Practicing Teamwork over Perfection — How I Lead Through Change

Sponsored by Siemens Energy

Photo Courtesy of Siemens Energy.

Photo Courtesy of Siemens Energy.

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Fairygodboss
May 23, 2024 at 5:36AM UTC

Jennifer Hooper, Senior Vice President (SVP) of Industrial Applications Solutions for Siemens Energy, leads 3,380 people in an ever-changing energy landscape. While there are certainly challenges, she’s passionate about energizing society and fighting climate change at the same time.

“We have the unique chance to not only shape this new company, but also to shape the future of energy towards more sustainable, reliable and affordable systems,” she recently told Fairygodboss when asked about the most exciting part of working at Siemens Energy, where she started in June. “Together, we can make the energy difference and make tomorrow better than today.”

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The key word? Together. Hooper sees her job as leading and inspiring her team to work together towards a North Star — a new realm of possibilities. She’s working on remembering that she doesn’t need to be perfect to get the job done. Instead, she focuses on leading with the courage, integrity and empathy required to empower her team to use their expertise for the common good. 

As a woman leader in a male-dominated industry, that sometimes means making sure women get the chance to contribute that they deserve — an initiative that’s already a priority at Siemens Energy.

“Siemens Energy has a clear diversity and inclusion strategy, which paves the way for women at work and female leadership,” she said. “We all have the ability to enable and to empower people in our company. I am happy to make the active decision every day to treat colleagues and employees with respect and celebrate the contributions each individual can make.”

In this interview, Hooper shared more detail on her leadership strategies, how she practices sponsorship and what makes Siemens Energy a special place for women to work. She also shared her best advice for job seekers across the board. 

How long have you been in your current role, and what were you doing previously?

I was appointed SVP of Industrial Applications Solutions for Siemens Energy in June 2020. Prior to that role, I was the Vice President of Product Management, Subsea Processing at TechnipFMC. 

Describe what you do in one sentence. 

As SVP, I have the pleasure to lead a global business with 3,380 talented people who deliver customer value through integrated electrification, automation and digitalization (E-A-D) solutions.

What were the most appealing aspects of Siemens Energy that made you want to join?

The world keeps changing, and so does the energy industry. Siemens Energy is one of the most compelling, inspiring companies in the field that has the ability to play a leading role in the energy transformation. What is inspiring and what I am passionate about is that we as a company energize society and fight climate change at the same time.

Being part of a global team that has an exciting purpose and strong values offers so many opportunities. Together, we have the unique chance to not only shape this new company, but also to shape the future of energy towards more sustainable, reliable and affordable systems. I am excited to be part of a team that energizes societies. Together, we can make the energy difference and make tomorrow better than today.

Tell me a bit about your first day (or week) at Siemens Energy. What kinds of things made you feel comfortable? 

When I started with Siemens Energy in June, our world was different from what we have experienced prior to the global pandemic and its impact on life. Being new with the company in times of remote working made me rethink how to get on board and get to know the company, how to liaise with my team and my peers, how to engage with employees who work around the globe, and how to balance work and life.

I was overwhelmed by the warm welcome from the leadership team, my colleagues and the committed people in our Solutions Business. I received calls, emails, messages on social media and, of course, there was a plan in place to familiarize me with the company. Also, dedicated contacts and support were super helpful to understand the what and the how. From day one, I felt like a part of a team that is growing together, despite distances or different time zones. It is the team spirit and the company culture that made me feel comfortable, and it is our purpose and the strong belief that, as one team, we can achieve our goals.

How would you describe your leadership style?

My leadership style encompasses clearly setting the direction (the North Star), motivating and inspiring the team to bring possibilities into reality. I do this by bringing people together while leading with courage, integrity and empathy.

What’s one thing you think young job seekers should know about Siemens Energy? What about those who are in a more advanced career stage? 

Siemens Energy offers great opportunities to all motivated talents, regardless of the stage of their careers. It is about delivering sustainable, reliable and affordable energy solutions while fostering the decarbonizing journey of a complete industry. We welcome job seekers who want to make the difference, who want to help lead the energy transformation, who want to innovate and who want to create value. Our culture is defined by caring, agile, respectful and accountable individuals, and excellence of any kind is valued in Siemens Energy. 

How do you plan to use your role to help bring up other women behind you? How do you build time into your schedule for this kind of work?

I was very fortunate to have a sponsor early on in my career that always gave me a seat at the table — whether it was brainstorming growth strategies, negotiating hundred-million-dollar contracts or pitching ideas to CEOs. He trusted me and my intuition.

I have carried on that same leadership style with young women with whom I’ve had the pleasure of working over the years. I make sure they are elevated and have a seat at the table. I support them in ensuring their great ideas and voices are heard. In our industry, women are oftentimes the minority, and it’s difficult to put yourself out there when you don’t look like anyone else at the table. Knowing that they have support helps give confidence and courage to young women to speak up.

What are you trying to improve on?

I continue to work on many things:  

  1. I’m always checking myself that I’m being my “authentic self” while continuing to grow and adapt.

  2. I focus on the idea of “progress” over “perfection,” which includes, most recently, moving to a new company and accepting that I’m not the expert in this business. My job is to lead, not be the technical expert.

  3. I always work on listening. I think it’s the most important tool that we have: being present and listening with full, undivided attention.

What are the top three qualities you look for when you’re speaking with a candidate?

Thank you for the interesting question. I think it is the mix of qualities that is important. There are professional skills, and more important soft skills and qualities count. For me, a candidate has to be authentic. I like to hear how someone approached or managed a concrete challenge rather than how she or he would address a problem.

Second, it is about culture fit and teamwork; to achieve goals, we need people who are able to collaborate well with others, who listen and who share.

The third quality is willingness to learn and to transform. We need to be open for change, understand change as opportunity and shape what we want to be and what we want to deliver. 

Why do you think Siemens Energy is a particularly supportive work environment for women?

Siemens Energy has a clear diversity and inclusion strategy, which paves the way for women at work and female leadership, including mentoring programs, flexible working hours, mobile working and the usual suspects when it comes to being a working mom.

Regardless of gender, everyone in the company has the same opportunities, and our people are our creativity. I think it is important to look at what is beyond, to celebrate diversity of thoughts, and to make this an asset. We all have the ability to enable and to empower people in our company. I am happy to make the active decision every day to treat colleagues and employees with respect and celebrate the contributions each individual can make.

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