Maria Lastra is the owner and commercial manager of MOREMAQ, a Chilean company dedicated to the rental of construction equipment and machinery. She has over 10 years of experience in the heavy machinery sector and decided to start her own business 3 years ago.
Did you take over the management by creating a company, buying a company, or benefiting from an internal promotion?
The idea of forming a company was almost obligatory given the circumstances of a failure in a previous company. However, I did not hesitate to start again alone and to start from scratch. It was not easy because the industry is quite macho. Still, I am doing well with perseverance and the support of my family, customers, and various suppliers, including Haulotte. I am happy to continue in the machinery field despite all the obstacles I have encountered along the way and that I will continue to face, with retrograde people who are still convinced that the industry is only for men.
Is it a preconceived idea that women are better business managers than men? Do you have to work harder to prove your leadership skills?
I think it is a matter of people’s profiles. Whether they are men or women, they must have a structure of order and effective control concerning resources; a lack of control can easily lead to failure. However, by nature, women are more provisional and careful when making important decisions.
Leadership is driven by conviction and a lot of respect, not by imposing your position or leadership status.
It is often said that women managers have a more participative management style than men, in your opinion, “myth or reality”?
For me, it is a myth. I believe that both men and women have different capabilities that are exploited according to the scenario in which we find ourselves. There is no technique that we women use exceptionally. I insist that it has to do with the personalities of each one, it does not have to do with sex, but with the profile characteristics of the people. Of course, some people are more extroverted than others, but we must know how to take advantage of the skills we can possess – especially us women who have the charm and sympathy that men often lack.
Are women leaders less tender with their peers?
Personally, I am the same with family, peers, and clients, which has led me to build client loyalty through my path in different large companies such as multinationals or my business, which has only been in business for 3 years.
On a daily basis, what do you find most challenging to manage and most rewarding?
Well, this issue is quite clear. The most challenging thing is dealing with a response from third parties that is often slow, and I depend on it to solve different tasks.
But, on the other hand, the most rewarding thing is to provide solutions to customers who are in trouble. They remember you in all the tours of the different construction sites and even on the various companies, they may have. They remember that someone solved a problematic issue; I have been there on many occasions.
Would you say "preconceived ideas" if I told you that it is challenging to reconcile professional and personal life?
I think that independence demands a lot of time. You must take care of your interests, so you must dedicate much more time than if you were working for other people.
However, you can do it. If you put your mind to it, anything is possible.