In honor of International Women’s Week we are continuing our special Insights Series, featuring interviews with five dynamic women working at HARMAN. I enjoyed interviewing Caitlyn Rough, Business Development Manager for Restaurants and Retail of HARMAN’s Professional Solutions division and invite you to join me in celebrating her accomplishments by reading her story.
Q: Tell us about your path into New Business Development?
A: I started at HARMAN five years ago in the Elkhart office as a Business Development Analyst. That role gave me a wide reach into many areas of the business, from marketing to sales to operations. I was in a unique position to learn each area and vertical market, and I became passionate about the new business side. Today I help restaurants and retail innovate their customer experience.
Q: What is your favorite part of working at HARMAN?
A: Definitely it is that every day is different. Everything is changing. No customer is ever the same, no problem is ever the same, and no solution is ever the same.
Q: What are some traits you think great leaders possess?
A: Number one is being able to listen. You can’t lead without understanding. Also, any guidance that’s given must be relatable.
Q: What advice would you give people starting out in your discipline?
A: Embrace your strengths and your weaknesses. You can’t be good at everything, but the things you are good at will be your differentiators.
Q: What is your super hero power or your greatest strength?
A: When faced with a complex problem, I am good at looking at the big picture and coming up with action items for that solution. If you compare it to cooking, it is like looking at a table of raw ingredients and putting them together to make something really delicious.
Q: What steps do you take to achieve a work/life balance that works for you?
A: I have a daily and weekly checklist that I take the time to write by hand. I get a lot of satisfaction from checking off items from my list. Working out nearly every day is key to me for mental health, and enjoying time with friends and family. I have learned to keep weekends for myself now. Sunday is always for rest.
Q: Tell me about some of the challenges of working in an industry that has a lower percentage of female employees?
A: One of my biggest challenges starting out as a female in this industry was the tendency to question myself. I was very self-conscious starting out, being one of very few women on the sales side. Now I embrace the fact that I’m female, and I think it has helped my career in that I’m unique and there are not many of us.
Q: Who is someone you admire and why?
A: Coco Chanel is so inspiring. The way she forged her path was really transformational for the time. Nobody believed in her and she didn’t even fit the industry status quo at the time, but she grew into this legend and I admire her greatly.
Q: We’re constantly making things better, faster, smarter or less expensive. We leverage technology to improve processes. Tell us about a recent project or problem, where you leveraged this principle and how it helped the outcome?
A: I have found that time is the most valuable resource in any scenario, if you can tweak a process to reduce time and effort needed to successfully complete a task then you will be making it better and reducing future costs. Most recently, I helped a customer evaluate a failing system in one of their retail sites. There were several problems but the largest was that band-aids were being applied without future implications in mind and it was costing them thousands of dollars in service repairs. Our proposed solution gave the customer a completely updated video and control system at a fraction of the projected service costs.
Q: What’s a favorite book you’d like to recommend?
A: I try to read at least one new book a month that I can relate to in business or leadership (thank goodness for the Dallas Public library and Amazon Prime!) I read “Rework” by Jason Fried a few months ago and it stands out because it has a much different style then other books I have come across in the same category. If you want a quick read that gives some motivation to remove your excuse crutches, this is a good one.
Thanks again for reading Caitlyn’s story. If you would like to share any thoughts, please add them below in Leave a Reply. Be sure to check back tomorrow for another profile as we continue to celebrate International Women’s Week.