What drew you to the rubber industry, and what has made your career in the industry rewarding?
I have always enjoyed the industrial sector, and have spent the majority of my career working around machinery, warehouses, plants and manufacturing facilities, so moving into the rubber industry a few years ago was similar, but a whole new world. This is rewarding to me because I am constantly learning something new, even if it does not always pertain to the details of my job. Learning from an expert in another aspect of the industry makes me well rounded and makes the team stronger. Being a part of a knowledgeable, fun, hard-working team has been the most rewarding part.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
Currently, I am in a position that I created myself. I was hired to do marketing at Texcel but saw a need to expand my position to include internal communications within the organization. Carving out my own path and making my career my own is something I am very proud of, and I am incredibly thankful to work for a company willing to give me a chance to do so.
What do you count as your biggest failure and what has it taught you?
I gave up on the first real job I ever had. It wasn't what I wanted to do, it was hard. I was working long hours for a supervisor I did not respect. I found the first job I could and left. I only lasted 6 months. The next job was not a good fit necessarily, and the manager who hired me left shortly thereafter and I was let go by the new supervisor. Meanwhile, at my previous company, the supervisor had been replaced and my former colleagues flourished. Perhaps I had given up too soon. I spent some time unemployed and lost a lot of valuable time and experience in my career. Since then, I look at rough patches in my job with an attitude of "this too shall pass." Instead of looking for a way out, I look for a way through it.
Who or what inspires you?
Professionally, I am inspired by people who are passionate about their work. No matter how I may feel about a job or a project, watching someone do something with passion is inspiring every time I see it because it is contagious.
Who were your career mentors, and what role did they play?
I have had the pleasure of working for several strong, trail blazing women. Being in the industrial sector for most of my career, it's often mostly men I'm working with, which has never been a bad experience for me. However, having female mentors enabled me to find a place for myself, a place I could not only survive, but thrive, within the industry. One supervisor stands out to me because she climbed the ladder honestly and with integrity. She worked, she had a family, and she was a leader. One time, she entered an executive meeting for the first time (after a promotion, I believe) and she was the only woman in the room. The director of another department, a man, asked her if she was there to take notes. This was more recently than I'd like to admit, but she handled it with grace and became one of the most respected executives at the company. She just did it, even when the odds were against her.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
The best professional advice I ever received was "It is not your fault, but it is your problem." I've repeated this to myself and my teams many times over the years. Looking deeper into this piece of advice it means a lot of things: Be a team player, find solutions, do not turn away from a challenge and strive to be a servant leader.
If you were CEO of a company, what would you do first?
Build a great team with people who are experts in their area. Of all the leaders I've known, they perform at their best when they surround themselves with people who have different strengths than they possess themselves. Diversity of experience and skill sets can make the difference between a good company and a great company.
What would you tell someone considering a career in the rubber industry?
For as large as it is, the industry is also incredibly small. People know each other, not just as business colleagues, but as people. Industry events are fun and upbeat. Professional acquaintances become friends.
In your opinion, what needs to be done to encourage females to pursue STEM-related careers?
I think it's just that—encouragement. Women need to feel supported in their endeavors. While STEM is traditionally mostly men, females have come a long way and occupy many important roles across companies who have STEM careers within them. There's absolutely nothing to fear. Go for it!