From Ice Skates to Technology: the Mind Behind Con...

From Ice Skates to Technology: the Mind Behind Continental Aguascalientes

Technology company Continental will arrive in Aguascalientes in less than a year, aiming at revolutionizing the industry not only with its technological breakthroughs, but with the culture it will bring into the state’s business ecosystem.

The person behind this transformation is Ina Seterbakken, Aguascalientes’ Plant Project Leader, who from an early age learned to face challenges. Today she is taking on one of the most important in her life; making our state a benchmark of Industry 4.0.

It is truly a dream, an experience that’s fun everyday but also an incredible challenge because it means we have to offer the same conditions to the over 1,000 people who will be working here. We’re going to be in charge of creating a culture of trust, liberty, passion, and teamwork,”said Seterbakken.

She mentioned that Aguascalientes’ Plant will be key to the company’s growth within Mexico. She emphasizes that local talent is a great advantage and considers it to be the main reason for the company’s arrival. 

She also underlines that the high level of educational institutions, the infrastructure and connectivity, as well as the quality of life are factors that influenced their decision to choose Aguascalientes as their new home. “People have an open attitude and a positive mindset, which makes doing business much easier,” stated Seterbakken.

Natural Born Leader

Ina began her career at Continental when she was 19. At first, she worked under the dual model while she was pursuing a business administration degree at the Leibniz Akademie Hannover, in Germany.

Joining the company turned her life upside down. She was coming from professional ice skating, which would seem to have nothing to do with business, but to her, both worlds were similar in three aspects: discipline, attitude, and a little luck.

Both worlds have taught me discipline is important to reach your goals, and so is a positive attitude to help you face any situation.

Ina has been at Continental for more than ten years. She has worked in various departments, including quality, continuous improvement, and sales. This eventually led her to become the first company manager in Aguascalientes. As project leader, she has very clear objectives:

We want to satisfy our clients, promote environmental protection, and guarantee the health and safety of our employees and suppliers. We want to become the leaders of Technology 4.0.

An Example of Empowerment

Continental is a company that fosters respect, inclusion, and diversity. Half the managerial team in the new plant is made up of women, a fact Ina attributes to the state’s great feminine talent. She hopes her work can become a role model to other women who want to lead the best companies in the world.

“It’s not about favoring women, but we do have lots of feminine talent, and it shows. At Continental, everybody has the same opportunities. I hope I can inspire women in Aguascalientes by demonstrating it is possible to hold managerial positions regardless of age or sex.”