From my software development internship to my digital team leadership, I hope to inspire you to create a meaningful culture and consider an internal career move before an external one.
Growing up at Siemens
I was raised at Siemens, at least in terms of my professional life. I started as an intern, sneaking in extra hours in yoga pants and hoodies in between classes. Then I landed my first job doing new product introduction in medical devices. I sat right next to the manufacturing window where every day I would watch people assemble devices that would soon change peoples’ lives. I was in awe that one small piece of technology could make such a meaningful impact on others’ lives. I knew I wanted to keep that feeling moving forward, professionally and personally.
Almost 12 years later, I have worked for three different divisions – Mobility, Digital Industries and Healthineers – in five different states across the U.S. in roles ranging from software development, product engineering and strategy. During these formative years of understanding who I was – both as a professional and as a person – and who I wanted to be as a leader, Siemens created an environment that fostered growth rather than stifle it, including sponsoring my advanced degree. Now I’m applying all of my lessons learned as the head of the ITS Digital Lab, a Mindsphere Application Center for Siemens Mobility – Intelligent Traffic Systems, in Austin, Texas.
Working at the Digital Lab is like having my own startup inside of Siemens. My team is focused on applying artificial intelligence to transportation applications (think traffic lights run by A.I.). We’re a small team and on any given day I might be working on a customer co-creation workshop, product strategy, creating marketing material, working with the development team and giving feedback or focusing on how to create the most welcoming culture. Being so close to innovation and being given the freedom to create the culture at work I’ve always wanted inspires me and has me excited to come to work every day.
One of my favorite aspects of this team is the team itself. We have nine people from eight different countries, all with a wide range of experience. Having a diverse team not only keeps me on my toes as a manager, but also helps us approach problems in different and more creative ways (our company potlucks are the best, too). This team wasn’t created by coincidence. I hated the preconceived notion that there’s no diversity in computer science. So I took it as my personal challenge to counter that. I went to different recruiting fairs and reached out to professional organizations outside of the Siemens network to find a new pool of talented employees. I think this speaks to one of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my professional career so far at Siemens: you don’t have to be tied to the culture of a company. You can change it.
That lesson holds true with everything from culture, to seemingly small projects like digitalizing the manufacturing floor by moving the work instructions and instrument testing workbooks into a digital platform. The latter is still one of my favorite projects during my time at Siemens. I’ve spent my career seeking ways to champion growth. It’s the idea of being incrementally a little better each day, whether that’s about paperwork processes, company culture, or my passions outside of work.
When I’m not at work, I coach and participate in Olympic Weightlifting. I actively coached for four years while living in Boston and what I really loved about it was helping others incrementally fix things. I was fortunate enough to train several people through regional competitions and will cherish those memories for a lifetime. For me, having fitness as an integral part of my life makes me not only a better person, but also a better manager. It shows me that I can overcome anything and not give up when things get hard or are new. I try to extend that patience and that “grind” mentality to everything I do. Because no matter the task, I believe we can all be at least 1% better each day.
The culture Siemens has created with non-judgemental flexibility has allowed me to chase my passions inside and outside work. Each day I’m showing up to make the lives of all commuters better and Siemens Mobility and meanwhile enriching my own personal life.
Read more inspiring stories of our Digital Minds on http://www.siemens.com/careers/digitalminds