Far too few women make it to the C-suite today. But Mary Holt, CFO of Corporate Entities & Functions at Honeywell, is fortunate to be able to say she works at a company where women’s representation, at all levels, is a priority.
Beyond offering an internal Women’s Advancement Network dedicated to positioning 50 women for career path progress, Honeywell — a Fortune 100 technology company with a presence in more than 70 countries — has also been recognized for the gender diversity of its board. After spending 11 years at the Company, Holt can confidently testify to the “tremendous opportunity” for career growth awaiting women at Honeywell.
“I’ve worked in three of the four businesses (within the Honeywell umbrella) as well as in the Corporate headquarters,” Holt said. “With the different business models and challenges, I’ve been able to learn a lot all while working with the same company … I really enjoy learning, which has made Honeywell a great place for me to grow my career.”
Recently, Holt shared with Fairygodboss what that career growth has entailed, as well as the most memorable piece of career advice she’s ever received.
How long have you been in your current role, and what were you doing previously?
I have been in my role for four months, and prior to that I was the V.P. of Financial Planning & Analysis for one of Honeywell’s strategic business groups. Overall, I have been with Honeywell for 11 years.
What’s the first (and/or last) thing you do at work every day?
Check email! I try to answer all emails the day I receive them, which can occasionally be a challenge. On the way out of the office, I text my husband and daughter to let them know I am on my way home.
What’s the most unique or interesting aspect of your job or company?
I am continually surprised how much ground is covered in Corporate. One day I may be evaluating the impact of the 401K match while the next I may be evaluating metrics to measure the effectiveness of brand investments. There is a lot of variety, which keeps things interesting.
What’s something you think most people (perhaps even current employees) don’t know about your company that you think they should?
There is tremendous opportunity to move across Honeywell’s four businesses and Corporate. With the different business models and challenges, I’ve learned a lot, all while working with the same company!
At work, what’s something you’re especially good at?
Does drinking a lot of coffee count? I like to work with my team to ensure that we make progress on goals that will leave the group more effective and productive. Setting the stretch objectives for the year and aligning with the team is critical to ensure that we go above and beyond.
What about outside of work?
Right now, I am focused on our Corporate headquarters move to Charlotte, North Carolina. Moving takes a lot of planning.
What are you trying to improve on?
Building my networks so that I can more easily find top talent when roles are open.
What do you love most about your job or your company?
Honeywell is focused on being a great company not only today, but in 10+ years from now.
What are you currently reading/watching/listening to?
I listen to “Marketplace” from NPR every day… usually the podcast from the prior day while I drive. While I get alerts from the Wall Street Journal during the day, and we have MSNBC on in the office, “Marketplace” tends to dive deeper into issues and explores the human aspect of the economy, which I really appreciate.
What’s your #1 piece of advice for women who are looking for jobs right now?
I really enjoy learning, which has made Honeywell a great place for me to grow my career. Find what you are passionate about, and you will enjoy every day!
What’s the most memorable piece of career advice you’ve received?
For me, it was “don’t go in guns a-blazing.” The takeaway was to listen first before acting to ensure the right problem is being solved.
What was the best quality of the best boss you’ve ever had?
I always like working on teams that are high performing and are built on trust. The boss sets the tone, and I believe the best bosses I have had empower their team, build trust, and provide support when needed.
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