Wednesday, June 27, 2018

TEEX #WomenStepUp: Lesa Hill, TEEX Division Director, Knowledge Engineering

I think challenge is what keeps me coming back to solve problems and figure out a better way to do things. That’s what makes life more interesting. I love that TEEX is a service organization. We help our customers to be better in many different ways. That’s a big motivator and why I do what I do.

I also care about the people who work for me and I want to see them grow and succeed so that motivates me as well. I don’t mind someone making a mistake; everyone makes mistakes. But I believe you should learn from it and don’t keep making the same mistake.

If you feel you are not being heard, pick a time to talk to the employee or even superior, when you know they’re receptive and try to present your idea in a way they will understand. Use their language and understand their perspective. Sometimes it helps to find someone else they respect that agrees with you and ask them to pitch your idea as well. There is power in numbers. Sometimes you have to change your own position and look at a problem or idea from a different angle.

I think frequently we’re our own worst enemy, we can get stuck in our ways of doing things. You have to believe that you can make it and overcome whatever obstacle is in front of you. You have to have that dogged determination, never-give-up attitude and you have to keep learning and working.  We all go through difficult times but being determined, working hard, being creative and praying for the greater good has always helped me get through the hard times and generally end up in a better situation. Change is often good but it can be painful.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

TEEX #WomenStepUp: Gracie Zieman, Quality Manager at Accredo Packaging, Inc

What does a Quality Manager do? I manage customer complaints and internal non-conformances. I lead internal and external audits, maintain vendor management system, document control, running the QC lab, and other miscellaneous tasks. Plus, I really like my job. I have always been interested in manufacturing. I have an engineering degree. I went to an engineering school that was already 75 percent men, so I already had experience with being the only girl in the classroom or the only girl in the meeting.

I realized that I really like big picture process; not necessarily inventing electronics or looking under a microscope; something tangible, instead of being focused on one little thing. Manufacturing is a great example of that--there’s a lot of things you can do in manufacturing besides running the machines and developing the product. You can help develop the process, the procedures, and the policies, that kind of thing. I’m much more interested in the whole process.

Many people take quality for granted--they just don’t realize how important it is. Realistically, footage per minute is what’s really important, but Quality Control is important In a different way. It’s what keeps the doors open. We have audits that we have to pass. If we fail just one audit, we could lose half our customers. People say, “Audits, that’s Gracie,” or “Procedures, that’s Gracie, she’ll handle it.” Quality Control is usually a very small department, but it’s integral to the customer experience.

As the Quality Manager, I have to investigate customer complaints, which can come from any process. You have to understand the processes well enough to know what went wrong and how we can fix it. Actually, I don't know how to run the machines, I don't know all the technical, mechanical aspects of it, but I do know enough about it after 4½ years of working at Accredo to figure out what happened.

My biggest daily challenge is that while I like Quality Control because it's big picture, it's also inherently negative. So, if I don't have anything negative to say I don’t show up to the meeting. They know If I do show up, something is going on. It's really hard to convey negative information, to tell somebody that they did something wrong, and that I have to investigate. I try to be positive and try to encourage them and find something good to say.

I take a lot of pride being the Quality Manager for Accredo because I help the company have a good relationship with the customers. Customer complaints are such a big part of my job, and if I can react quickly to the customer, if I can be helpful, if I word things well, using please and thank you, it really changes the dynamic of the conversation.. We also get a lot of positive feedback as well. It's gratifying when I hear from customers complimenting me or telling me that our responsiveness is better than their other vendors. Customers appreciate that they can get a quick response from Accredo, and I work really hard to accomplish that.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

TEEX #WomenStepUp: Jennifer Linnell, Veterans Program Coordinator

Jennifer Linnell at Texas
 State Capitol for
Women Veterans Day
I have always been a very motivated and persistent person. When I joined the Navy, my recruiter really pushed me to excel. She was a builder in the Navy and had overcome a lot to reach her goals. She told me that the rate I had chosen was mostly male-dominated, but not to let that get me down—to use it as fuel to light my fire and to keep pushing. She wrote to me every week while I was at boot camp. I would like to have the same effect on the women that I work with at TEEX. My goal is to always serve those who serve.

When I came out of the Navy, I felt like I could do anything. I would like to help all the female veterans who pass through my doors to also feel empowered by their training and believe in themselves. I can use all the resources that TEEX and the Veterans programs have to help these veterans to find new careers in whatever they choose--male-dominated or not.

Today I was able to attend the first ever #WomenVeteransDay on the front steps of the Texas Capitol in Austin. While I watched the crowd and listened to the speakers, I received even more motivation.

When women help each other, we all rise.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

TEEX #WomenStepUp: Ashley Ordener, Project Manager II, Facilities Planning & Construction, Texas A&M University System

I originally wanted to go into Architecture. As a part of that degree, I took a Construction Methods and Materials course and I really liked that. I liked being in the middle of construction and fitting the pieces together. I really liked to see something being built out of nothing. You start with a blank piece of land and then build something that will last generations and will help people grow and develop.

The biggest challenge that I’ve faced in this profession is getting respect because I also look very young. I overcome that challenge by knowing my field, doing research and I don’t back down when I know something is right. As long as you know what you’re talking about, then others in the profession will respect you. With that knowledge and a passion for what you want to do, confidence grows. I have pride in what I do, so if I do face a challenge, I can step up and stand my ground. If I’m not completely sure of the what I’m talking about, I’ll back off, do research and then come back even stronger.

If there is a career that you want in a traditionally male occupation, don’t be discouraged. Do your homework, study, meditate, grow, and then put your mind to it. You can do it and you’re actually stronger than what you think.