#MyGrowth: Take the leap of faith

#MyGrowth: Take the leap of faith

By: Rachel Strother, Channel Excellence & Training

While studying industrial engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, Siemens hosted one of our National Society of Black Engineers sessions that led to my first internship in 2015. I had the chance to work for Siemens throughout my remaining years in college, and then I started full time in 2017 as part of the Technical Marketing Leadership Development Program. Now, I have the pleasure to be in Smart Infrastructure (SI) Channel Management with the Channel Excellence & Training team. My team supports new and existing channel partners’ effectiveness by providing the knowledge and tools for selling Siemens products.

 

Starting with Siemens as a college student was an incredible opportunity, and it taught me valuable lessons about owning and growing my career that I still follow today. I believe that “owning your career” means that you are always open to the opportunities presented to you, and that you also keep a growth mindset by staying curious, learning and experimenting with new ideas. Also, owning your career includes being able to visualize where you want to be within three-to-10 years, setting interim goals and accepting those opportunities that push you toward the direction you want to go.

 

Regardless of the outcome, there’s always a lesson in taking a risk. And career growth often benefits from it. Taking a professional risk is valid if it measurably aligns with your interim and long-term goals and your values. Just take the leap of faith.

 

While goal setting has been a critical component toward my professional development, there have been some impediments along the way, especially this year. This might sound strange, but I miss getting on airplanes. I miss the pre-pandemic traveling experience. About 60 percent of my career with Siemens has involved travel. I love experiencing the differences of our company and customers across the country, so not traveling can be a disadvantage when face-to-face interaction and in-person knowledge sharing is important. New ideas and initiatives can happen over lunch or work breaks. Just hanging out with customers and coworkers at the end of the day could buy 10 more minutes of opportunity that turns into a new project.

Owning your career means that you are always open to the opportunities presented to you, and that you also keep a growth mindset by staying curious, learning and experimenting with new ideas.

While goal setting has been a critical component toward my professional development, there have been some impediments along the way, especially this year. This might sound strange, but I miss getting on airplanes. I miss the pre-pandemic traveling experience. About 60 percent of my career with Siemens has involved travel. I love experiencing the differences of our company and customers across the country, so not traveling can be a disadvantage when face-to-face interaction and in-person knowledge sharing is important. New ideas and initiatives can happen over lunch or work breaks. Just hanging out with customers and coworkers at the end of the day could buy 10 more minutes of opportunity that turns into a new project.

 

Open dialogue has been key in adjusting during these unparalleled times. I’m a big fan of working meetings—getting on the phone with coworkers to brainstorm, collaborate and tackle tasks together while also checking in with each other. After training or working with our channel partners, it’s always important to follow up and be available to support their needs. Every day is a new day of adjusting to COVID-19 challenges. Take that minute to find out about your colleagues and business partners, and you’ll learn things you never knew. Time spent connecting with each other will always naturally lead to more collaboration and effective results. It also helps to develop real empathy for one another, and for what each person is dealing with.

 

Over recent months, the need for empathy and compassion became even more clear in the fight for racial justice. I’m very thankful that Siemens USA recognizes that silence is complicity. Events that happened this summer are realities that myself and many people of the black and brown communities experience as an everyday norm. From Siemens USA Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Nichelle Grant’s experience at a gas station to just picking up breakfast on your way to work, we are constantly faced with racism and microaggressions, simply by just existing. Siemens has firmly said that this is not acceptable and I’m glad that we as a company are amplifying the voices of our black and brown employees.

 

To ensure that such dialogue and engagement continue, we must invest in solutions that combat systemic racism. One area to focus on is our education system and uplifting the younger generations. I see Siemens USA making that connection with minority students. We can’t forget that many children in the U.S. don’t have access to the Internet nor adequate technologies in their public school. Our company can help close that gap because Siemens overall has already made many contributions to work-force development, education and STEM. I look forward to our continued role in predominately minority public schools and college organizations to help provide more opportunities for these students.

 

We work for a company that can and will change our society. And, together, we will do that because we’re not afraid to take that leap of faith.

 

Published: December 17, 2020