Some people carry the assumption that jobs in manufacturing are less dynamic than those in, say, design. But the career of Christine Zeznick, a senior product and business development manager at Terex Corporation, supporting Aerial Work Platform’s Genie brand, is proof of just how wrong that assumption is. Zeznick recently returned to the United States after two years spent as a project manager in Switzerland, where she was a Product Manager for the Genie brand’s EMEAR (Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Russia) region. It was a “great growth opportunity both professionally and personally,” Zeznick says, that afforded her with some intriguing insights — check them out below!
How long have you been in your current role, and what were you doing previously? I just started a new role on Feb 1. Prior to that I was the Product Manager for the EMEAR (Europe, Middle East, Africa and Russia) region for Genie’s aerial lift products.
What’s the first (and/or last) thing you do at work every day? The first thing I do is check my planner for the three things I want to get done that day followed by a quick email check. The last thing I do each day is review my planner/to-do list and identify the three things I want to accomplish the next day. I also check my calendar for the next day.
What’s the most unique or interesting aspect of your job or company? Terex has given me a lot of opportunity to move around and try different positions and even locations. I think that it’s pretty rare anymore to find companies that will let someone jump from roles in manufacturing to supply chain to product management. It’s been a great learning opportunity.
What’s something you think most people (perhaps even current employees) don’t know about your company that you think they should? I think there sometimes is a misunderstanding about what it means to work for a manufacturing company. There are perceptions that it’s not as exciting or cutting edge as working for a tech company. The reality is manufacturing is a great work environment. We produce real, tangible products that you can see out in daily life. That’s really exciting to me.
At work, what’s something you’re especially good at? Because of my diverse background in various aspects of the organization I think I am good at seeing the big picture and understanding how a particular decision or plan may impact other parts of the business and our customers. This perspective allows me to bring a different viewpoint to the table and also allows me to highlight potential risks that may not have been considered.
What are you trying to improve on? I have been trying to work on not taking things personally. One of the greatest things I learned from my colleagues in Europe is “work is work” and at the end of the day everyone is trying to do the right thing. It’s sometimes difficult when you are really enjoying your work to not take certain decisions or actions personally but at the end of the day I know I have done my best and everyone is trying to do the right thing for the organization and our customers.
What’s the one career move you’ve made that you’re most proud of? I am really proud of the decision to take the opportunity in Europe. It was an amazing two year opportunity to learn a completely different market and different set of customers. It also challenged me to be outside of my comfort zone to move to a new place where we did not have friends or family and didn’t speak the language. It was a great growth opportunity both professionally and personally.
What do you love most about your job or your company? I love the passion people feel for our company, our products and our customers. People truly like coming to work and it makes the time spent at work really enjoyable. We have team members that have been at our company for decades and I think that speaks volumes of the culture we have here. People are excited about the product and I feel really proud when I see a Genie product in the field.
What’s your #1 piece of advice for women who are looking for jobs right now? I think it’s really important to put yourself out there and apply for roles that you may not think you are 100% qualified for. I generally have been told if you feel like you are 100% qualified on day one you are likely overqualified. It’s also great just for other people to know that you are interested in a particular role and they may keep you in mind for future opportunities in that space.
Who is/was the most influential person in your life and why? My parents had a huge influence on me by always pushing me to do my best whether it was in school, in sports or at work. My husband has also really influenced me, especially when it comes to my career. His passion for his career is infectious and has been really inspiring to me.
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