What drew you to the rubber industry, and what has made your career in the industry rewarding?
I began in the rubber industry 34 years ago as a computer programmer with Goodyear. I was drawn to the company by the strong brand name and recognition. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to work in many different functional and business roles. Goodyear is an interesting place to work because it is a global manufacturer and a retailer. Because of this, there were many challenging roles that I was able to fill. In my current role, I have the opportunity to learn about the Latin American cultures and the commercial and OTR businesses in the Latin American countries. In addition, as we move into the future of mobility, it makes working in the rubber industry quite rewarding.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
I worked on the goodyear.com E-commerce project for consumer and commercial products. It was a great achievement because it was an industry-leading initiative, which offers an opportunity for consumers to buy tires easily and conveniently while driving business to our aligned dealer network for installation and other services.
What do you count as your biggest failure and what has it taught you?
In terms of my career, I may have stayed in a few jobs too long. For several reasons, these jobs were not challenging me or created excess stress for me. I learned over time to keep challenging myself by taking on roles that were a stretch for me. In the end, it usually paid off.
Who or what inspires you?
Strong women in leadership positions at Goodyear and in similar industries such as automotive, chemical, transportation, etc.
Who were your career mentors, and what role did they play?
I have had numerous mentors throughout my career at Goodyear. Early on, I participated in a mentoring group formed by a women's network. I was introduced to a group of women and we discussed challenges and opportunities that we were experiencing. I also had a mentor later in my career who worked with me to improve the perception of my leadership skills. I have always believed that mentors are a critical part of your career, and now I often mentor others who reach out to me for advice.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
Keep challenging yourself. Whether it is within your current role or a challenge in your next role. Do not become too comfortable or complacent.
If you were CEO of a company, what would you do first?
Whenever I change jobs, I try to learn as much as I can in the first six months. Listening skills are very important during this period. I want to understand why things are the way they are before looking at making changes. Then I work to build up trust within my team and, together, we move the business forward.
What would you tell someone considering a career in the rubber industry?
I truly believe that the automotive industry and therefore the rubber industry is moving into a very exciting period. The future of mobility is happening with growth in fleets, autonomous vehicles, connectivity and EVs. It is a period of extreme innovation, which could make for a very fun and exciting career.
In your opinion, what needs to be done to encourage females to pursue STEM-related careers?
Goodyear currently sponsors a STEM career day program, which encourages high school students to learn about careers in STEM fields. I believe there needs to be more programs like this one to show females the great opportunities there are in STEM-related careers. At these types of events, female students will see firsthand the innovation that is occurring at Goodyear and in the rubber industry. Also, I believe companies within the rubber industry need to seek out females graduating with degrees in STEM disciplines at career fairs. We need to display and explain all the technological innovations occurring in this industry today.