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Image courtesy of Siemens Energy.
Sometimes leadership means taking a step back — not always forging forward. And, when you are ready to move ahead again, you bring those around you up with you. That’s exactly what Cheryl Boddiford, vice president of Global Supply Chain Management for Siemens Energy’s Generation Service Business, did.
Boddiford has held a variety of leadership positions over the last three decades that have offered her different perspectives, built her business acumen and, ultimately, bettered her as a leader. Prior to her current role, which she’s been in for about six months, she served as the director of Global Order Management, Quality Management and Business Improvement for the North American region for the company’s Generation Service Business. She spent years garnering leadership experience in different parts of the company.
But Boddiford wasn’t always a leader. She started her career as a leader at the age of 28 because she convinced someone to take a risk on her, she says. But, two years later — faced with a lot of pressure as young, female talent in a male-dominated company and industry while raising a family — she decided to take advantage of her company’s part-time policy. She shifted back to an individual contributor role so that she could continue to work and raise her two daughters.
Taking the time to step back and relish in motherhood was one of her proudest decisions, she says. Flash forward 12 years, and she felt ready to dive back into leadership and took on her first global role.
“I am happiest with that one pivotal decision and would not ever change it,” she tells Fairygodboss. “And, when I was ready, I was able to step back into leadership positions — and look at me now!”
Boddiford came back with a bang. She’s lifting other women up the ranks alongside her in the predominantly male energy industry. She does this by volunteering her time to the company’s Employee Resource Group for informal sessions, offering female talent job shadowing experiences and more.
“Today, I’m really focused on being seen as a female leader that is making a difference in our company,” she tells Fairygodboss. “I heard an expression, ‘lift while you climb,’ a few years ago, and I really took this to heart. I’ve always enjoyed mentoring, but I now take this as a serious responsibility as a female leader that this is my action. It is also 100% gratifying to see so many fantastic talented female colleagues around me shining in either existing and/or new roles with confidence. It makes me really proud to be this type of a ‘connector’ for our organization.”
Boddiford explains that one key to her success has been treating her employees like family. There is no hierarchy in her organization. In fact, mentoring others and giving back within the organization is what she says she does best. She’s even taken a year-long external leadership development course to become ever more self-aware of how she shows up as a senior leader.
“I always make the time when asked because it only makes our organization stronger; and I love to see others succeed,” she explains, recalling her first boss who was also always supportive and “amazing” with consistent constructive and positive feedback. Now, she strives to be that same boss for her employees, making sure that she, too, always has their backs.
Of course, being there for everyone else and being there for yourself requires balance. As a working mom, Boddiford has had to make compromises and openly communicate with those around her to stay true to both her professional and personal values.
“You must be true to your values and transparent with what makes you happy both inside and outside the office,” she says. “Communication has been my key to success. Sometimes, I’ve had to tell my family that I have a hard-pressing deadline and have to work the weekend. Or, sometimes, I’ve had to tell my team or colleagues that I have to leave the office early to see my daughter at a swim meet. If you have a brand of delivering results based upon trust, everyone is accepting of your decisions and appreciates your communication.”
She has even passed on “some pretty amazing” job opportunities that didn’t offer her the right balance she requires. After all, the now “empty nester” still loves to take mother/daughter trips with her 20- and 22-year-old daughters, spend time working out with her husband and go paddle-boarding, boating and biking. And there just aren’t always enough hours in the day.
At Siemens Energy, Boddiford and other VP’s help to communicate the importance of work-life balance and staying true to your personal and professional values. If you’d like to join their team, click the link below!
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