”

Commenting on important role models in her life, Quist points to her father. “My parents were instrumental in me becoming the woman I am today. My father raised me to be confident and outspoken. He always sought and accepted my opinions and views, even as a child. My mother firmly entrenched the notion that I could accomplish whatever I set my mind to.

“That said, I generally have had more women champions and leaders in my career. However, I have also been fortunate to have a few male leaders believe in my capabilities, fight for opportunities for me, and to actually take a chance by giving me increasingly challenging jobs.”

In terms of ongoing challenges, Quist adds that there will always be a ‘boys club’ mentality in the corporate environment. “That is a challenge every woman has to contend with. There is no sugar-coating it. I have dealt with all kinds of criticism, from being described as being too direct to overstepping my boundaries.” Quist concludes that she looks forward to a point in the future where at least 50% of the workplace is occupied by women.

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