Shannon Steward, Sales Manager, Advantech Cincinnati, Ohio
Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from Miami University (Oxford, Ohio)
Shannon has worked for the Advantech Cincinnati, Ohio office for the past 5 years. She began her career as an Inside Sales Engineer and recently moved into her current role as a Sales Manager. Shannon specializes in the Embedded Single Board Computer line and one of the favorite parts about her job is the wide variety of customers, industries, and applications she’s gotten to work with, in her time with Advantech.
Outside of work she enjoys rooting on the FC Cincinnati soccer team, trying new restaurants in the area, (attempting) DIY home projects, and traveling with her husband. In the next few years, she hopes to be able to make it to Greece, Italy, and Germany.
Talk about the culture at your company. What makes it inclusive or supportive of women in engineering and automation?
I would describe Advantech’s company culture as collaborative, welcoming, and respectful. When I first started as an Inside Sales Engineer my manager was a woman and her manager was a woman. So from day one I saw women in my company not only holding engineering positions but also taking strides to move upward in their career path. Throughout my time here I have seen many women work in various engineering roles and feel empowered to take on new challenges.
What first drew you to engineering and this industry?
Going into college I started out as a chemistry major but found myself wishing I had more math classes to take. After some research, I figured out that Chemical Engineering added the math courses I was looking for. While Organic Chemistry really made me question this decision I stuck it out for the promise of having a job right out of college. So I would say I was initially drawn to the degree because I enjoy math but I ultimately stuck it out because I felt it was my best return on investment.
Describe your biggest career challenge. How did you solve it — or what was the outcome or lesson learned?
My biggest career challenge was right before I took my current job. I felt very unsure of which direction I saw myself going and for once in my life didn’t have a blueprint for the next few years. I was considering all different options for my next job and the outcome was finding my current position! I decided to put myself into an industry I knew nothing about and see if I could make it. It taught me that sometimes it’s okay to not have a plan and take a leap of faith.
What career advice would you give to your younger self?
Your career choices don’t have to make sense to anyone but yourself. Stand strong in your convictions, challenge yourself to always learn new things, and read more books.
Filed Under: Women in Engineering