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01 Mar 2024

When passion meets purpose: Meet Supriya Suhale

Beckhoff Automation Stand: D025
When passion meets purpose: Meet Supriya Suhale
Supriya Suhale, Beckhoff Automation

Females are carving a clear path in Australia’s fast-growing fields of STEM. One such example is Supriya Suhale, Category Manager for Beckhoff Automation Australia. 

Most recently, Supriya was nominated in the category of Emerging Leader at this year’s APPEX 2024 exhibition and has since been invited to participate in a panel discussion at the APPEX Women in Processing and Packaging event, a true testament to her hard work and dedication in the automation sector.

Looking back to where it all started, Supriya believes that engineering chose her as much as she chose it. And in a world where choices shape destinies, her journey in the field reflects a blend of curiosity, creativity, and commitment to positive change. 

“I was always a curious person and knew I wanted to pursue a career in STEM. Engineering offered a career that allowed me to be creative whilst also solving problems,” says Supriya. “Engineers make a difference and change the world every day, and to be a part of that positive change appealed to me.”

Along the way, Supriya acknowledges that she did encounter some roadblocks. “I felt a bit lost at times. The pivotal moment came with the guidance of mentors helping me define my goals and navigate the way to a role that aligns best with my skills.”

Supriya’s hard work at Beckhoff paved the way to her becoming Beckhoff Australia’s first category manager for its fastest growing category. “I started working for Beckhoff in 2018, initially as an internal sales engineer. In 2019, I was promoted to product specialist for Beckhoff’s range of IO products – covering digital, analog and special protocols. In May 2023, I was made Category Manager – Connectivity.”

The industry has come a far way and platforms such as the APPEX Women in Processing and Packaging event continue to put females in STEM on the map. “More companies are making in-roads when it comes to inclusivity, addressing systemic barriers and unconscious biases,” says Supriya, emphasing that the dialogue is moving in the right direction.

“I’m so proud to be part of a company that supports the advancement of females in the workplace.”

When asked how local manufacturers can promote further inclusivity, Supriya says that proactive measures such as inclusive dialogue, supportive measures for returning professionals and advocacy from company leaders are key to further enhancing gender balance in the workplace. 

“Believe in yourself, embrace challenges, seek mentorship and don’t be afraid to carve your path. Your unique perspective and talents are needed in the industry to make a difference,” she says.

Looking ahead, Supriya’s career goals include expanding the category’s nationwide reach, recruiting new team members, and advocating for new starters in automation. “In the long run, my goals involve advocating automation to everyone, especially to women looking to start their career in Engineering. I plan to initiate more conversations, promotional efforts, and encourage participation of young STEM enthusiasts in industrial engineering through mentorship and outreach initiatives, providing accessible resources for their education and development” she concludes.

Visit Beckhoff Automation at APPEX (stand D025) from 12 to 15 March 2024.

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