Title: Commercial Marketing Manager
Company: Eaton, Power Quality Division, Critical Power Solutions Business Unit
Education: Bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Michigan State University
Organizational Affiliations: Member of Her Spark and Toastmasters
- Eaton’s Leadership Effectiveness Acceleration program participant, 2008
- Eaton’s Future Leaders Zone program participant, 2014
What made you realize you wanted to pursue a career in technology?
I grew up helping my dad with projects around the house and in the garage. He was an engineer for General Motors, where I also enjoyed visiting his office to see new technology being developed, including GM’s first electric vehicle in the '90s. I had a natural love for STEM in school and solving problems, so I pursed an engineering career.
What three adjectives would you use to describe your journey in the industry so far?
Diverse, educational, and dynamic.
What is your personal mantra?
Adapt, grow, and share your experiences.
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 and too).
My whole career has been with Eaton, and, looking at it holistically, I can slice it into two phases. In the first phase, I was in engineering or engineering management roles for 11 years. The second phase was a transition for me into sales and marketing. While I still get excited about the engineering side, the move to sales and marketing was the high point so far in my career, because I thought it would never happen.
Interestingly, when I was interviewing for jobs out of college, I had one company offer me a marketing role. I had no idea how my interview for an engineering position turned into an offer for a marketing role, but they saw something in me that I had yet to learn about myself. Fast-forward 10 years and several engineering roles later, and I applied internally for a product manager role. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, I didn’t get that one. But, I did meet some great people, and I left a good impression, which helped me get that pivotal role as a product manager a year later.
All the experiences I’ve had, from designing equipment to quoting engineered solutions and managing turnkey mission critical projects, were building blocks of knowledge that uniquely prepared me for the sales and marketing transition.
What is your most admirable quality?
It’s hard to pick just one! Joking aside, I’m a people person, through and through. I've built relationships throughout my career that have enabled me to learn and add value in each role. As I gained experience, I was able to then share that knowledge with others, collaborate with diverse teams to accomplish goals in the most optimal way, and have fun with my colleagues. Last, I love being a mentor and working with students — especially young girls — to share my passion for STEM and hopefully inspire them to consider a future in a STEM career, like I did. We need more women in STEM careers!
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?
As I mentioned, we need more women in the industry, and the conduit for women to get into this industry must start at an early age by encouraging young girls to love all things related to STEM. In the marketing side of my career, I work with a lot of women, but on the engineering side, I was often the only woman in the room. This is where I see our biggest growth potential as an industry.
The area where we need the most improvement is in security. There is an ever-present threat from hackers to undermine critical systems that make our world operate and protect our country and personal information. You can look at the recent hacking of SolarWinds’s Orion software to understand the depth of damage if we become complacent. These hackers are constantly evolving and so must our security requirements as an industry. We need to always be ahead of these bad actors.
When you imagine the future of the technology industry, what does it look like?
Connected and green. As an industry, we keep adding features to existing technologies to make them smart and connect these devices to databases, where we can analyze the data and make decisions. As an industry, we currently manage most things reactively, but with AI capabilities and the continued growth of our knowledge database, the shift to predictive analytics will be transformational to the industry. This is the connected piece.
Eaton, and many other companies, have made commitments to significantly reduce their carbon footprints. Green initiatives are the key to achieving these goals. Transitioning to and continuing to evolve efficient technology, like emersion cooling, is one aspect. The other aspect is using alternative energy sources and trying to reduce fossil fuel usage (i.e., alternative energy sources, like solar and wind power).
What is the most valuable life lesson you have learned so far and how has it helped you in your career?
This is a hard one, because two really come to mind, but I’ll go with having the grit to persevere. My engineering mindset is naturally inclined to solve problems. I don’t just ponder the possibilities, I take action to find solutions, even if it takes me several tries. I learned early that if I persisted in trying to solve a problem, like fixing some widget around the house, I was always able to find a way to make it work. Those early successes rewarded my confidence, and I have been solving problems ever since.
What three adjectives come to mind when you think about your future path?
Expansive, evolving, and inspirational.