Lolita Vazquez

Working in the Migros Group

«You have to be brave and just go for it»

At 33 years old, Lolita Vazquez is deputy head of production in the orders department of the Elsa Group, in Estavayer-le-Lac (FR), in a traditionally male-dominated field. But things are changing.

Ariane Gigon

Did you always want to do the job you’re doing today?

Initially I wanted to be a chemist. But during my studies, I missed the living aspect of the subject. That’s why I went from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) to the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Western Switzerland (HES-SO) in Sion, where I completed a Bachelor of  Science in food technologies. I then joined the Elsa Group, initially on placement, then in product development. For nine years I developed and analysed new recipes, as a chemist might do, but with all the challenges and delights that food can bring.

What difficulties have you faced in your journey?

I’m not from an academic family and no one around me knows anything about my field. I had to work it out for myself. At HES-SO, because I was able to skip first year since I'd successfully completed EPFL, I had to do the first and second year microbiology course at the same time, which is quite hard when you’ve no clue. I worked hard, but I was always very motivated.

Your field is considered to be fairly male-dominated. What is your experience of it?

My experience is pretty positive. I don't think of my work as being masculine, though it’s true that it was men who traditionally held this role. That’s gradually changing. Females make up 20% of our sector in production. In my new job, which I’ve been doing since August 2022, I have a female boss. Three of about 10 of us are in managerial and deputy roles. The important thing is that we find our work interesting and enjoyable. After that you have to be brave and just go for it. I love learning new things all the time.

Has the company supported you?

In my first job my boss helped me a lot. There are almost 700 people in the Elsa Group and lots to learn! The company also offers many jobs and development opportunities which allow you to progress both professionally and personally. You can also use new tools and share ideas with other parts of the Migros Industie, which sometimes have solutions to known problems. I’m currently training in management. I have a team of 29 people in total.  I love the dynamic of our profession and this culture shift which is happening slowly but surely!