Women in Technology: How Elke Ghersin became a sealing specialist
KLINGER Belgium’s Sealing Specialist Elke Ghersin finds success in reinvention.
As an 18-year-old nursing student, Elke Ghersin started on a very different path than the one on which she ended up. While she knew that she wanted to help people, she soon realized that medical training was not her true calling, and shifted to a sales assistant position at a gasket vendor. Now a gasket expert with decades of experience, she looks back with fondness at the learning curve of that first role, laughing, “When I got my first order for an O ring, I thought ‘Oh, they are selling jewelry.’ That was how much experience I had in the industry.” In dutch “oorring” means earring.
Nursing to gaskets: Elke's unlikely journey
It wasn’t long until Elke’s thirst for knowledge propelled her upwards, as her eagerness for training and self-study garnered the attention of her supervisors. She was quickly promoted to internal sales, then to a team lead role in the sealing department. While she loved the chance to work with people, she missed the technical aspects of her former roles. Then, KLINGER came calling. She made the jump from vendor to manufacturer, which gave her access to the research and development side of the business. Four years into her KLINGER journey, she’s energized by the constantly shifting demands of her role as a sealing specialist: “It’s quite diverse. I don’t think any two days are the same.” Her duties range from customer service calls to technical data reports, from on-site inspections to in-office brainstorming with internal sales.
With foresight and a sense for untapped potential, Elke Ghersin not only rides horses, but also the wave of success.
The importance of inclusive PPE
With so many years of experience, Elke has seen significant changes in the industry, though she points out that most occur gradually over time. Materials advancements in sealing media have widened the range of applications that the product catalog can cover, greatly increasing her range of expertise and her new colleagues’ need for training and mentorship. Upgrades in remote communication such as video conferencing have created new opportunities for long distance learning and international team events, creating a closer camaraderie among global colleagues.
One area where she hopes for more improvement is personal protective equipment for women. Too often, the standard sized equipment available on sites cannot be safely fitted to a petite person’s frame, and custom options for purchase are severely lacking. Hard hats that cover the eyes, reflective vests that fall to the knees, fireproof pants that reach up to the chest—all these safety products are futile if they are not correctly sized. Besides the obvious practical concerns, Elke also points out a more intangible issue: “If you look like you don't know how to dress, there goes your credibility. It would be a great business to make work wear that properly fit women’s shapes."
As part of her job, Elke is checking the torque on a flange for a pre-fabricated, modular hydrogen system KLINGER Belgium is building.
Discovering untapped potential
Across all of Elke’s talents, a recurring theme quickly emerges: she has a knack for seeing untapped potential. Whether it’s mentoring a colleague who is struggling to break through or identifying an untapped market for safety gear, Elke is the polishing cloth that takes a diamond in the rough from ordinary to outstanding. Besides her natural penchant for teamwork, Elke credits curiosity and persistence for her success, instructing, “Ask questions. Keep asking until you understand, even if you have to ask the same question twice. Some people just aren't that good at explaining themselves.”
For Elke, collaboration is not only a way to build a strong team, but also a way to share new knowledge. She speaks with excitement about upcoming travel for KLINGER, eager to expand her network of similarly talented colleagues. Each person has their own interesting journey to share.
“What you study at school is not your final destination. The world is at your feet, as long as you are willing to learn. That has been my motto for the past 20 years, because I had to reinvent myself completely. I love this so much more than I loved nursing. Don't ever be afraid to reinvent yourself. How boring would life be if we knew everything?"
Elke Ghersin, product Specialist at KLINGER Belgium
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
What is KLINGER Belgium known for?
KLINGER Belgium is a manufacturer and distributor of gaskets, sealing sheet material, packings, and other industrial products for various applications.
What types of sealing solutions does KLINGER Belgium offer?
KLINGER Belgium specializes in providing high-quality products that can withstand the toughest conditions:
Rubber / rubber-steel gaskets
Spiral wound gaskets
Ring Type Joints
Pre-formed graphite / autoclave packings
PTFE tape and band
Flange insulation sets
Spray shields / Flange protectors
Does KLINGER Belgium offer customized solutions?
Yes, KLINGER Belgium offers customized solutions to meet the unique needs of its customers. They work closely with their customers to understand their requirements and develop solutions that are tailored to their specific needs. KLINGER Belgium has a team of experienced engineers and technicians who can design and manufacture custom products to meet the most demanding applications.