With the passion that Maria Rosario Doriott has shown for Women & Hi Tech, you might think she had been part of the organization for decades. Despite only becoming involved in 2019, Doriott, a Senior Staff Development Quality Engineer at Beckman Coulter Life Sciences, said she’s been looking for a way to get involved for quite some time.
“I became aware of Women & Hi Tech at least 12 years ago,” she said. “I had been a fan of them for so long that when Danaher, our parent company, recently launched a very large diversity and inclusion program I thought, ‘If I can’t sell this now, I never will.” I contacted Angela Freeman, President of Women & Hi Tech, and right away the Board was really fantastic and responsive to my enthusiasm to join. Soon I was given the green light for us to become a sponsor. Women & Hi Tech provided materials and made a presentation for women and friends at my company. The board members were here to enroll people on the spot, and the response was huge. The event was standing room only, and we signed up over 60 women in the first presentation alone.”
Since teaming up and serving as liaison for Beckman Coulter Life Sciences’ sponsorship, Doriott has continued to promote events and encourage everyone, not just women, to join.
“We’re seeing increased involvement and engagement from men in different areas of our business. They are seeing the value of the Women & Hi Tech message, and how aligned the organization is with our internal diversity and inclusion program.”
Much like her passion with Women & Hi Tech, Doriott has shown enthusiasm for all things STEM and education since she was a little girl. Hailing originally from Mexico, she recalled how her father served as a source of inspiration and motivation for her and her six siblings.
“I am the first one in my family in Mexico who attended high school. However, both my parents were highly interested in us finding an education. My father would routinely come to his five daughters and say, ‘I’ll tell you right now you’re not allowed to do anything until you bring me a college degree. Don’t even think about marriage or anything else. I don’t care in what, but it better be in something you care about. I am not going to have my daughters stuck in a place they don’t like because they can’t support themselves.’ That was the message we had as children.”
With a supportive family behind her, Doriott continued to show great promise in her studies. She recalled that while her sisters were asking for after-school ballet lessons, she instead opted for tutoring in both English and French languages (a life-changing decision!). But her drive to pursue STEM came after her father brought home a toy engine for her brother to assemble, only to discover it was Rosario that took the most interest.
“My father sat at the table to help with my brother, but he couldn’t care less. He was flat-out bored. I, on the other hand, was fascinated with the entire process. He explained to me all the parts and how they worked, we put the engine together and it worked! I had always enjoyed reading, but then I became interested in math and physics because that was a way to learn how things worked. All of this because of a small toy that wasn’t even for me.”
After graduating high school, Doriott decided to pursue electrical engineering studies at the prestigious Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education located in Monterrey, Mexico. Though she was the only woman in her program, Doriott said she never found herself flustered or turned away from her dreams. “It didn’t matter to me, I never thought of myself as being alone or different. I always wanted to carry my own weight, and no one is going to make me feel less-than or different. I respected them and they respected me (we are still friends, 40 years later!).”
After receiving her degree, Doriott found herself hired as a lead engineer for a new RCA plant opening in Mexico. Though she was only 22, she flourished as she established key processes for the factory, helped hire the rest of the engineering team, and served as a company leader for the new location. Soon she came to Indy and for 27 years, grew through the ranks at RCA/Thomson from component design engineer to Executive Management. Now in her role at Beckman Coulter Life Sciences, Doriott has continued to be an inspiration and community leader, a mentor and coach in her field (Quality and Design Controls), as well as for her own children.
“I have helped overcome the stereotypes for Hispanics and Women in Engineering. It’s so important to demonstrate that we are able to carry heavy professional responsibilities, at every executive and social level and with no compromise in either results or expectations of integrity and excellence. At the same time, and with the help of my husband, we have been able to raise a family, and my two children are happy and successful lawyers. All this happened while maintaining my sense of self without apologies for my gender or background.”
When asked what Doriott sees as the future for Women & Hi Tech, as well as the STEM field at large, she sees nothing but potential for growth.
“Our future is bright, we have unlocked a tremendous potential for society and for our STEM industries growth. How exciting it is to be a part of this group and to contribute my experience, passion and talent to motivate the next group of strong women to join a field where we can solve any problem!”