Celebrating International Women’s Day: an interview with Theodora Levanti-Rowe

We are proud to celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March as a special opportunity to shine the spotlight on women working in the garden and outdoor power equipment industry, highlighting unique experiences and expertise, and what led them on this career path.

We share with you the story of Theodora Levanti-Rowe, Outdoor Power Equipment Economist within the AEA (Agricultural Engineers Association) as well as an active expert in EGMF, highlighting her key role and motivation in shaping our industry!

What does your role involve and what are your responsibilities?
My role as is to provide a dedicated service for the OPE membership. In addition to the market and trade data analysis and forecasting, day-to-day work includes the review and analysis of industrial, economic and policy issues and presenting industry updates to the Board, Councils, Special Interest Groups and outside audience. It also includes examining and responding to consultation papers, providing evidence for lobbying and liaising with government departments where necessary.

Additional responsibilities relate to the AEA Training and Education initiatives and the Land-Based Engineering Apprenticeship Schemes which promote the attraction and retention of skilled staff for the industry.

What initially interested you, and led you to this industry?
Entering the industry was by pure chance, but staying in the industry for so many years was by choice. The attraction that has kept me in my previous roles in market research and product development as well as the current one, is the consistent transformation and innovation in order to meet customer demands and the fast adaptation of technology for example the introduction of ever more powerful and enduring Li-Ion battery driven products, autonomous lawnmowers and GPS driven robots.

Do you have any insights or advice for other women who may not have considered this sector as a possible opportunity for them?
Although many women have an affinity to gardening and nature, many are wary of a career in the sector due to the perception of male dominance. Like in many other manufacturing and engineering industries, this is changing, as there have been advances/changes in attitudes thanks to the tenacity of the women who have stuck with it and are now playing key roles in management, engineering or as entrepreneurs. Showcasing the inclusivity of the sector also within its associations can hopefully encourage other women to put themselves forward through all levels of the wider industry and be recognised for their achievements and skill.    

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I envisage myself working still in the industry and excited that my tasks will not only include,  highlighting to public and regulatory bodies the importance of the industry in manufacturing and employment and ensuring that legislation is not impeding the ability to innovate in the future but also support the fast transition to climate neutrality and circular economy.