What drew you to the rubber industry, and what has made your career in the industry rewarding?
I started in the rubber industry my sophomore year of college. I applied for a summer internship with West American Rubber Co. and was fortunate to be selected as one of six interns. The rest is history as I never left the rubber industry and continue to work for West American Rubber Co. 15 years later. The growth that I have experienced over the years and the people that I have had the pleasure to work with have made this a rewarding career.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
My greatest achievement while working in this industry is the knowledge that I have learned while in sales and marketing and in human resources. Being able to help employees is rewarding and empowers me to continue on expanding my knowledge of the HR field.
What do you count as your biggest failure and what has it taught you?
The biggest failure would be the rejection that one experiences in sales. Calling on accounts and not being able to get an order is tough, however it motivated me to work harder and to not give up.
Who or what inspires you?
My family inspires me to keep learning and growing. I want to show my daughter that if we keep trying we can make our goals a reality. Nothing comes by quickly and it takes time, we must be patient.
Who were your career mentors, and what role did they play?
My career mentors were Jim deLeo, president & CEO of West American Rubber Co. L.L.C. through December 2018, and Steven Hemstreet, chairman of the board through July 2019. Both of these gentlemen were so important in my growth, they believed in me and encouraged my development.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
Be a mentor and pass your knowledge to others. If you don't then you will be stuck in a position because there isn't anyone else that can do your job. This was instilled in me by Mr. deLeo and I'm thankful for that advice.
If you were CEO of a company what would you do first?
I would walk around and introduce myself to all the employees and get to learn about them. Then I would focus on leadership training.
What would you tell someone considering a career in the rubber industry?
It can be a rewarding career with an abundance of opportunities and it's special to be a part of rubber manufacturing.
In your opinion, what needs to be done to encourage females to pursue STEM-related careers?
We need to expose them to science and technology early in their education and encourage them to study the disciplines. Those who show interest will be able to develop that interest and pursue a STEM-related career.