#38 Celia Pelaz about the drive for leadership


“When you are the only woman in the room, people will remember you. You have to see the positive side”, says Celia Pelaz, Member of the Management Board and Chief Strategy Officer at Hensoldt. Hensoldt is a German company with 6500 staff in 19 different countries, that develop high tech sensor and cyber security solutions. Hensoldt develops for example the sensors that serve as the eyes and ears of airplanes and provides high tech radars, that makes air traffic control possible. Their systems support and protect military and security forces in air, sea and land missions. “Obviously today diversity is the key to success, so we have set ourselves hard targets, by 2024, we want to have 35% women in leadership positions, so we will be more women in the room” she adds.

We talk about her fascination for technology, her respect and gratitude for the armed forces and role models. When asked about how she made to the top, Celia, who is an industrial engineer by training explains: “I wanted to lead because I wanted to change things. I sometimes felt a lack of respect. I realized that if I want to change things, I need to work hard and move up the ladder.” We also discuss what has changed since Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and the “Zeitenwende” in Germany. “The understanding for our industry has altered. In the past defence issues were put aside, defence was seen as a bad thing. Now the whole industry is perceived more as a necessity.” We talk about modern leadership, work life balance and self-doubt. Her advice: “At some point you simply have to know that you are good enough. In this, you are probably your biggest enemy.”

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