Name: Kristina Reames
Role: Sales and Sales Operations Manager
Seniority, responsibilities and experience at ADDEV: 11 years
What studies have you done and why?
I graduated with an Associates degree in Business from a local school. The emphasis was actually on interior design, specifically in kitchens and baths. I had no idea years later that my knowledge of appliances and HVAC would be a blessing. I have been involved in art, music and dance most of my life so I wanted a field that would allow me to be creative.
The industrial sector is considered a male-dominated field. In this context, how did your integration go?
It could be difficult at times. When I first started in sales I was tasked with growing our Aerospace and Defense customers. The only other female contacts I had at the time were usually in purchasing, but a lot has changed in the last 10 years. I remember going to tradeshows and being the sole female salesperson there, but now there is a lot of diversity! On the industrial side I was incredibly lucky to follow in the footsteps of an amazing female salesperson, Emily Giere. She really paved the way for our customers to see me as a valuable resource.
What assets and difficulties have you encountered in your career?
My whole life I have always liked data analysis and solving problems and for many years I thought I would go into a research related field. On the flip side, I would say being in sales has been pretty difficult for me, because I’m more accustomed to managing things behind the scenes. It did give me an interesting perspective when working with my team though and I have found that helpful.
In your opinion, and with your experience, have things changed for women in recent years and what difficulties remain (studies and companies)?
The wonderful thing is there is so much more support for girls and women to choose to learn and grow in STEM fields. I have a lot of opinions on the American educational system, but I am excited to see more programs for women out there. In companies it really has been amazing to see what diversity and equity programs have done to change the landscape of hiring in the last ten years. I think it is vitally important to continue to work on these policies and improve upon them.
What advice would you give to women who want to go into a profession like yours but also to employers looking for industrial profiles?
For future hires I would say, look for mentorship opportunities, both within your company and outside of it. Find a diverse group of women to bounce ideas off of, to brainstorm solutions with and gather alternative views. It is amazing what you can accomplish with external support like this. Be prepared to blaze your own path and never think that your thoughts and opinions are less just because they are different. I truly believe that diversity is the root of innovation.
For future employers I would say pay close attention to the skills of the position you want to hire. Sometimes it is less about what the person has done before and more about their drive to learn, their attention to detail, or their ability to communicate clearly. I think a lot of companies get bogged down
looking for the things that are easy to train, when they could instead be mentoring the next generation of critical thinkers. For example, I am always looking for hires that have great soft skills, who communicate in a way that creates space for discussion and have empathy for the challenges their customers might be facing. Those are skills that sometimes take a lifetime to learn!