Réka Aczél: Bravely Facing the Challenges

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Réka Aczél, Global Category Manager of Indirect Procurement at Jabil, is one of the 14 Champions actively working on our Jabil Joules initiative in Europe. Réka and her team implemented various programs that help incorporate diversity at all levels and help foster a creative culture at Jabil Tiszaujvaros, Hungary.

An Inquisitive Young Woman

At only 12 years old, Réka decided she wanted to be a software developer. While all of her classmates played on Commodore 64 computers, she was more interested in the logistics: how the background scenes were created to depict the movement of people on the screen. It was this fascination that led her to continue her studies at a technical school. In her class of more than 600 students, she was one of only 20 females.

Réka began her professional career 19 years ago at General Electric (GE), where she worked in the technical field. Her first project was to write software to support production of the fluorescent lamp. This project allowed her to gain experience about technology and process not only on the shop floor but also in other functional areas. After a few years, she changed companies and extended her areas of expertise to planning and sales and inventory control. Equipped with a thirst for knowledge, Réka values asking questions and turning every challenge into a learning opportunity.

Seeking the Right Balance

A few years ago, Réka came to the realization that she was spending too much time at work and not enough time at home with her family. With the support of her manager at the time, she sought out a coach to help her find the harmonious balance between personal life and work. While it isn’t always easy, she says remembering Anna Jozwicka’s advice to stop trying to be Miss Perfect is helpful.

The Importance of a Diverse Workplace

In her current position, she is faced with the challenges of working with individuals from different countries, different cultures and in varying time zones. Reka 2However, she enjoys being a part of such a highly diversified team that leverages different personalities and skill sets. She is tasked with different jobs on a regular basis – one day she could be working on a forklift related tender, and the next she is concentrating on a medical service related project. She is motivated by doing different jobs and identifying optimum solutions for all sites.

Launching Jabil Joules in Tiszaujvaros

New to Hungary, the Jabil Joules team is still in the development stage. However, the events that have taken place thus far have contributed to making Jabil’s community a stronger and better place. Almost a year ago, Tiszaujvaros management team (Human Resources, Finance, Business, Functions and Operations) fully supported the Jabil Joules initiative by painting dedicated parking places for pregnant colleagues on site. By understanding the needs of others, the team is actively seeking ways to help the local community and is looking forward to future involvement including Breast Cancer Awareness Month and handcrafting decorations with employees’ kids around the holidays.

Réka and the rest of the Tiszaujvaros Joules team are currently working on developing a Jabil camp program to provide a safe place for children to go daily during their 11-week summer break while their parents are working.

The Joules team takes pride in sharing stories and best practices across all Jabil sites. “We have a lot to learn. We don’t always see the end of the road, but we always find our way,” says Réka, “I’m very excited with what we will accomplish by supporting each other!”

20150905_aczelreka (1) (1)Réka Aczél is a Global Category Manager in Indirect Procurement at Jabil. She joined Jabil in 2010, after spending four years on maternity leave with her daughter and son. Prior to Jabil, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Financial Management from the Budapest College of Management (AVF) and has an additional degree in Computer Programming. She started her career at General Electric 19 years ago and has since served in many roles across different functional departments including HR, Logistics, Planning, Sales, Inventory Control and Purchasing. Réka is also Six Sigma Green Belt and Lean Silver certified. 

Jennifer Foster: Leading the Digital Supply Chain

image (3)Jennifer Foster, Senior Manager of Solutions Innovation at Jabil St. Petersburg, is changing the landscape of how we think about supply chains. As one of seven nominees of this year’s 2016 Women in Manufacturing STEP Ahead Award, Jennifer is successfully leading efforts in digitizing one of the most complex and advanced supply chains in the world.

Jennifer works with architects and experts across many technologies to bring a world-class supply chain experience to the customer. She’s helping Jabil transform from a traditional Electronics Manufacturing Services provider to a true product realization company.

In her current role, she supports the digitization of Jabil’s supply chain.  Jennifer is helping transition Jabil supply chain from spreadsheets, to a highly visible and collaborative discipline which leverages big data, cloud based offerings and deep analytics.

A thought leader in the area of digital supply chains and analytics, Jennifer is a role model for females employees. In fact, she has trained, coached and mentored females to establish them as future Jabil leaders.

As a mentor, Jennifer listens and encourages decisions that will support the long-term growth of her peers. She has an eye for people’s strengths and provides valued feedback on career choices to help her fellow colleagues thrive and recognize new opportunities.

Outside of her responsibilities at Jabil, Jennifer spends time with her family everyday after work in what she calls her “5 to 8 time.” A proud mother of two girls, she is a true example of what it looks like to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Her community impact is grounded in the welfare and development of children. When not at work or with her family, Jennifer volunteers at her daughter’s school and is an advocate for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs for children.

“I’ve seen amazing growth in Jen over the past couple of years. She has been absolutely instrumental in the success we’ve had with Jabil InControl, being a solid, shining diamond on the team,” said Ross Valentine, Director of Solutions Innovation at Jabil. “When the opportunity came to nominate Jen for the STEP Award my head instantly went to how much of a mentor she has been for other Jabil employees, but also the opportunities in front of her to mentor young females starting out and thinking about entering the field of manufacturing.”

Jennifer’s priorities are her children, her community and her contribution to revolutionizing an industry. Her dedication to digitizing Jabil’s supply chain shows that her leadership is not only effective but also transformational.

From Around the Web: Why There Are Still Few Women Leaders in Tech

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Diversity of talent and gender equality in the workplace is something many of today’s companies aim to achieve. Over the years, progressive fields like technology have established broader career opportunities which have opened the doors for female employees to be promoted equally, beside men.

Despite the advancements and opportunities in technology, and the decades of progress towards a more gender-balanced workplace, the role of women in the field has somehow subsided.

According to a report by the National Center for Women & Information Technology, the role of women with tech jobs has stalled and, in some cases, even declined. In 2008, women on average held 25 percent of IT-related jobs in the US, a drop from the 36 percent occupied in 1991. In addition, women between the ages of 25 and 34 have reported being unsatisfied with their tech careers, with 56 percent leaving their jobs at the peek of their career, which is double the rate for men.

Elena Kvochko, Head of Global Cyber Security Strategy and Implementation at Barclays, recently wrote an article for Forbes, illustrating the danger of the rate of progress of women participation in technology. According to Kvochko, we should be encouraging women to participate in the growing field of technology and apply for higher-level managerial roles.

Because the amount of women that hold leadership roles in fields like tech is still a work in progress, Jabil has a strong focus on increasing gender diversity and leadership of women in the workplace.

“Like engineering, IT has traditionally been a male-dominant profession but this landscape has been changing and improving,” said May Yap, Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Jabil GreenPoint. “Being the first female CIO recruited into Jabil, demonstrated Jabil’s senior leadership team’s determination to encouraging leadership of women in the workplace.”

May also adds that, aside from being tech-savvy, females aiming to be successful leaders in the tech field should seek out mentors, utilize their communication skills, and never shy away from speaking up and asking for help.

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We want to hear from you: How do you encourage and promote female leaders at your site?

Jabil Sponsors Women in STEM Lunch & Lab at Florida Polytechnic University

Jabil Joules attend the Women in STEM Lunch & Lab along with Florida Polytechnic University students.
Jabil Joules attend the Women in STEM Lunch & Lab along with Florida Polytechnic University students.

Jabil recently sponsored a table at the inaugural Women in STEM Lunch & Lab at Florida Polytechnic University (Florida Poly). The event, which took place on Pi day, March 14, is part of a university-wide initiative to promote gender diversity in STEM careers and bridge the perception gap of those fields.

The event featured keynote speaker Dr. Pamela McCauley, an ergonomics expert and internationally recognized speaker and professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Systems at the University of Central Florida where she leads the Human Factors in Disaster Management research team and serves as the Director of the Ergonomics Laboratory.

McCauley spoke on several topics including the bias and stereotypes regarding women in STEM fields, retaining female talent within the industry and achieving a successful work-life balance.

“Ladies, you really are amazing and it’s so important to understand the impact that we have together,” said McCauley. “We can make such a difference in this world and today I want to encourage each of us because this is an issue that helps every person understand and realize, in particularly women going into STEM, the significance of women and the impact they can have.”

The Lunch & Lab also featured table centerpieces created by university students that represented the projects and innovation underway at Florida Poly. Guests were encouraged to vote on their favorite centerpiece and student Kevin Stephens won for his bridge project, which focused on bridging the perception gap.

All proceeds from the Lunch & Lab support scholarships and Florida Poly’s mission to prepare students in the advanced fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to become innovative problem-solvers and high-tech professionals.
As a company that embraces gender balance and equality at all levels, Jabil was proud to sponsor the event and help women build networks and realize opportunities in STEM fields.

Eric Austermann Speaks During United Nations Global Compact Meeting

3db90609-653d-4886-9607-30432809b12bOn the heels of International Women’s Day, the United Nations Global Compact is holding their annual Women’s Empowerment Principles today in New York City. The event theme, Business Partners for Gender Equality: Multipliers for Development, aligns with Jabil Joules’ mission to educate, mentor and encourage diversity and to champion the business benefits of gender balance.

Jabil’s Eric Austermann, Vice President of Social & Environmental Responsibility, is representing Jabil today during the event. Eric will participate as a panelist on the topic of “Why Women’s Health in the Workplace MattersPrescriptions for Action.” Jabil’s Health Enables Returns (HER) Project will be highlighted as this video will be played during the panel discussion. The HER Project is an educational program that focuses on enriching the lives of our female employees in Asia, through self-development dialogue. Classroom sessions include lessons that cover family and reproductive health, self-esteem and wellness, life coaching, team building and personal enrichment.
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The Jabil Joules network thanks Eric for being a thought leader and champion of gender equality.