Woman in Engineering — From Following Passions to Advice and Lessons From a Quality Director

Sponsored by Zimmer Biomet

Chasity Colestock. Photo courtesy of Zimmer Biomet.

Chasity Colestock. Photo courtesy of Zimmer Biomet.

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Fairygodboss
July 22, 2024 at 10:22AM UTC

For Chasity Colestock, finding her passion, purpose and voice was never a struggle — she knew from an early age that math and problem solving would be driving forces in her life. 

“Every year in middle and high school, I’d have all the problems in my math book solved within a month, just to do it again once the teacher assigned homework,” she recalls. Colestock also remembers loving woodshop class and following her heart instead of a teacher’s advice to take bookkeeping classes. “I learned early-on that was a very different math than what I enjoyed,” she notes.

In the end, “I didn’t choose the engineering field; it chose me,” Colestock tells us. She confidently pursued this field in college, despite often being the only woman in her classroom. “It never was anything I put too much thought into,” she reflects. “I just went to class and soaked in knowledge to perform the best I could.” And she has used this same mindset ever since.

Today, Colestock has advanced her career, following her passion to become the Quality Director for Zimmer Biomet (ZB) — and that is only one facet of her identity. Similar to her love of engineering, Colestock is steadfast in supporting and pursuing her other passions. For instance, she has participated as a Vice Chair in the Exhale (ZB’s ERG for the LGBTQA+ community) Leadership team and is a member of other ERGs, including, Women-Inspired Network (WIN), Juntos, African and Black Leaders for Excellence (ABLE)  and Empower, which is the company’s newest ERG focused on people with disabilities and caregivers.

Colestock attended an HRC event as a member of ZB’s Exhale ERG Leadership Team. Photo courtesy of Zimmer Biomet.

Colestock tells us that she is also a(n): 

  • Wife to a wonderful, supportive man.

  • Mom of two now-grown men in college.

  • Sister to two wonderful people: a sister who also works at ZB and a brother.

  • Guardian to a brother who is mentally disabled.

  • Avid traveler, scuba diver, and sailor.

In this interview, Colestock reflects on her impressive career and shares her top advice, an inside look at being a woman in engineering, and how ZB supports her!

To begin, what’s the most memorable piece of career advice you’ve ever received?

During college, I worked full-time for a small business in a small town. By the time I graduated, my role was General Manager, and I had grand plans to own the company at some point; however, the owner pushed me out and said that, while I could always come back, I needed to go work for a bigger company somewhere else. This was the best advice I’ve ever received. I would not have learned, developed, and grown as much as I have if I hadn’t worked at larger organizations.

What are your top tips for women who are interested in advancing in their career like you did?

In your current role, take every opportunity to learn and grow, seek out new opportunities, be accountable, be independent, be proactive in communicating your personal career goals, support the development and advancement of others, and embrace diversity.

Also, learn about unconscious bias early to determine if it’s applicable to you so that you can self-correct and be a better leader — someone who other women are proud to work beside.

Next, let’s talk more about working in the engineering field. What advice do you have for others who are looking to break into engineering? 

If you have a passion for engineering, then put your mind to it and do it. Don’t spend time thinking about whether it’s a male-dominated field or not. There’s nothing to ‘break’ into; follow what you know you’ll be good at and what you are passionate about. Really, the only challenge you should worry about is ‘which engineering field do I select?’ — that’s the challenge!

Speaking of different engineering fields, what does your role as a Quality Director look like?

My field of engineering is Industrial Engineering, and I have been in my current role since January 2022. I am happy to say my days are never exactly the same. I have the opportunity to lead leaders who are responsible for a number of design quality workstreams for a number of medical device segments. One day, I could be involved in discussions regarding a new product innovation project and the next day, I’m supporting a team regarding post-market engineering projects or having a discussion on risk management.

Working with diverse and talented team members and using my knowledge and skills to develop better ways of doing things never gets boring. It’s very rewarding to know that we are improving the lives of patients.

What does “bold innovation” mean to you? How does this come to life in your day-to-day work?

What’s most exciting about my role and working with ZB is the emerging technology we get to learn about and apply to our new product innovation projects. My role is in Design Quality, and I ensure our products are best-in-class by utilizing the latest innovative customer-centric solutions and ensuring that products are compliant to all standards and regulations, which is very important for patients across the world.  

‘Bold innovation’ to me means deliberate, well-thought-out plans to deliver customer-centric solutions and not being reactive.

Let’s talk more about ZB’s culture. How does ZB support your well-being, promote work-life balance, and leverage DEI to drive innovation? 

I couldn’t be more proud to work for a company that embraces and celebrates team member differences while focusing on our well-being and work-life balance. ZB is Great Place to Work certified in the U.S. and in several other locations around the world. This is highlighted every day through our CEOs commitment to team members, ERGs, and more. I’m also very proud to work for a company that is leading ESG in our peer group.

At ZB, we embrace differences and empower all team members. I’ve been fortunate to work alongside very talented, diverse team members who I continue to learn from every day. We should never assume that we know everything. Instead, it’s important to acknowledge the value of our team members and work together on all projects and solutions.   

ZB also empowers me to do my best, and I have countless allies who have supported me and continue to do so. I’m so happy that I’m now in a position to do the same for the many team members who are committed to themselves and to ZB’s mission. I’m working hard to ensure that everyone at ZB who works well, strives for more, has integrity, and is passionate about designing and manufacturing safe and effective medical devices has the same opportunities that I have had throughout my career.



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