The Value of Mentorship: The Mentor

 

Author: Mark Tudman, Principal Engineer, San Jose

 

Prior to joining Jabil, I worked for 26 years as a Field Engineer at an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) robotics company. This phase of my career was extremely challenging yet rewarding. It provided me the opportunity to travel throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, South America and Asia.

After college, I was ill-prepared for the job expected of me. I was sent on the road to begin field work after receiving two months of educational training and a few hands-on projects. No one taught me how to plan travel and communicate at diverse facilities. I was placed into situations in high-volume manufacturing facilities with broken machines and angry managers yelling. I had to learn and adjust quickly to the current situation.

Being in that high-pressure environment, however, did provide some positive experiences: I learned that collaboration was key. Working with diverse people at a variety of sites, it was inevitable that we learn to solve problems together. Since my job was to troubleshoot and fix a variety of issues, I had to learn problem solving and root cause analysis skills. Some of these problems were related to machines, others were related to people. In addition, I also had to learn to explain things since invariably I would be asked, “How did you fix it?” This helped me develop a knack for providing guidance and helping others learn, which has transferred over to how I mentor.

Becoming a Mentor

After my experiences of simply being ‘thrown into the work’ after college, I swore to myself that if anyone wanted to learn something, then I would take the time to show them all I knew. I continue to learn and yes, I still ask a lot of questions. The one thing I have changed is my approach to teaching from merely answering questions to teaching them how to learn. Advocating for the trial-and-error method, I try to instill a mentality of ‘figuring it out’ – trying something new, not being afraid of mistakes and learning from the times you didn’t succeed.

It’s about putting yourself in the mentees’ shoes: you have to think about what they’re going through, what questions you had at that stage of life and what would help them the most. Based on my own struggles, and from what students today have demonstrated, there is a need to help them through decisions beyond education or career-related questions. Some of my mentees need help building their professional confidence, especially regarding work-related interactions with other employees and customers. Many don’t have experience working with cross-functional teams or with coworkers ranging from fellow interns to managers and directors.

Finding a Mentee

Three years ago, our department began a partnership with San Jose State University, and I was one of three engineers picked to mentor a team of students on their senior projects. My situation is probably different than other mentors because I was assigned mentees rather than organically allowing a mentorship-relationship to occur. I accepted this as an opportunity to share my knowledge and help students during a formative age of their growth.

You can tell pretty quickly which mentees are serious about the opportunity – like Meha Gupta, these are the students with personality, curiosity, passion and persistence, which all play a part in building a successful learning experience. Having curiosity creates a collaborative environment where you learn from them, too. In the end, this is what helped me the most in my career: stepping out of my comfort-zone to tackle new problems and being open to working with a variety of people to solve issues together. That’s really all a mentorship program is: collaboration and cross-learning.

Tips for Mentees and Mentors

For mentees, it’s important to have courage and ask questions. You can be scared but ask anyway. Don’t stop learning. Write things down, taking note of what your mentors share because it’s hard to fully absorb all the information the first time around. Plus, your notes might spur new questions and continue the wheel of learning. I recommend you go deeper in your research beyond the first Google search result and adapt a continual spirit of curiosity to all your work.

For the mentors out there, whether you had a mentor yourself or not, you can do it. Always put yourselves in your mentee’s shoes. It takes a lot of patience and extra work to help guide someone through their education and career path, but the rewards are there. It’s worth every single minute of sleep you might lose to help someone succeed.

The biggest benefit for me as a mentor is hearing from these mentees later and getting updates on how the project you helped them with eventually allowed them to get a job after college. These students are using the mentoring program to find new opportunities and have the confidence to take calculated risks. They become powerful in making their own career and life decisions. They are no longer doing what someone told them to do; they are making decisions for themselves based on new experiences.

 

Watch the Learning to Fly documentary on Blue Sky’s partnership with San Jose State University to learn more!

The Value of Mentorship: The Mentee

 

Author: Meha Gupta, Digital Engineering Services, San Jose

 

 

When I graduated high school and began my college career, I had one goal in mind: I would not become an engineer. Now, I have a Bachelor’s of Science in Biomedical Engineering from San Jose State University. Like most things in life, we form plans in one direction only to find life leading us in another, but I believe we’re better for it in the end. My initial perception of being an engineer meant sitting in a cubicle, experiencing the monotony of staring at a computer all day, only to drag the computer home and continue the cycle. I’m happy to report I was completely wrong with this initial perception.

The turning point for me was the exploration of what engineering really was my first year in college at University of California, Santa Cruz. In my environmental studies class, I noticed that many of the problems biologists and environmentalists were facing were being solved by engineers, which sparked a curiosity in me. Once I gained some exposure and insight in the field, I decided to fully pursue a career path in engineering and transferred to San Jose State University. That was where I was really able to blossom as a student and, through the guidance and help of my mentors, made the decision to become a biomedical engineer.

Becoming a Mentee

During my transition from the University of California, I found myself losing my sense of direction. By the time I started at San Jose State University, I was debating a transition from civil engineering to biomedical engineering. I planned every detail for both paths, in fear for the worst-case scenario that I would be denied entry into biomedical engineering. When I was most terrified of not having a secure future and afraid of being a failure, a mentor appeared, unbeknownst to him. At orientation, Dr. Guna Selvaduray, the current Biomedical, Chemical, and Materials Engineering Department Chair, took extra time to stay after the orientation to speak with me about my plans to transition majors. The answer to all my problems was simple according to him: believe wholeheartedly in what you want to do, if you have already achieved it in your mind, success in reality will follow suit. After that, I was suddenly feeling extremely confident in this major life decision and ready to solely pursue biomedical engineering. The insights and reassurance he offered me, whether he knows it or not, was exactly what I needed to hear at that precise moment of my life.

Without Dr. Guna Selvaduray, I would not have found my way to Jabil. It was through his encouragement and collaboration with Jabil that I could complete my senior project here at the Blue Sky facility in San Jose, which opened many doors of opportunity. Dr. Selvaduray not only influenced my career choice but also encouraged me to fiercely pursue it. Once I was introduced to Jabil at the start of senior project, my new source of guidance really came from Quyen Chu, director of engineering services. He helped me believe in my abilities, that a successful engineer did not come out of textbook intelligence but from characteristics of being a team player, seeking knowledge in all areas and leveraging resources. He encouraged me to pursue experience in subjects I am not familiar with while still allowing me the opportunity to dive deep into what I am passionate about.

Finding a Mentor

I truly believe that there is something to learn from everyone’s experiences, especially those who have struggled through similar situations as yourself. These mentors’ “lessons learned” are your warning signs, your words of wisdom and your personal guide. From my experiences, it wasn’t so much about looking for a mentor as much as it was that my mentors came to me when I needed help the most. Before jumpstarting my career, I was looking for validation that I was on the right path, feeling unsure of myself and my abilities, and my mentors picked up on that. They were able to show me how to accept my own unique journey through my college career, which was something that originally gave me a lot of insecurity.

Feeling more secure and confident in my knowledge-base, the mentors I seek now are those who can help me navigate my career path and create a healthy work-life balance. By finding someone who understands you as a person, you are able to learn how to best use your unique qualities to succeed in new and unexpected ways.

From Mentee to Mentor

This year, I have had the pleasure of guiding a group of San Jose State University senior project students through exactly what I had done a year prior, and I have learned a lot being on the other side of the fence. Being a mentor feels like you are finally able to give advice to your former self during all those times you were at crossroads in your life. It’s so rewarding to see the students grow and accomplish goals, which you helped them realize. I hope to impart my small wealth of knowledge on someone, passing on what my mentors provided me: the greatest push toward success.

 

Next week, stay tuned for The Value of Mentorship – The Mentor by Mark Tudman, principal engineer at Blue Sky in San Jose. Meanwhile, find the entire Learning to Fly documentary on Blue Sky’s partnership with San Jose State University here to learn more!

 

A Path from Civics to Jabil

Olga Hatner graduated from college with dual degrees in Romano-Germanic philology and government studies, which aligned with her passion for civics, organizational cultures and having a positive influence on others. After working for a few months in a local government position in Uzhgorod, Ukraine, Olga realized her true interests lie in working for global organizations – not necessarily government organizations – that positively impact many people. That led her to Jabil in 2016.

As a training specialist at Jabil Uzhgorod, Olga enjoys the ability to be part of an international organization while also having a direct impact on individuals at the site. Through her position, she researches and provides the necessary resources for employees to grow professionally. “My goal is to help build successful teams to ensure stable manufacturing and supply chain processes,” Olga said.

Harnessing her original interest in civic work, Olga is always searching for ways to empower and educate employees at Jabil Uzhgorod. She uses her education and previous experience in local government to actively participate with the Labor Council, a group of employees who volunteer their time to review and improve the work environment for their colleagues. “The first step is to get the word out that the Labor Council is here for the employees, and I’ve taken that task on myself,” Olga said, exemplifying her ambitious attitude. “I see how important it is to connect employees to each other and to proper resources.”

Olga combined her childhood dream of working in the government with her interest in impacting people in a unique way. “Growing up, I didn’t plan to work for an electronics manufacturing company, but now, I see how perfect this career is for me,” she shared. “I get to help people, which is all I ever wanted to do with my career.”

Jabil’s Continuous Commitment to Empowering Women – International Women’s Day 2018

A note from Beth Walters, Senior Vice President of Communications & Investor Relations:

The 2018 theme for International Women’s Day was #PressForProgress. It seems like a perfect description of the great things Jabil Joules around the world are doing to push for progress in their respective fields. We all play an important role in impacting the future generations of female scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians. We’re educating and mentoring coworkers, as well as young females in our communities, leading by example and giving back to the next generation.

 Jabil Joules is focused on inspiring women to chase their dreams, reach their goals and celebrate their achievements. As sites celebrated International Women’s Day on March 8, they fortified Jabil’s culture of inspiration through their commitment to educate, mentor and connect. I’m proud to be surrounded by so many extraordinary women and thank each of you for your continuous support and energy to maintain the Joules mentality in all that we do — professionally and personally. Together, let’s #PressForProgress and achieve positive change.

Professional Development in South Asia, Latin America
Pune Jabil Joules

International Women’s Day is an annual day of awareness to celebrate the social and cultural achievements of women, bringing together men and women to create positive change. Jabil Joules from every region came together with their male colleagues to empower each other and increase awareness. Events were diverse, ranging from movie screenings to appreciation gifts to workshops and seminars – all focusing on the Jabil Joules’ focus areas of Educate, Connect and Mentor. Two Jabil sites in South Asia had a female site leader speak with younger female employees on their career paths and offer advice on how to be successful. Dienny RH, program manager at Jabil Bandung, spoke to millennials at the site – almost 20 percent of their employee population – about her career growth over the last two decades in manufacturing. In Pune, Design Engineering Manager Supriya Jadhav shared how her career progressed while being at Jabil for 20 years in the hopes of inspiring the younger generation of employees to always strive for success.

In Juarez, Mexico, the site launched its Jabil Joules program by inviting Teresa Delgado, president of Index Juarez, a nonprofit that supports the local economic manufacturing industry, to talk about her experience being in the field for more than three decades. With 50 employees attending, the site is excited its Joules program is off to a successful start.

Personal Growth across Asia, Europe
Shanghai Jabil Joules

While these events focused on professional growth, other sites organized events around personal growth, specifically health-related topics. In Shanghai, a local psychological counseling institute spoke to female employees about the importance of taking care of themselves and reducing stress. At Jabil Penang, the Joules held a workshop to bring awareness to important female health topics and teach proactive ways to stay healthy.

Other sites focused on recognizing and celebrating their female employees through gifts of appreciation. In Nagyigmánd, Hungary, and Uzhgorod, Ukraine, female employees were recognized by site leadership and thanked for their dedication to inspiring female manufacturers. Joules at each site were given flowers and other small gifts to commemorate the day’s festivities. “The main idea was to show deep appreciation to our female employees for all they do, small and big, in a fun and festive way,” said Nataliia Bobryk, travel coordinator at Jabil Uzhgorod. “We were all so very appreciative of the wonderful greetings.”

Celebrating Empowerment in South Asia
Singapore Jabil Joules

Along with giving small gifts, Jabil Taichung organized a social media campaign where employees posted photos and kind messages to female employees, celebrating the impact these women have had at the Taichung facility. Similarly, employees at Jabil Singapore set up a photo booth so employees could take photographs with a female colleague who has inspired them. The site had more than 25 percent of their employees participate, covering an entire wall with photos from the day. Continuing the celebrations, Jabil Vietnam held their annual International Women’s Day competition, where male and female employees teamed up with the goal to collaborate, create strong bonds and have fun. This year featured a cake decorating competition!

Latin America, Europe Sites Focus on Connecting
Baja Jabil Joules

Continuing the diverse events held on International Women’s Day, Jabil Joules at the Baja facility organized a screening of Miss Representation, a documentary on the under-representation of women in leadership in mainstream media and culture. Incorporating Jabil’s culture of integrity, the site also created an open environment for the Joules in attendance to talk about personal obstacles they’ve had to overcome in the manufacturing industry. “Many of the employees left feeling empowered and vowing to actively be involved with Jabil Joules to help empower their colleagues,” said Karen Arias, industrial engineer.

Opening their activities with a similar talk about females and the manufacturing industry, Joules in Bray, Ireland, had a morning coffee meet-up that focused on continuous improvement, both personally and professionally. Roisin MacEntee spent time discussing the impact women in Jabil are having on process improvements through Deliver Best Practices, Jabil’s internal continuous improvement competition. Their goal was to inspire female employees to continue their positive impact on the company.

Joules #PressForProgress

Throughout these sites, the common theme was to connect and educate female employees on professional, as well as personal, growth. Jabil Joules around the world came together to support each other and #PressForProgress.

 

 

See more photos from Joules events around the world!

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What Diversity in Operations Has Taught Me

 

 

 

Author: Roger Shahnazarian, Vice President of Operations for the Americas

 

Roger Shahnazarian, is committed to advancing diversity, which is exemplified in the recent announcement of Jabil’s two STEP Ahead Honorees for 2018. Clare Dowdalls was nominated by Roger himself, and Paloma Barraza was recognized by Simon Wilcox, a member of Roger’s team.

Meeting new colleagues, hiring employees and establishing new manufacturing sites has exposed me to many new cultures, backgrounds and languages throughout my career. I find it especially promising to be in a field that is continually progressing. What I love about manufacturing operations is that it’s not about finding the best man for the job; it is about finding the best person for the job.

I pride myself in being a leader who tries to break the paradigm that only men can advance in a corporation and am proud of the work Clare, Paloma and our other female leaders have done. Presently, I have three women on my team and plan to have more join us in the next couple of years. The women in Jabil, and all the women in the manufacturing industry, are a bit hungrier for success. They bring higher energy levels to the table, which shows in their dedication and passion to positively impact the business.

Diversity extends beyond the gender paradigm, though. In fact, when I began my career, none of my employees had English as their primary language; they were culturally diverse, speaking many languages and coming from many countries. It was about 26 years later that I managed my first English-speaking Operations Manager, but the diversity I worked around from the beginning helped shape my career and how I lead. This position has given me the chance to visit 67 countries, which has served as an even better learning experience than my college degrees. Because of the diversity I’ve been exposed to, my career journey has been spectacular.

All that I know now is from what I have learned from visiting Jabil sites around the world and learned from the diverse group of people we employ. When you visit these different sites, you learn culture, you learn humility and you learn about yourself: how adaptable you are and how willing you are to take risks. Working with employees from different countries and backgrounds really opens your eyes to the complexity of the business and the world. It still amazes me at times that I am the only person on my staff that speaks one language. I took four years of French in high school, but it can only get me so far as to order a meal in Paris!

But, overall, do you know what diversity brings us? It teaches us more compassion toward employees, customers and the community. It gives us better learning opportunities – we learn so much from people who are not the same as us.

Given the need to have a diverse and inclusive workforce, it’s also important to maintain a company culture that ensures every voice is heard, which I strive to do in my everyday work life.When people know they have an equal chance for every opportunity, it multiplies employee engagement tenfold.

I like to make statements to the employees in my hiring choices, so I can lead by example and demonstrate how I am committed to continuing a diverse and inclusive environment. At my previous company, I hired the first local Chinese plant manager – now that company has seven. Presently, I’m using my position to bring more women to leadership positions to demonstrate my support of the benefits a diverse team offers the field of Operations and beyond. We are all Joules, we are all Jabil.