Women in Rail – Kasia Steyn



I was very lucky to have joined Irish Rail in 2017 as a Freight Services Executive with previous freight forwarding and logistics background.

Irish Rail Iarnrod Eireann is truly a great place to work for a Lady.  Since the start of my career in the rail, I have noticed a positive drive to develop Talent within the company. I had a chance to work this past academic year with our Talent Management Team. The work they do is outstanding.

I was granted a place on People’s Management and Career Development Programmes, which were designed by our Talent Management Team, tailored made to the company’s and employees needs and delivered by the external professionals within the human resource management industry.  

While I enjoyed all the above, what really made a great impact on me and my management skills was The ‘Emerge’ Women in Leadership programme, which lasted 6 months. That has exceeded my expectations on many levels, not only we had one on one coaching sessions, which was an absolute benefit but also group sessions where we learned and developed leadership skills across 16 areas including self-awareness, confidence, executive presence and impact, managing conflict and team leadership skills in supporting. Our masterclass group sessions also provided a very safe, comfortable and secure space for discussions and brainstorming.  A core objective of Iarnród Éireann Irish Rail is to develop our people and our organisational competencies to sustain competitive advantage and drive innovation.  

For me as a Woman, the Emerge Women in Leadership Programme has helped me gain more confidence, become more self-aware and provided me with wisdom on how to handle certain situations and people. I became more open-minded and stopped overthinking, which is a tendency for many of us. Through this programme, I have matured, became calmer and less stressed and hopefully gained skills to become a future female leader. What’s most important the programme enabled me to feel included and equal to male colleagues, which in Transport and Logistics sector is still a challenge.

It so happened that while this programme was running Brexit has finally taken place. I had an opportunity to manage the change within our company in relation to customs clearance activities for our train parts and our commercial division which looks after the distribution of car parts ex UK. Establishing new processes and activities relating to the customs clearance involved dealing with many stakeholders and delegating.

The beginning of Brexit was stressful- as for everyone without a doubt. The programme helped me manage the change and put theory into practice- I got better at handling differences in expectations,  different personalities, stayed focused and calm throughout the extreme pressures that Brexit caused. I have realised also what a great team I am a part of and that everyone within my team deserves acknowledgement for their hard work.

Irish Rail is a progressive company, which has noticed that Women needed support in the rail industry and they provide this so needed support.  Having experienced the positive impact that Women in Leadership Programme had made on me I would like to say thank you to Iarnrod Eireann and IE Talent Management Team.