ABB women who inspire other women

Women across ABB Electrification and Installation Products shared how they’ve been inspired and ways they’re engaging with and encouraging other women.

Ask any woman about her career and you’re likely to hear that other women played an important role in their growth and success. This is especially true in the electrification and manufacturing fields, where women represent only one-third of the industry’s workforce in the United States.1

ABB has committed to a goal of 25 percent female managers worldwide by 2030 and is fostering networks and communities of practice that offer greater opportunities to connect and collaborate than ever before.

As we celebrate Women’s History Month and a year unlike any experienced previously, women across the business shared how they’ve been inspired and ways they’re engaging with and encouraging other women.

Jonni Peterson, Head of Logistics & Trade Services for U.S. ABB Installations Product Division

My mother was a quality engineer for aviation and aerospace engines and was a great role model of how women can excel in any industry. I was also taught (from the woman who wasn’t allowed to wear pants to work), “Always remember, no person is better than the other – we all put our pants on one leg at a time! You can do anything your heart desires and you can become everything you set your mind to. We all get to the place that’s meant for us when don’t take no for an answer.”

With this no-limits mindset, I started my career in global trade, traveling the world and leading meetings where I was always the only female. I’ve seen how a high-performing culture needs diverse thinking and breadth and depth of skills. We have incredible technical expertise across ABB, and I look for the overall value the employee or candidate brings to a role – even if the individual doesn’t have all the technical background or product knowledge. I want team members who stretch across silos, work collaboratively, and who have a willingness to develop skills and embrace uncertainty. I guide women on building their knowledge and understanding how they connect to the organization’s strategy and contribute value. 

Christy Tilton, U.S. Sales Leader for ABB Installation Products Division

I love mentoring other women because they turn out to be some of the greatest leaders and colleagues. Many women lean in too hard or too soft. It’s about the perfect blend. Sometimes we need to be spicy and other times sweet like sugar. It’s a balancing act. Simplifying a women’s approach is one of the things I really love to coach on.

As women, we’re used to wearing many hats and sometimes being alone doing it. As women coming together, it’s about ‘Let’s do this’ and the momentum of working as a collective group on a common cause. 

I’m also inspired by my favorite quote from Eleanor Roosevelt: A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.

Antoinette Tirone, European Distribution Center (EDC) manager, ABB Installation Products Division

For me, it’s about valuing people on the team and telling them so. It’s very powerful for people to feel a part of the team and empowered to bring ideas and solutions. Most of the time, this means people are coming up with ideas that I would not have come up with otherwise. I want to make sure that everyone feels they can bring something.

Elizabeth Rasberry, Internal Communications Leader, ABB Installation Products Division

I appreciate the women who have poured into me over the years in my career. Whether it was a chat over coffee or a regular lunch appointment, I have grown because women took the time to listen and provide counsel to me. Whenever I can, I try to do the same. I do my best to encourage and support women to pay it forward and keep the conversations going.

Erin Kelly, Commercial Operations and Customer Success Strategy Leader, ABB Installation Products Division

Research shows women who are collaborative are more successful in business. I want to make sure women are part of the conversation and there is an awareness of who is at the table. I also encourage women to get involved. And our internal ABB Encompass Women’s networking group is a great way to connect with women for those new to ABB; it enables women to build their network across the organization. I’ve also found it valuable to keep in touch with women I’ve worked with previously to promote, motivate and stay connected.

Alva Green, International Customer Support Lead, ABB Installation Products Division

I encourage and support women by making sure they are heard without prejudice. I have a small group I created to give women space to share without being judged because of their feelings. Across my team, we are very collaborative when training and coming up with ways to work effectively together.

My late aunt worked well into her 70s and was a role model for my work ethic. She was very people-oriented and friendly, and she gave a voice to those women who would be afraid to speak up. I try to approach everything I do with a sense of excellence that is unexpected and admired by other women.

Annette Waters, HR Leader, ABB Installation Products Division

I currently mentor three early career women in HR and always make myself available for coaching, advice, counsel for female talent in the organization. I’ve had numerous women reach out to me years after I was their HR contact and share with me feedback or coaching I gave them when we worked together, which they felt had a profound and positive impact on their career. I am floored they remember interactions years later word-for-word and humbled that I had any part, even the smallest one, in their career. It only takes a minute or two to provide feedback or coaching to a direct report, a peer or even a manager, and I feel women owe this to one another.

I was very fortunate in my very first HR role to have two female supervisors who were passionate about teaching me. They always took time to guide me to find the answer vs. giving me the answer. One of those women is the very reason I chose HR as a career, as I was in awe of what she was able to do and how she did her job. She recently turned 75 and we still stay in touch regularly. 

Erin Caimano, Electrification Business Area

Inclusiveness has to be role modeled at the leadership level. I put a lot of effort into this by making it part of my brand. This requires me to open up and put myself out there first. It may look like sharing a learning moment or it may look like sharing a vulnerable moment in my career. I try to foster a comfortable environment where women can come into a very non-diverse team and feel it is ok to show part of herself. This is the business benefit of inclusiveness – when people are comfortable and feel supported, they do their best work. This is not in the form of being a cookie cut out of other leaders, but by bringing different points of view to the table. 

I make a specific effort to recognize the accomplishments of women in the company, both publicly and privately. When I am on a business call and a woman is presenting, even if I don’t know her personally, I make a point of letting her know things that I really liked. I always value getting this input from colleagues, so it is something I prioritize.

Dori Abel, Communications Leader, ABB Installation Products Division

I’ve always strived to have diverse teams—gender, race, age—all the attributes that bring diversity of thought and perspective. Ask, “who else can be involved? Are there women who would benefit from involvement and the business would benefit from their involvement?” Small steps can lead to big advances.

Growing up, my mother was a police dispatcher in a department that did not have any female officers. She taught me that everyone can make an impact. In my own career, every major company I worked for had strong women leaders, so it was easy to see the opportunities that could be ahead for me. In areas where the ratio of women is lower, we collectively need to do a better job of casting a wider net for open roles. Look to your left, your right and behind you to see the next great leader or the person who will have the next breakthrough idea. Extend a hand and see how you can help them along. Don’t be afraid to ask those who are quiet in meetings, “what do you think?” Their answer may not only surprise you but be the answer you need.

12017 U.S. Census American Community Survey (ACS)Class of WorkerEmploymentIndustry and Class of WorkerIndustry and OccupationManufacturing and Occupation.
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