Title: Business Unit Sales Manager, Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC US (METUS)
Educational Experience: Bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and an MBA
What does your day-to-day job entail?
My day-to-day job involves managing a sales team primarily consisting of engineers, coordinating sales meetings and team updates, setting objectives for the business unit, assessing market conditions, and communicating with my peers in other regions to maximize the company’s success.
What caused you to/when did you fall in love with engineering?
Experiencing the actual application of solutions in real life caused me to fall in love with engineering. When I first started in engineering, I worked in air pollution control. Going to a job site, identifying the problem, and offering a solution was rewarding. In addition, I have been in sales most of my career. The rush of closing a job has always been an adrenaline boost.
What has been the most rewarding/proudest aspect of your engineering career?
Speaking to a group of leaders on leading with empathy is one of the most rewarding aspects of my career. I am proud our industry is looking at the softer side of leadership.
What challenges do women face in this profession? Can you give a personal example? Why aren’t there more women in engineering? How can we increase the number of women in engineering?
In the 30 years I’ve been in engineering, the face of engineering has changed. There are more women in engineering now. In elementary, middle, and high schools, girls are encouraged to pursue careers in STEM. But, change is slow, and sometimes we have to step back and look at the big picture to see marked differences.
How many years have you been active in the engineering sector? What’s changed the most in that time? What’s changed the least?
I have been in the engineering sector for more than 30 years. Job sites used to be an uncomfortable place for women, full of cat calls and foul language. I was asked for my college background before some people would work with me. I had to justify why a female was appearing on a job site. This has changed. Women are accepted, and I hope that young women no longer need to explain their qualifications. There are not enough women in senior leadership roles. It is still a boys’ club at the top. Women lead and conduct business differently and can often be the change a company needs to succeed.
What drives/motivates you every day?
I like that my children see me as a strong woman in a technical industry.
What remains on your engineering bucket list — what do you aspire to do that you haven’t accomplished yet?
I would like to challenge myself to move outside of sales and lead another division within the HVAC industry.
What’s one thing no one knows about you?
I am filled with wanderlust. My bucket list of places to see and experience is long. I’ve visited Africa, Australia, Costa Rica, Russia, and Scotland, among other places.
List any mentors who’ve helped you succeed and describe precisely how they’ve shaped your success.
My first boss was a gentleman named Bob Hahn. I worked at a company called Xerxes Corp. They made underground storage tanks and air pollution control equipment. Bob empowered me and treated me like a daughter, in some ways. He had me pay for dinners and events on my personal credit card to help build my credit. He was wonderful in offering advice. He taught me that customers cannot treat you poorly just because they are the customer. He would not let a customer or vendor bypass me to go directly to him. He taught me to ask for a tour at every manufacturing facility I visited. He supported my efforts to earn my MBA at night. I learned a ton working for him. When I resigned, he was happy for me to start a new job and begin a new adventure 300 miles away from home. Besides the fact that he was the best boss I ever had, he taught me that work was not just about the job. It was also about the people. That resonated with me.
I worked with a gentleman named Smiley El-Abd at the Morin Co. He was the vice president, and I was a saleswoman. I struggled at first. He pulled me aside, talked to me, and helped me get on track. When I left the company and went to METUS, he asked to come with me. He loved the technology and wanted to sell VRF. I eventually became his boss at METUS, and it was a strange switch to have a mentor working for me. He supported me as his boss as much as he supported me when I worked for him.
What advice do you have for prospective female engineers considering entering the field?
Find a mentor who will help you learn the ropes. Also, read Sheryl Sandburg’s “Lean In,” and make sure you contribute to the conversation.
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