Manufacturing Success at Jabil, One Step at a Time
Beth Walters, Jabil’s Senior Vice President of Communications and Investor Relations, was selected by the Manufacturing Institute as a 2015 Honoree of the Women in Manufacturing STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) Ahead Award, recognizing her as a role model for other Jabil women and women in manufacturing around the world. The award is given to women who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in their careers. They represent all levels of the manufacturing industry, from the factory-floor to the C-suite.
“When I think about the fundamental premise of this wonderful award, I cannot think of a leader more deserving than Beth,” said Mark Mondello, Jabil’s CEO. “Beth has a tireless work ethic and displays total dedication and commitment, while leading with the highest degree of humility.”
Paving the Way for Women Leaders
Beth began her career at Jabil in 1992 as the company’s first Marketing Communications Manager. In 1998 she was promoted to Vice President of Communications and Investor Relations, the first woman in the company’s history to be named a VP. In another first, she was named Senior Vice President in 2010.
When Beth joined Jabil – at a time when there were about 2,000 employees and revenues of about $175 million – there was not formal Communication or Marketing departments; she had to build the entire function from the ground up. According to Beth, “Twenty-three years ago my first challenge when I got here was to look for ways to share and tell the Jabil story. Unfortunately, being a privately held company in a business-to-business industry, Jabil was used to keeping very quiet about the business.”
Beth took on Investor Relations responsibilities and helped to lead Jabil’s Initial Public Offering in 1993. She developed the company’s foundational Investor Relations (IR) strategy. “The opportunity to create and tell our story to investors was instrumental in building the Jabil brand outside of the company,” she said.
“Beth wrote the book for Jabil IR,” said Forbes Alexander, Jabil’s Chief Financial Officer. “Since then she has built a world-class IR program that not only impacts value for our shareholders, but positions Jabil favorably in the marketplace, which helps us win business.”
Fast-forward a couple of decades and Jabil has over 150,000 employees and is on track for revenues around $18 billion. Like the company, Beth’s responsibilities have evolved significantly in that time. Initially, she spent much of her time on presentations and meetings with investors; analyst and shareholder meetings; and writing annual reports. Nowadays, her typical day includes these activities (we all roll up our sleeves here at Jabil) and she focuses on furthering the Jabil brand, differentiation and value proposition via strategic internal and external communications programs and activities.
She has been successfully leading global programs and initiatives that have helped Jabil create a strong company culture and positioned Jabil as a thought leader in the marketplace. She has built a global team of professionals who craft and shape Jabil’s internal and external communications and investor relations initiatives.
Creating Jabil Programs with Real Impact
Some of her main accomplishments include the “Respect Recognize Reward” employee recognition program that celebrates the accomplishments of Jabil employees. More than 200 employees are recognized each quarter for supporting the company values and their contributions to the company.
Another program her team developed and runs is “Deliver Best Practices” a global competition in which teams of employees from around the world compete for top honors for their best practices. “Creating, building and growing this global best practices competition which celebrates Jabil’s unique culture and helps improve our company, is one of my proudest accomplishments. The competition inspires great ideas and continuous improvement and I have received tremendous personal satisfaction from this program. The feedback from our participants is humbling and I personally believe it is a tremendous indication of employee engagement,” she says.
“The Deliver Best Practices competition is an amazing program and the final day of competition, where teams from all over the world present their projects, is one of my favorite days of the year,” said Mark Mondello, Jabil’s Chief Executive Officer. “Beth and her team have managed to bring our culture to life through this competition and, as a result, have enabled some of our brightest employees to shine on the international stage; all while truly impacting our customer service, employee development, operations and commitment to social and environmental responsibility.”
The latest project Beth and her team have developed is Jabil Joules, an initiative that aims to build a more gender-balanced future at Jabil. The program provides a forum to educate, mentor and encourage networking and dialogue about diversity throughout the many cultures represented at Jabil with a special emphasis on helping women build their careers at the company. “I started Jabil Joules in an effort to share some of my success and help expand the representation of women at all levels of management here at Jabil and beyond.”
A Dream Come True
During graduate school when Beth was working on her Political Science Master’s degree, she had dreams of working as a diplomat. Little did she know that she would get that opportunity by working for one of the largest manufacturers in the world. “A big part of my job is talking about, building, enhancing and celebrating the culture at Jabil. I guess in some ways I am a Jabil diplomat and trying to bring us all together and build our culture around the world.”
According to Beth, every day brings something new; she never knows what is going to happen; and that’s what she really likes the most about her role at Jabil. “I thrive on change and believe that embracing change is a prerequisite for success at Jabil,” she said.
Beth Walters is Jabil’s Senior Vice President, Communications and Investor Relations. Beth joined Jabil in 1992 as Marketing Communications Manager and Prior to Jabil, Walters owned and operated a Public Relations agency in Tampa, Florida; served as Communications Director at the Tampa/Hillsborough Convention and Visitors Association; and as Graduate Assistant to the Director of Future Studies Program at University of Hawaii. Beth earned a Bachelor of Science in Political Science & Government from the American University and a Master’s in Political Science from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.