Why Everyone Can Benefit From Making a Career Pivot and How to Empower Women Along the Way

Sponsored by ASML

Michaela Landry. Photo courtesy of ASML.

Michaela Landry. Photo courtesy of ASML.

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July 15, 2024 at 8:58PM UTC

Is a career pivot right for you? Well, according to Michaela Landry, Head of Capacity Management for Customer Support U.S., everyone could benefit from making at least one significant pivot in their career. This can help “to confirm whether they were on the right track before or to explore all aspects of a company to find their right spot,” says Landry. “Any pivot gives a unique opportunity to broaden our experiences and minds and makes us more well-rounded professionals.” 

Landry knows this to be true thanks to her extensive experience in career pivots. For instance, she began her career in the automotive sector, where she developed a passion for process quality and standardization. Using this passion and her experience, Landry made multiple pivots: including to a manufacturer for passenger train components and automotive consulting. Then, when Landry became ready to leave the consulting field, a new opportunity presented itself: her husband was joining a company called ASML.

“We were living in Berlin at the time, and I was pregnant with my second child,” Landry tells us. “I said, ‘when I’m done having this baby, I’ll start at ASML as well.’ And that’s what happened. I started within ASML configuration management in 2017.”

Michaela Landry and family. Photo courtesy of Michaela Landry.

Looking back on this leap, “joining ASML was a career pivot in and of itself,” Landry recalls. “Coming from automotive and rail, which are heavily regulated industries, to semiconductor equipment manufacturing was a significant change for me.” And Landry’s career growth didn’t stop there! She notes that ASML has a strong culture of “entrepreneurship, creating your path, and questioning everything” — which leaves a great deal of room for career pivots. 

“There’s a lot more assessment of potential rather than checking all the boxes on subject matter expertise, and hiring managers are always open to talk to people that show interest in eventually joining their department,” she elaborates. Using this ingrained support system, Landry’s inspirational career journey has continued throughout her time at ASML. 

To learn more about her latest pivot, as well as what she’s learned along the way during her unique journey, read on…

To start, can you tell us more about why you decided to pivot your career within ASML and how this benefited you?

In my case, a personal decision came before the decision to change directions. Within the last year, we’d decided as a family to move back to the U.S. (my husband and children are American), and I started reaching out to hiring managers in the U.S. to look for opportunities. 

I’ve also known for some time that my interests are in directly steering and managing work related to the product generation or maintenance process, and I was looking for opportunities to be closer to the product again…

The Capacity Management role was something that was more of a concept at the time, but the possibility of creating a new version of a function within Customer Support (CS) excited me. The fact that there was an opportunity that would allow me to build a team, build out the vision and mission, and shape “my department” convinced me to move.

My role is now very finance- and planning-heavy, which is not something I saw myself appreciating; however, there is a lot of room for developing processes, creating standards, and, of course, building my team, which I’m enjoying. I’m able to connect with not just Operations, but many segments of the organization that I’d previously only had brushes with, such as, Finance, Human Resources, and Corporate Real Estate. This gives me a much broader view of ASML as a business, rather than a manufacturing company.

I’ve also been able to develop more grit because I had to learn a lot about CS and the different dimensions that have to be considered to make it a profitable practice for ASML and one that delivers outstanding service to our customers, the chipmaking manufacturers. 

What is your best piece of advice for other women who are thinking about making a career pivot like you did?

Be clear about what makes you happy in a job. I like building teams, coaching employees, and efficiently creating and executing a shared vision with a team — and this is something I can do in nearly every environment. But, for example, if my joy came from doing research on the molecular structure of metal matrix composites, I wouldn’t stray too far away from development and engineering or academics.

When making your career leaps, how did ASML support you?

Both the entrepreneurial culture and managers at ASML allow for unexpected and uncommon career moves. ASML’s leadership places a lot of value on psychological safety, and I’ve been able to open up about personal and professional aspirations, challenges, and needs. Having (sometimes painful) conversations without fearing that you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage enables pivots. 

Additionally, how have other women aided in your career growth?

My journey at ASML was influenced by many of the strong women I encountered through my involvement with Women@ASML, which is one of our Employee Networks (ENs). Being the chair of Women@ASMLgave me the opportunity to connect with influential leaders in Communications, HR, and D&E, which, in turn, gave me the confidence to think about and pursue the things I want to achieve professionally. Through my work with the network, I met many like-minded women at ASML from different walks of life who were working to make ASML a more inclusive place for women and other minorities. Creating those friendships and connections allowed me to continuously learn about different perspectives and develop a better understanding of other sectors and departments at ASML. I also learned that it’s okay to demand a seat at the table and to push back every so often.

Michaela Landry attending conferences. Photos courtesy of Michaela Landry.

The opportunities in Women@ASML to talk about diversity and inclusion, to discuss how other minorities are experiencing their work life, and to discover what is hindering them from fully feeling included have shaped me as a person and a professional. I’ve experienced Pride celebrations with my LGBTQIA+ colleagues, have learned more about ASML through the NEXT and SPARK ENs, have become more aware of what is needed to plan a dignified exit from work life with Seniors at ASML, and have coached and been coached by other women at ASML. Without that type of insight, I’m not sure if I’d have pursued a position in the U.S. as diligently as I did. 

Michaela Landry at a Pride Celebration. Photo courtesy of Michaela Landry.

Can you tell us how your participation in the Women@ASML group enables you to uplift other women?

When I joined Women@ASML early into my journey at the company, we created recurring Yoga and Meditation events and supported the creation of a series of educational events about burnout (called “Power Up Your Mind”) for International Women’s Day. We had so many women and men come to us and thank us for openly discussing this topic and removing the stigma of talking about burnout at work. We also connected with Fe+Male Tech Heroes in the Netherlands, and I held workshops on Imposter Syndrome during their first annual conference. 

I believe that it is important to build networks and connections within employee populations that may traditionally feel left out so they can not only support each other through fun events and lectures, but also through conversations about what can make someone feel like an outsider. As an employee network, Women@ASML is a bottom-up organization that is changing mindsets and culture one member at a time. Any individual that feels heard, better understood, or supported through the network is worth the effort. 

Since moving to the U.S., I’ve also started a new chapter of Women@ASML for the region’s customer support segment and am working to establish events and projects to promote gender diversity within this (still) very male-heavy part of ASML. We’ve already worked with our local support group to organize a drive to support Domestic Violence shelters in the Portland area. 

Outside of the Women@ASML group, as you grow your career, how do you ensure that you are lifting other women up with you?

As a hiring manager, I always make sure that I have a diverse set of candidates. If my job posting is not attracting a diverse set, I work with my recruiter to help analyze my job posting and make sure that the language used is inclusive and attracts all kinds of candidates. We offer to work with hiring managers who are interested in checking to see if their job postings are using inclusive language and proposing rewording when it is not.

Personally, I also engage with several charities, such as Portland Women in Business for Good and Solve to support my community where I can by volunteering or donating money. I like to talk about those efforts to encourage others to also engage in building inclusive communities.

Finally, what are your top three tips on how other women can help advance the careers of those around them — no matter what direction they take?

  1. Speak up about other women’s positive efforts and successes. Being supportive only counts if it’s out in the open.

  2. Have the courage to hold hard conversations. Some of my most valued growth came from women having honest and caring yet critical feedback for me. 

  3. There’s enough space at the table for all of us. Cherish when another woman gets a place at the table. (While it may be difficult when someone gets the job, promotion, or accolade that you wanted, I focus on acknowledging those feelings in myself and actively recognizing that someone else’s success is a positive thing that has nothing to do with my own ability to reach my goals.)

Are you interested in joining the ASML team? Landry would encourage you to join, and she’s excited to see more women join the company as ASML grows and continues to build their inclusive leadership structure.

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