Click here for menu Menu design element

Open a world of possibilities.

Interview
Assessor Spotlight: Simina Pascut-Siddiqui

March 8, 2022

Assessor Spotlight: Simina Pascut-Siddiqui

We sat down with Simina Pascut-Siddiqui to talk about her career from starting a quality control lab at a brewery in Romania to her current role as a program manager, technical services at SCC. Her career in quality assurance, auditing and assessment has spanned more than five countries which fostered in her a great openness to learn continuously from others.

Share this page Share This
Interview
Decorative image
Q.

Can you describe your current role at SCC? What has been the most rewarding part of this role so far?

A.

I joined SCC three years ago, as a program manager, technical services in SCC’s Accreditation Services branch, primarily working in the Laboratory Accreditation Program. My focus is on performing assessments for testing laboratories to determine if a quality management system meets the requirements of ISO/IEC 17025:2017 – General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories. In this role I gained technical knowledge in a variety of ISO standards and became qualified as lead assessor in several programs.

The most rewarding part of being an assessor is working with a team of colleagues and peer assessors who have backgrounds and experience in various fields. Diversity, openness, and transparency are critical in our field. Our collective experience helps us look at compliance to the standard in an unbiased way. I also really enjoy hearing from customers and learning about why accreditation is important to their laboratory operations.

Q.

Your career has focused on a range of roles in quality assurance and quality control. What led you to work in this area?

A.

After graduating with a degree in food engineering from Middle East Technical University in Turkey, I knew I wanted to work in the food industry. I started my career at one of the largest breweries in East Europe, in Romania. My manager, who happened to be the brewery’s general manager, encouraged me to become the quality manager of the entire brewery. I built a testing laboratory for different sections of the brewery from scratch – from setting up the space and getting the equipment, to hiring laboratory technicians to build the team. The analytical laboratory included beer chemistry, microbiology, beer can and water testing – a large complex of four laboratories in one.

I continued to explore my passion for food by completing a Master’s degree in food science and technology at Texas A&M University in the United States. I continued my work in quality control and assurance working for private and public laboratories in Calgary, Alberta, as well as starting my own business focused on encouraging microbreweries to implement quality control programs.

While I was working in a private laboratory in Calgary, we were externally assessed by an SCC assessor. I really enjoyed their style and how they approached the assessment by building a rapport with us to understand the laboratory’s work. It inspired me to explore the other side of the auditing bench, how I could become an auditor myself and get an opportunity to assess other laboratories in the same industry.

 

Q.

Are there examples where you overcame challenges in your career as you’ve navigated a male-dominated field?

A.

Throughout my career I’ve worked in more than five countries, and with each move I’ve had to re-establish myself and build my career again. While it has been a challenge, it has made me very adaptable, flexible, and has helped me relate to people with diverse backgrounds, ethnicities and variety of cultures.

Having credibility and a voice working in traditionally male-dominated industries and sectors has not been easy. My points often do not carry the same weight as those of my male colleagues. I have learned to be very intentional in ensuring my delivery is strong and impactful.

Q.

This year’s theme for IWD is #BreakTheBias. What does this mean to you and your work life?

A.

#BreakTheBias to me means accepting each other in the workplace for our skills, experience, and knowledge. Impartiality is incredibly important in my line of work. It’s an expected strength and a skill critical to the success of assessors. It is particularly important to champion other assessors and mentor them when I see potential regardless of their gender, background and ethnicity. Giving equal opportunities to assessors by encouraging them to become lead assessors supports them so that they can also take on leadership roles. Biases can come in many ways in our assessor world, so we need to be mindful and address them as soon as we notice them. Recognizing specific technical expertise, talents and strengths in our assessor pool helps us break unfair prejudices and keep empowering assessors to reach their full potential.

Tags: