Stefanie Farr knows how to seize her dreams. In high school, she decided she wanted to be a mechanical engineer. And despite challenges in college, she is now an engineering program chief at United Technologies, a leading global building and aerospace business. Talk about reaching your full potential.
Farr told Fairygodboss about the importance of sponsorship, her path to success, and how she strikes a healthy work-life balance (which heavily involves her dog, Shelby). Then, she shared her number one career tip.
Fairygodboss of the Week: Stefanie Farr
Engineering Program Chief, Engines and Space at UTC Aerospace Systems, a United Technologies company.
Tell us a little about your career. How did you get to where you are now?
In high school, I determined that I wanted to be a mechanical engineer and I never deviated from that path. I have had the most amazing career, from working in aircrew egress systems for the Department of Defense, to joining Lockheed Martin and working on mission systems for the F-35 and P-3. Now, I have an exciting career at UTC Aerospace Systems working with engine manufacturers and controllers in support of their sensor requirements and needs.
What is an accomplishment that you are proud of?
My mechanical engineering degree, my systems engineering certification, and my current role.
What is a challenge that you've faced and overcome?
My high school background did not prepare me well for college or the engineering courses that would be required, so I struggled my first couple years. But as the courses became smaller and more engineering-specific, I began to excel.
What is the #1 career tip you'd like to share with other women who want to have successful careers like you?
Follow your heart and work hard, but keep balanced with the other things that make you happy (for me: family, nature and yoga). Also, try to learn something new every day.
Why do you love where you work?
The products we make and our role in the aerospace industry is what makes my current role so exciting. Our products touch every aircraft flying – including space applications!
Who is YOUR Fairygodboss? And why?
Scott Thomson, who is my biggest advocate and continues to encourage and inspire me.
What do you do when you're not working?
I love spending time outside, hiking with my dog, Shelby, enjoying time with my husband, Michael, and traveling with friends.
If you could have dinner with one famous person - dead or alive - who would it be?
I’m not sure our presidents are considered “famous,” but I would love to speak with President Trump in person and understand some of his perspective on leading a country.
Lightning Round: What is your karaoke song?
Love Shack by the B-52s.
Lightning Round: What is your favorite movie?
“Jaws,” “Grumpy Old Men,” and the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. It’s too hard to have one just one — or two, even!
Lightning Round: What book would you bring with you on a desert island?
The complete works of Robert Frost.
Lightning Round: What is your shopping vice? What would you buy if you won the lottery?
Shopping is fun — and I like clothes and shoes — but I’m not over the top about material stuff. However, it is always great to find that oh-so-super-cute something!
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? Celebrate her and thank her by nominating her here.