Next up on the WIL panelist blog series. we have Kristin Slyker, Vice President of Business & General Aviation Customer Segment at Honeywell. Get to know Kristin by reading her interview questions below!
What was your dream job as a child and why?I wanted to be a pediatrician when I was in grade school. I thought it would be great fun to be a doctor, and I loved science and biology. As I got older, my career choice was influenced in a different direction as I saw the types of careers that family members had. My uncle was in Information Technology, and my interest in science led me to migrate to a career in IT.
What has been your biggest professional challenge as a female leader?
My biggest professional challenge as a female leader has been ensuring that I feel good, and that I’m in the right place at the right time. My mother gave up her career to stay home, and this was the model I grew up with. I’ve come to conclusion that I feel good about a different path, and that a career is a great thing for me, personally. However, I am very conscious of how this impacts my family. I don’t want my career to be detrimental to them. This has led me to very seriously review the career choices that I make to ensure that they work for both my family and my career. This has meant that seeking out these roles and making decisions on how to progress my career was sometimes a challenge. The other challenge was allowing myself to have the confidence to know that I could do what my counterparts could do.
Where did you go to college and what was your first job out of school?
I am an Arizona State University graduate – go Sun Devils!!! I loved ASU, and benefitted greatly from being a part of their honors college program. My first job out of school actually started in school with an internship my junior year. I started at Accenture, working on information technology programs as a programmer and project manager.
Tell me about your professional career track?
There was no grand plan associated with my career path. Every role that I have picked was because it sounded like a fun, growth role for me that was in alignment with my personal life needs. I have always been interested in being a leader of others and in defining strategy, so that was a guiding principle. Beyond this, I tried hard to be willing to accept opportunities as they came, even when I might have been unsure if I was ready. I started my career in IT, however, since then, I’ve worked in program management, IT, supply chain, customer and product support, pricing, and now in general management. It has been very rewarding, but I could have never mapped this when starting out!
What advice do you have for young female professionals?
Don’t let your fear get the best of you. Don’t discount a role due to the demographics of the others in the role or because you don’t know if you know how to do the job. Have faith in yourself that you can learn and be courageous. Also, seek out and treasure champions and mentors. These relationships are invaluable.
Any advice on how to achieve a happy work-life balance?
Over the years, I’ve developed the opinion that “work-life balance” is not the way to look at this. Life, made up of career and personal commitments, flows over time. I have found that I feel best when I am at “the right place at the right time”. In other words, I have had to learn to manage my schedule, so that I get to those things that matter most to me as a person. Sometimes, this means that I must absolutely ensure I’m at a certain work obligation. Sometimes, this means I have to work out some flexibility with the boss or my team to attend to personal obligations. It always means that I need to consciously decide where I must be to best honor my commits to my boss and company, as well as myself.