Ili Atiqah Binti Dunia

Position: Sales engineer, Kosan Crisplant Malaysia
Employed since: September 2013
Education: Electric engineering

The beginning - Not a man, but so much more

It was a coincidence that led me to Kosan Crisplant. I had a degree in electrical engineering, and worked in the farming industry for a German company. I was a superintendent of the site installation and of the after-sales for the technical operations. As time passed by, I found myself looking for new challenges. In 2013, one of my friends had his application rejected by KC for not having the required language skills. Specifically, KC was searching for a man who spoke Chinese, but since Chinese is one of my main languages, my friend encouraged me to apply for the job anyway. I thought maybe this was my chance, and it was! In September 2013, I had my first day in KC Kuala Lumpur.

Although not meeting the requirement of being a man, I managed to get the job anyway due to my language skills and my strong technical background. This experience taught me that you shouldn't give up in advance. You never know how it will turn out, and in my case, I got the job and here I am today.

I started in KC as a project engineer; I managed projects for onsite installations, and I was managing the installations of the machines from A-Z. Soon, I was given tasks within sales and my career took yet another turn.

Where I am today

Currently, I work as a sales engineer and my job has changed to focus more on people, seeking to meet the customers' diverse needs. This is very different from the world I am used to: With a machine, you have a standard mechanism, which is always the same. As a sales engineer, you are dealing with a lot of people who all have different needs and challenges.

I have been so fortunate to travel the world with this job, especially in most of the Asian countries. In average, 2-3 weeks each month have been dedicated to travelling, thus most of my work tasks are located outside the office. Travelling the world is what I love; I get to experience so many interesting people and cultures. It is my ambition and motivation in my job to be working in an organisation where I get to know all types of people. Certainly, it can be a challenge to manage all the travelling and at the same time be a good wife, but luckily, I have a strong support in my husband and our families.

The best thing about working for Kosan Crisplant

From the first day I stepped into the KC office, I discovered a difference from my previous workplaces: Kosan Crisplant possesses a flexibility which I have not met elsewhere. KC offers a mentor from the management, a mentor ready to help and bring out the best in you. The management is always available to discuss new opportunities and changes in your job, and the overall mentality is truly open and honest. When I started at Kosan Crisplant, I was hired as a project engineer and later on, I was offered to change my position to sales engineer, which was an opportunity I could not resist. In KC, there is a trust throughout the whole organisation, which I deeply appreciate.

Being a woman in a man's world

Being a woman in the LPG industry can be hard, nonetheless entertaining; once in a while I get addressed as "Mr Ili" by the customers. Most of them have never been presented to a female sales engineer before, and from time to time they become surprised and even embarrassed when they see me. They did not expect a woman!

To be successful as a woman in the LPG industry, I believe you have to toss away the feeling that you have to outperform men, just to be on the same terms as them. The fact of the matter is you shouldn't have to compensate for being a woman just to be acknowledged.

For me, it is a joy to be a woman working for Kosan Crisplant. In KC Kuala Lumpur, 6 women and 31 men are employed. The atmosphere and humour are very different from working with a majority of women - I find it more relaxed. At the office, my colleagues see me as tough and hardworking and they consider me "one of the guys". They have become my motivation and inspiration in my job.

I would encourage women to consider this industry any day. Regardless of our gender, we all have the possibility to succeed. For a woman in a man's world, it is important to stay true to yourself, enjoy what you love to do, and then you will not fail. Most importantly, you need to step out of your comfort zone and fight for your rights. You should not underestimate your girl-power, because the power brings out the best in you.