Women Worth Watching 2015
Terex Director Tells Women, “Believe in and Challenge Yourself”
Linda Kay’s first proper job, post-university, was as a quality engineer for an automotive switchgear company. Her first task there was to analyze boxes full of returned warranty parts (switches, indicators, wiper levers, and so on). Her boss gave her a set of screwdrivers and showed her how the test equipment worked. She analyzed products for six months, and says it was the best hands-on training she could ever have wish for.
Today, as Director of Global Product Development, Linda oversees all product development activities for the Terex construction business and leads a team of eight managers. She is dedicated to continuing to improve the way Terex manages product development and to providing a product customers want, while ensuring the required financial returns for the business.
“I was given an opportunity…now I try to do the same for others.”
“I knew my present career was what I wanted to do when the first product I developed rolled off the production line,” said Linda. “Seeing designs come to life and then finally into the hands of customers is something that I continue to love doing.”
Linda is equally passionate about supporting women in the engineering field, and offers the following advice to women who wish to pursue that path:
- Believe in your abilities and pursue the career you want
- Put yourself into challenging situations/roles; you will be amazed at what you are capable of
- Keep learning; you can learn from everyone around you, every day
“I was given an opportunity to try a different role. Now I try to do the same for others,” she said.
Linda has a bachelor of engineering (Hons) from Coventry University, England.
Education: B Eng. (Hons), Coventry University, England, United Kingdom
First Job: Quality Engineer
What I’m Reading: “The Strategy Book” by Max McKeown
The most important quality a woman leader should have is…
…passion for their job. Great leaders are those with charisma, passion and the ability to inspire a team to support their vision and company goals.
The career advice I’d give my former self:
Get as much varied work experience as possible. This will aid personal development and help you decide what you want from your career.
Words I live by:
At Terex we have values called “The Terex Way” which define our culture. Integrity, respect, improvement, courage, citizenship and servant leadership are the values that define how we should do business. I support these and strive to work to them every day.
The one thing I’d do differently in my career, knowing what I know now, is…
…be proactive in building a network of mentors/business professionals as soon as possible. Find colleagues whom you respect and who give good honest feedback.
When I really need to focus on a project, I…
…organise my priorities to allocate the necessary time to provide the focus needed. Delivering a few high impact/priority items well is better than half a job on many.
My biggest career leap (and what I learned from it) was…
…from a Quality Engineer to a Programme Manager. Key learnings:-
- Sometimes you need to take a risk and try something different
- I was given the opportunity to try a different role. Now I try to do the same for others.
Being a woman in my profession has been…
…a rewarding experience. We need to continue to do more to promote Engineering as a field in which women can develop great careers.
I’ve learned that failure is…
…a “lesson to be learned”. If a mistake is made, learn from it, but make sure to never make the same mistake twice.
I maintain a healthy personal life by…
…finding a balance. To get the best out of work and personal life you have to find the right balance across both. I work and travel for as many hours as needed during the week, but I do try to box off the weekend as “off duty” to ensure that personal time remains just that. To perform well at work you need to have the downtime to come back refreshed for the week ahead.
I knew my present career was what I wanted to do when…
…the first product I developed rolled off the production line. Seeing designs come to life and then finally into the hands of customers is something that I continue to love doing.