Title: Market director, North American industrial hose, Industrial fluid solutions
Robinson said when she was hired by the then-named Goodyear Engineered Products in 1997 as part of the New Hire Sales Program, she was the only female in the organization for a number of years as a technical sales manager.
"I stuck with it, and it was a male-dominated market, but I think a big part of it is having the right attitude and being open-minded," she said. "It helps to be open to learning and have good people who will help you learn, particularly when there is such a tough learning curve to the industry."
Robinson said there are more females in the hose industry today, but it's still a tough field to recruit people into. "It's not the most glamorous of fields," she said. "What we're doing, when we go into sales, we're at refineries, we can be at food processing plants, we can be at rendering plants. So it's maybe not always the ideal type of environment you would want to participate in."
There was one incident that made her angry about 10 years ago. She was on a sales call with a distributor, having a technical conversation with the engineer. "He stops me mid-sentence and says, 'Do you have a problem with people taking you seriously?' " Robinson said. "I paused, and my response was: "Why do you ask? Are you having a problem taking me seriously?' I was insulted by the way he said it. Then he said, 'No. That's why I'm asking you. I'm used to having female reps come in who don't know what they're talking about and dressed inappropriately. … But you're professional and you sound like you know what you're talking about.' "
Robinson answered that she didn't have a problem with people taking her seriously. "But then I left the meeting, thinking, 'I never want to go there again.' ... So that's the battle of being the female. You have to be better than everybody else in a male-dominated industry."