What drew you to the rubber industry, and what has made your career in the industry rewarding?
I landed in the rubber industry by chance, or others may say by fate. I found the Rubber Division through an ad posted in the Cleveland Plain Dealer (who applies to jobs in the paper anymore?) for their marketing and membership assistant in February 2011. I was then promoted to membership manager in 2012, membership director in 2018, and membership and outreach director in 2020. I have found the rubber industry to be comprised of some of the most fun, caring, intelligent, well-rounded individuals, and I have enjoyed every minute of interacting within the industry. It truly has been rewarding connecting industry to academia through our training, conferences and networking opportunities.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
Professionally, my biggest accomplish would be going back to college at age 28 after having children at age 20 and 25; completing my bachelor's and then going straight into my MBA (finishing at age 34), all while working at the Rubber Division and as an executive assistant to Communications Coach Leslie Ungar.
Personally—besides raising two girls and being married for 20 years—I walked the Susan Komen 3-day 60-mile walk three times, which took more mental and physical training than anything else in my life. A close second would be participating annually in a two-week mission trip to Nicaragua, which takes more heart than I have on my own!
What do you count as your biggest failure and what has it taught you?
My biggest failure in life has been my ability to maintain my best physical health! I am constantly seeking that new diet or new health craze. However, I am proud to have steadily been exercising for the past 10 years and recently have lost 35 pounds.
I have learned that nothing comes easy in life and hard work and dedication lead to small and big victories!
Who or what inspires you?
I am inspired most when I am helping people be their best selves (myself included)! I am a forever learner and thrive on bringing out people's best qualities for the betterment of all.
Who were your career mentors, and what role did they play?
Leslie Ungar—the communications coach I have worked for part time since 2010—has been a huge influence in my life. She has taught me so many things about communication, leadership and life. She has instilled in me the importance of identifying my value, being able to communicate my value and then taking steps to protect my value.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
To have empathy and forgive. Not forgiving someone is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die.
If you were CEO of a company, what would you do first?
Hire Lakisha (Barclay-Miller, executive director of the Rubber Division)!
What would you tell someone considering a career in the rubber industry?
To come to Rubber Division to help them get their feet wet in the industry; through membership, training, research and networking!
In your opinion, what needs to be done to encourage females to pursue STEM-related careers?
To encourage females to join STEM careers, females in the industry need to be visible at career fairs, student events and social media, so that young females can see how feasible and fun it is!