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Women in Industry: Debora Smeeding

Company: MH Equipment
Title: Territory Manager
Years on Job: 2

As a territory manager, I regularly connect with customers to stay aware of any needs or changes in their business. To do this, I must be knowledgeable about my customers’ business in order to propose solutions that will be more productive and/or provide a safe environment. That includes keeping customers apprised of new business solutions and products we have to offer and effectively communicating those needs to my co-workers, vendors and support staff to offer solutions to the person in need.

My job requires team work. I rely on a lot of people in and out of my company to help us all succeed. What I don’t know, I find someone who does. I learn as much as I can from them and the rest I rely heavily on their support. Being knowledgeable about the products your company offers along with the “intimate understanding” of the customer needs are both necessary to finding the solution appropriate for the application.

Communication is everything! Strong communication for me means; having a clear understanding of exactly what the customer, manager or coworker has requested from me. The best way to do this is listening and repeat back what you think you have heard until everyone in the conversation agrees with the message and information. This can be hard to do. We are all very busy and in a hurry to complete a task to get to the next thing on our list, that listening sometimes feels like repeat information. Mostly because we think we already know what the person is about to say. We’ve already had the conversation in our mind. I’m guilty of this too. Getting in a hurry and really not hearing what was said.

Tools of the Trade
The software and technology that I rely on most in my position are SalesForce, Microsoft products, especially Excel spreadsheets and our Internal Ordering System. However, the traits that I rely on are arguably just as, if not more important. Those traits are time management, self-motivation and compassion. I actually like people. I enjoy the differences in people. It’s not about the circumstance they are in, but about the person themselves that interest me. With Compassion comes caring. When you care about someone, you want to help. I like to help people solve their problems and make their job easier. I actually thrive on that.

Women in Material Handling
For women considering a career in Material Handling, it can be the most rewarding career you’ve ever experienced. The benefit from the Women in Business MHEDA-NET Group is having a support group. Knowing that there are other women experiencing the same struggles and successes. Sharing ideas and solutions. Like the “good-ole-boys club”. We have a “good-ole-girls club”. There’s power with many. Power = Confidence. The Women in Business MHEDA-NET Group builds confidence. If you don’t like monotonous – this is the job for you. It’s challenging, interesting, constantly changing. I wish I had found this years ago.