Changing Careers and The Importance of Mentorship

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Changing Careers

Aleksandra began her career working as a Quality Engineer at Phillips. When Jabil acquired Phillips about 14 years ago, she was responsible for the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) management system and standards. Aleksandra saw significant change in her career as she moved to business development where she originally started as a project manager. “I had to learn all the processes we have within the factory because in this position you have to overview everything for a customer from supply chain to shipping, manufacturing, quality and budgeting.” She was in this position for six years then moved to the business development management team. It was a big change for her  career, but she is very glad she did it.

The Power of Mentoring

Research has shown that women who have the presence of a mentor at some stage in their career are more likely to strive for promotions and gain confidence to reach their career goals and potential. Aleksandra is a product of the success of what mentorship can bring for women in business. Throughout her career, she’s been mentored by her current manager, Stuart Green, who has helped her to progress and develop within the business unit. In fact, it was Stuart that convinced Aleksandra to join the business unit, which she believes was a great career move for her. “He believed in me and showed me the way. Throughout my whole career I could always come to him and ask for support – he would always be willing to help me.” Mentorship can bring huge development to the careers of women and Aleksandra is a great example of this.

Climbing the Career Ladder

Aleksandra is very driven and has always aspired to leadership positions. As a women in the business unit team that successfully transitioned from quality, she is an inspiration to other females to take on new challenges and step out of their comfort zone in order to achieve success. Thanks to her technical background, she has always been able to talk about technical topics with her male colleagues and strongly believes that women are just as capable as men to be successful in technical and business positions. Despite that in the early stages of her new role, she experienced some reservations towards her as a business unit manager, this was quickly forgotten when they realised how professional and competent she is.

By occupying a business role, “you will never be bored as there is always something different going on and you will face different challenges everyday. Being in business is a great opportunity to meet new people and not only make professional connections, but also friends all over the world.” Without the support and encouragement from her mentor, she may never have had these opportunities.

Setting the bar high for herself and trying to succeed are personal goals for Aleksandra. The role of her mentor has also been critical to her career successes. “Women are often shy or think we are not capable of doing some things, but my mentor has opened my eyes and shown me that I do have the ability to move forward.” Aleksandra believes that for women, being open minded is crucial and building up good and trusting relationships with customers and colleagues has allowed her to climb up the career ladder.

Balancing a Busy Career with Hobbies

In addition to being challenged at work, she also thinks it is very important to take part in sports in her spare time. Outside of work, sport fuels her and she regularly takes part in  triathlons which helps her maintain her good mental health and well being. She has been doing these for the past three years and has completed over 20 in total. “When I am out on a run or on my bike, I notice that all my problems do not disappear, but I can see them from a different perspective. Doing sport helps me to look at things from a distance, so that even when I am physically tired, I still have energy.” This is an example of why it is important to maintain a healthy work – life balance and take part in activities that create positivity and improved mental well being.

Attracting More Women to Managerial Roles

In order to get more women into managerial roles, programs such as Jabil Joules create pathways that allow this to be achieved. Aleksandra preaches to women that “you are smart and have to take on new challenges and believe in yourself. When taking on a new role, nobody will know absolutely everything before they take it, but it will get easier and Jabil Joules shows that there many women who take on these challenges in their careers and are successful,”  highlights Aleksandra. “Before I was also afraid to take on new challenges but someone pushed me and today I am so glad that I did it. It is easy to be in a small shell, but if you never break out of it then you will never know what opportunities could be out there waiting for you.”screen-shot-2016-11-03-at-10-05-36-am

Aleksandra Obiedzinska is a Senior Business Unit Manager at Jabil’s site in Kwidzyn, Poland. She joined Jabil as a Project Leader in 2002. Prior to Jabil she was a Quality Engineer with Philips Electronics. Aleksandra holds a Master’s degree in Management and Economics from Gdansk, University of Technology with a specialization in Production Systems Organization and graduated faculty of Electronics from the same University.

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