Why Diversity and Inclusion Matter to
Engineer Yesenia Meraz-Torres
by Abram Hernandez
Meraz-Torres, a Senior Design Engineer based in Portland, became the newest
member of the ESCO Women’s Network (EWN) Steering Committee in February 2018 and
has big plans for expanding the EWN’s role to promote workplace diversity and
first in her family to receive a graduate degree, Yesenia grew up in a Mexican
and Guatemalan household that always encouraged her to pursue her aspirations
and reach her goals. There, she developed a passion for learning how things
work from an early age by working on cars alongside her mechanic father. In
high school, she enjoyed taking mechanic and auto tech classes, and eventually,
a teacher encouraged her to pursue a career in mechanical engineering.
Yesenia graduated from Oregon State University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree and in 2014 with a master’s degree, both in mechanical engineering. During her graduate studies, a former colleague of ESCO introduced Yesenia to the company. Yesenia jumped on the opportunity to join the design engineering team.
her nearly five years with Weir, Yesenia has become a key member of the design
engineering team. She currently works as a Senior Design Engineer with New
Product Development, using her unique engineering and design skills to help
develop new products for the company. In her most recent design project, she
took the lead in developing techniques and implementing the use of a new
software to identify and reduce quality defects in manufacturing. Yesenia is a
technical lead in several software programs. She is respected by her peers and enjoys
coaching others to expand the capabilities of the engineering community.
in 2014, the EWN focuses on empowering women professionally and providing them opportunities
to network, to connect and to learn. The EWN hosts events throughout the year to
promote professional and skills development, mentorship, diversity and
inclusion—all important topics, particularly in STEM industries.
January 2018 study
on workplace equity found that women make up approximately 14% of
all engineering jobs, making it one of the least diverse STEM industries in the
country. Yesenia and Weir are looking to change that with company-wide
initiatives in 2019. As a female engineer, Yesenia strives to
encourage the next generation of female talent to pursue STEM and not follow
the status quo. Young girls reach out to her for mentoring and how to navigate
the engineering world.
October, the EWN hosted a panel discussion with three female Weir non-executive
board members: Mary Jo Jacobi, Barbara Jeremiah and Clare Chapman. Yesenia helped
organize the event and facilitated the discussion. With more than 35 women from
various divisions of the company, the conversation ranged from the challenges
women face within the engineering industry to the importance of empowering a
culture of diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
allows us to bring distinct individuals together, while inclusion gives way to
making each feel unique, yet a part of the whole and welcomed,” said Yesenia. “In
the [recent EWN panel] discussion, we explored the ways in which diversity and
inclusion help us collaborate and innovate as a business and how we can address
the challenges we face in this area.”
Weir-ESCO merger provided a unique opportunity for two companies with similar
cultures and values to come together and put a greater focus on improving
gender equality and diversity within our newly-combined teams. As a global
company operating in over 70 countries, Weir is committed to improving gender equality
and diversity across its global teams.
Yesenia's upbringing was centered on teaching and showing respect and empathy toward
others. In high school and college, she experienced inequality, because of her
gender and ethnicity. These experiences have driven Yesenia to always strive to
ensure everyone’s voices are heard and acknowledged. With a unique perspective
on diversity and inclusion, especially within traditionally less-diverse STEM
industries, Yesenia will continue to be a valuable resource within the EWN and
Weir as we continue to promote these important values.
“Advocating for and embracing a culture of
diversity and inclusion will pave a better and brighter future for Weir,”