What drew you to the rubber industry, and what has made your career in the industry rewarding?
After graduating college, I was focused on starting a career in marketing. It's safe to say tires weren't top-of-mind for me back then, but a neighbor got me intrigued by an entry-level marketing opportunity at Yokohama. After getting the job, I've had tires on the brain ever since. I did not expect to spend my entire career in the industry. But when you consider the amazing people within our industry it's no wonder I stayed.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
Perhaps my work on our Advantage Associate Dealer Program has been my greatest achievement at Yokohama. Our new program seemed to be influential in the industry. I certainly can't take credit for the concept., but I played a big role in figuring out how to bring it to life. We launched Advantage in 2003, and to this day, I enjoy working with our sales leadership team to continuously evolve the program.
What do you count as your biggest failure and what has it taught you?
I suppose along the way, I've had a few hiring mishaps (like when my new hire gave two weeks notice after one week on the job). But I now feel better equipped to spot the resilient, determined, roll-up-your-sleeves-and-get-it-done kind of people who keep this industry moving.
Who or what inspires you?
There's actually quite a few things that inspire me: strong leaders, eager employees, enthusiastic customers, the excitement that comes with a new project, overcoming a big challenge and having the next one waiting to be tackled, and of course, my family.
Who were your career mentors, and what role did they play?
I was a bit shy, especially early on in my career. My mentors were the ones who saw beyond my quiet approach, recognized my abilities and gave me projects with increasingly more responsibility. They expected a lot from me, and that helped me grow.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
"Do what's right, not what's easy."
If you were CEO of a company, what would you do first?
Better quality chocolate in our vending machine. Sorry, I don't have a real answer for this one.
What would you tell someone considering a career in the rubber industry?
Run! Kidding... we all know it's an amazing industry to work in. Perhaps, I'm spoiled by working for Yokohama for so long (which truly has a family feel about it), but beyond the company I work for, the customers I've met along the way are equally awesome. Most everyone is down to earth. We work hard in this industry, but we don't take ourselves too seriously.
In your opinion, what needs to be done to encourage females to pursue STEM-related careers?
Starting young helps, but perhaps high school is the most important time to reach females about STEM-related careers. By this age, most know if they have the aptitude for it, but they may only have a vague understanding or appreciation for what their life would be like in a STEM-related job. Giving high school students more access to talk to real people about real STEM opportunities might help them feel more prepared when selecting their college major.