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International Women’s Day

We share the thoughts of six inspirational women at AIS to celebrate International Women’s Day.


To celebrate international women’s day, we spoke to some of the incredible women at AIS who are breaking the mould in our industry. Hear from some of the inspirational women challenging gender-biased stereotypes and making a significant impact at AIS.


Veronika Baker, Director of Corporate Services

Tell us about yourself and what you do at AIS.

I have been a part of the AIS team for 14 years now. Over that time, my role has evolved and it currently includes business functions such as human resources, marketing/communications, business support, information technology and insurance. I often get involved in areas outside of my core role.  For example, I have managed a number of building projects, including the development of our main facility in Gloucester. 

This year’s international women’s day theme is #EmbraceEquity, what does this mean to you?

The terms equality and equity are often interchanged, but there is a fundamental difference. A good way to explain this difference is that equality is everybody having a pair of shoes, and equity is providing everyone with a pair of shoes that fit.

To make sure that our “shoes” (and by “shoes” I mean our jobs, development opportunities and anything else that is important to us) fit, we need to be clear about what “shoes” we need (and like!).  We also must not be afraid to try on new “shoes” – they might fit better than expected and enable us to embark on new and exciting journeys.


Katherine Brooks, Project Engineer

Tell us about yourself and what you do at AIS.

I have been a Project Engineer at AIS for just over three years.  I work predominantly on delivering topside projects. My general day-to-day duties include shipping, creating documentation, holding client meetings and calls, procurement and reviewing specifications and drawings.

Every day is different here and there is never a quiet moment. I have always worked in the engineering sector and enjoy it as there is always something new to learn. It is encouraging to see that there is an increasing female presence in what used to be a very male-dominated sector and long may it continue.

Is there anyone that inspires you in your career?

There are many inspiring people in engineering. I find the work of Hedy Lamarr interesting as she paved the way for the wireless communication that we use daily. I was inspired to go into engineering by my family as my dad is an engineer. He spent time explaining things to me and I always found it interesting.


Laura Jordan, Development Chemist

Tell us about yourself and what you do at AIS.

I’m a Development Chemist at AIS in Gloucester. My role involves developing new materials to improve and diversify our portfolio of products. In the last few years, I have become heavily involved in developing products for our new automotive range.

Why did you choose to become a Development Chemist?

Becoming a chemist was a result of me changing my mind about what to study at University several times during my A-levels. I originally only took chemistry beyond the GCSE level because I enjoyed it and found it interesting.  Somehow, I ended up with a chemistry degree and working as a Development Chemist, which I’m still enjoying after 10 years in the role.


Saffie Upton, Project Engineer

Tell us about yourself and what you do at AIS.

I have been working as a Project Engineer for AIS for almost a year and a half.  I have recently completed my Higher National Diploma (HND) in Mechanical Engineering.

As a Project Engineer, I assist the Project Manager by assessing the project scope and technical documentation. I support site scheduling and monitor site activities to achieve successful project delivery within the subsea insulation side of the business.

What’s the most important piece of advice you’d give to a woman thinking of starting a career in projects?

Be confident and make your voice heard!


Monika Kalafirov, Quality Manager

Tell us about yourself and what you do at AIS.

I have worked for AIS for over 10 years now. I started as a Lab Technician and was enthusiastic about quality assurance from the start. My background is in science.  I am a mum of two wonderful (already teen-aged) creatures, and I love languages, long walks, and cats.

As Quality Manager in AIS I look after lab testing, ensuring the checks we do on our materials adequately describe their quality. I run statistical analysis on collected data to assess the processes. Part of my role also involves assisting with setting up QA regimes, re-validating materials out of shelf-life and checking on incoming raw materials. I work with a great, motivated, and diligent team of people, which makes my time at AIS pleasant.

With international women's day in mind, what is an important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?

Follow your interests, regardless of how others perceive the “stuff” you like. There’s no better or worse job/position - as long as you enjoy what you’re doing - you’ll find your niche.


Camélia Boursas, Engineering Manager, AIS Bardot

Tell us about yourself and what you do at AIS.

I am 32 years old, and graduated in marine engineering. I am also a keen sports enthusiast (running, climbing and aviation), always curious to discover new countries, cultures, activities, I’m driven by the challenge.

I started at Bardot as a hydrodynamic engineer. I had the opportunity to become manager of my department and to best fulfil this new role, I started studying a management program within a business school (KEDGE). I have been managing the engineering department for 5 years now!

 Which women inspire you the most?

The woman who has always inspired me and who inspires me every day is my grandmother. Her courage of steel, her determination, her life intelligence, and her devotion to her family are examples for me.


If we have inspired you to join our amazing team, have a look on our careers page to find out what opportunities we currently have.

Happy international women's day!

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