Title: eCommerce Operations Manager
Education: Bachelor's degree in communications from Bradley University
Organizational Affiliations: Vice president of 7x24 Exchange Intl., chair of the Marketing Committee for 7x24 Exchange, and chair of the WIMCO Committee for 7x24 Exchange.
2018 Shorty Award Winner in the Energy Category for the From Our Hands to Yours Campaign
What made you realize you wanted to pursue a career in technology?
In deciding on a career, I was attracted to marketing and advertising, but I have always loved science. It wasn’t until I came to Caterpillar that I realized that I could combine the two.
What three adjectives would you use to describe your journey in the industry so far?
Challenging, rewarding, and evolving.
What is your personal mantra?
Make a difference.
What is your most admirable quality?
Describe the highest point in your career so far and how you got there, including all the hurdles you had to jump (and the ones you tripped over too).
There are three ideas I conceived and made a reality that I am most proud of and consider the high points of my career.
In 2016, I presented the concept of donating a 3500 generator set to a worthy nonprofit recipient in honor of the launch of the 3500E engine and the 35ᵗʰ anniversary of one of Caterpillar’s most powerful engines to the large power system division vice president Tana Utley and her leadership team. Tana supported the idea that would go on to be an enterprise-wide initiative and multiyear event. The campaign consisted of two elements: the launch of the 3500E engine and a project to donate a 3500 generator set to a nonprofit organization. The giveaway, marketed alongside the launch of the campaign, served to reinforce the 3500’s legacy and to amplify Caterpillar's reputation. This unique partnership of business and philanthropy promoted Caterpillar's reputation while advancing social good and captured the attention of employees, dealers, customers, and external influencers. The donation of a 3500 genset to St. Luke Foundation for Haiti provided a powerful platform for Caterpillar to illustrate our purpose of helping our customers build a better world. This campaign never would have happened without the leadership and sponsorship of Tana Utley and the then 3500 product manager (now oil and gas vice president), Rodney Shurman, both of whom I admire greatly. I also could not be prouder of Caterpillar for its continued support of St. Luke’s Foundation for Haiti, which is committed to educating and caring for the poor of Haiti.
7x24 Exchange Women In Mission Critical Operations (WiMCO)
I approached the 7×24 Exchange board of directors — Bob Cassiliano, chairman and CEO; Cyrus Izzo, president; and Michael Siteman, chapter director — with the concept of WiMCO in 2015. The purpose of this effort was to increase the engagement and participation of women in the industry. My fellow board members immediately recognized the positive impact it could have on the mission critical industry, and they have supported and backed WiMCO and myself since.
WiMCO focuses on:
Recruiting women into the 7×24 Exchange organization.
Supporting WiMCO initiatives at the chapter level.
Promoting mission critical opportunities for women.
Providing leadership opportunities through the community.
Developing and supporting STEM initiatives, curriculums, scholarships, and programs.
Since the formal launch in 2016, WiMCO has grown to 11 communities within 7x24 Exchange chapters with hundreds of women from the industry engaging in our chapter communities and national conference events held in the spring and fall. WiMCO chapter communities are in Atlanta; the Carolinas; Delaware Valley; the Lake Michigan Region; the Midwest – Kansas City area; New England; Northern California; Ohio, Southern Texas; and Washington, D.C.
International Data Center Day
In the fall of 2018, I pitched the idea of International Data Center Day to the 7x24 Exchange board of directors to help address the problem of how to attract talent to the data center industry. In the year that followed, I led the initiative to launch the inaugural International Data Center Day on Oct. 19, 2019, which was lauded a tremendous success and celebrated globally. I continue to lead this effort through the 7x24 Exchange Marketing and WiMCO committees. This year’s event will be celebrated on March 24 and will again focus on creating awareness of the industry and attracting talent in addition to the following.
Providing resources to educate people about what data centers are and how they work.
Illustrating the importance of the data center industry on our daily lives.
Sharing information on pursuing a career as a data center professional.
Creating more opportunities for mission critical firms to recruit future employees.
All three of these initiatives presented numerous unique challenges — countless hurdles, many supporters and detractors, and plenty of trips and falls. The secret to the success of these efforts was:
Creating a vision that people wanted to be a part of and see successful.
Progress over perfection.
Strong organizational skills and project plans.
Flexibility — Be prepared to alter your vision based on resources, budget, or input.
The work of sponsors, leaders, mentors, advocates, and colleagues.
Humility — No large project can be done alone. Be inclusive and allow those with the needed resources or skill sets aid you in achieving your goal.
What aspect of the industry do you think has the most potential for growth, and, on the other hand, which aspect do you think needs the most improvement?
Diversity and inclusion has the most potential for growth and opportunity for improvement. Despite all of the documentation that diversity and inclusion improves business outcomes, the rate of diversity and inclusion adoption is slow. It is up to the people in leadership to look at people and opportunities differently if they want more innovative solutions and enhanced business results.
When you imagine the future of the technology industry, what does it look like?
I believe we will see dramatic change in the future with new and greener technologies. We will also see the advancement of AI. I hold and have held numerous positions that didn’t exist when I was in college. I believe we will continue to see this rapid technological advancement happen in the future, so adaptability, skill transfer, and education will be essential for success.
What is the most valuable life lesson you have learned so far and how has it helped you in your career?
The most valuable life lesson I have learned is resiliency. My dad’s favorite saying was, "Life is not fair. Instead of complaining, figure out a solution." This simple life lesson has helped me focus my attention on finding solutions and overcoming obstacles.
What three adjectives come to mind when you think about your future path?
Developing, dynamic, and meaningful.