byFairygodbosson Jul 01, 2016

Fairygodboss of the Week: Kristen Brosnan

Kristen Brosnan

Photo credit:Kristen Brosnan

Meet Kristen Brosnan, an incredible scientist who balances work at GE with her 4 kids. Kristen still finds time to convene science and technical women who work at GE at an annual symposium that she organizes. Kristen epitomizes being a Fairygodboss, and she reminds us that the only way we get what we want is to ask for it!

Fairygodboss of the Week: Kristen Brosnan
Manager, Ceramics Laboratory - GE
Albany, NY

FGB: Tell us about your career. How did you get to where you are now?

KB: I have been passionate about ceramic science since my undergraduate days working on ceramic processing for underwater hydrophone technology at Georgia Tech. I continued to work in ceramics through graduate school at Penn State on piezoelectric transducers, and have always been active in my professional society, The American Ceramic Society. At GE, I worked as a materials scientist on many technologies, including solid oxide fuel cells and thermal barrier coatings, for 9 years prior to leading the Ceramics Laboratory. It’s exciting to be now leading the Ceramics Laboratory, which is critical ceramic technology for GE.

FGB: What is an accomplishment that you are proud of?

KB: For the past two years, I have organized the Women in Science & Engineering Symposium (WISE) at GE, which brings together ~150 technical female leaders from across all GE businesses to GE Global Research. I am excited to be part of the effort to retain our great female technical talent across GE.  In addition, I was recognized by my technical society (while on maternity leave!) with the 2014 Karl Schwartzwalder-Professional Achievement in Ceramic Engineering (PACE) Award.

FGB: What is a challenge that you've faced and overcome?

KB: I have been full-time, part-time, and a remote worker in a technology career at different times in my career already. I understand the challenges of having a dual career family, balancing love for your job, and balancing time at home. I have leaned in, leaned out and am always checking in with myself (and others…) to make sure I am focusing on the right thing, at the right time.

Lightning Round:

FGB: What do you do when you’re not working?

KB: I have 4 kids, so I am pretty busy at home. I also love music and go to music festivals with my family in the summer.

FGB: If you could have dinner with one famous person - dead or alive - who would it be?

KB: Ursula K. Le Guin – I am avid science fiction fan and I have read most everything she has written. Fisherman of the Inland Sea is one of my favorite books ever written and I could (and have) read it over and over again.

FGB: What is your karaoke song?

KB: “Shake it Off” by Taylor Swift

FGB: What is your favorite movie?

KB: 2001: A Space Odyssey

FGB: What book would you bring with you on a desert island?

KB: Stalking the Wild Asparagus by Euell Gibbons

FGB: What is your shopping vice? What would you buy if you won the lottery?

KB: Vice – Not sure…maybe shoes or good IPAs. Lottery – Sailboat and much needed sailing lessons.

FGB: Who is your Fairygodboss?

KB: My boss, Margaret Blohm, who oversees all Metals & Ceramics Technology at GE Global Research. She listens and gets to know all of her 130+  people. I have never had a more empathetic boss and am learning so much working for her. She encourages me to take a step back and see every situation from their perspective, and I can’t speak enough on how important this is to do when faced with a difficult situation.

FGB: What is the #1 career tip you'd like to share?

KB: Don’t be afraid to ask! You won’t get an outcome you want if you never ask for it.


Fairygodboss is all about women helping other women - so each week, we celebrate a woman who made a difference in another woman’s career. Is there a woman who has made a difference in your career? 
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