It is Possible to Be a Great Executive and Mom


It is Possible to Be a Great Executive and Mom

By: Jill Evanko, CEO and President, Chart Industries

Nearly 25 years ago, I was finishing college with a degree in Business Administration and gearing up to move into my first finance job at Arthur Andersen, which was considered to be a great starting point. Little did I know that the Enron situation would directly impact my career path, as I realized shortly thereafter that I would need to find a new job. My message here is that your career path rarely goes as you expect it to, but being open minded to new opportunities will bring additional new opportunities!

So, I took the next job (at Honeywell) that I could get, which brought me into industrial manufacturing. From there, I was hooked on the industry, on “making things to make money”. 

I have had several operations and finance roles since then, but regardless of the role, I loved the exciting, innovative nature of the manufacturing field as well as the numerous opportunities in the space. As a female professional in a largely male-dominated industry, I found mentors and peers that were extremely supportive.

Most importantly, my guiding principle was to show respect to everyone I worked with and to always lead with kindness.

I began my executive MBA at the University of Notre Dame in 2008 while working full-time.

Not too long after this, I found my way into my most important role – being a mom (love that kid!).

I found that it was an easy transition, balancing work and being a mom, because I loved what I did. It is very true that what you do for work fuels your life and what you do in your life fuels your work, so I am very proud to work in an industry that provides me with opportunities to work with exceptional people every day and deliver new, innovative solutions for our customers. It also gives me the chance to show the next generation, including my daughter, what manufacturing is all about. She joined me at one of our plants and enjoyed trying out augmented reality welding! Having the chance to link STEM for students not only at work but also at home has been an added fulfillment in my career to date.

It is one of my personal missions to inspire other female professionals that “you can be a great leader and a great mom.”

As CEO of Chart Industries, Inc (NYSE: GTLS), I have a goal of making the company better than I found it and again, reiterating the idea of kindness at work. When I took on this role, I found that our industrial portfolio of products primarily servicing the oilfield and petrochemical industries could be easily applied to sustainability-linked applications and end markets such as hydrogen, carbon capture and water treatment, to name a few. Since then, we have strategically pivoted our portfolio to support macro trends such as sustainability and corporate social responsibility.

Over the past few years, we have more-than-doubled in size, expanded to global locations across North and South America, Asia, Africa, India, Europe and Australia and we continue to make a large impact on our customers’ operations by helping them meet and exceed their business objectives and sustainability targets as we continue to meaningfully advance the energy transition. 

We’ve launched community giving programs, a Global Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) committee, various talent development programs and other initiatives with the goal of making a lasting impact.

In summary, I’ve accumulated my list of “to-dos” for myself which can hopefully be helpful to someone else trying to navigate the interlinkage between being an executive and a mom:

  1. Keep working hard, and never underestimate your abilities.
  2. Find what you’re passionate about and stick to it. When you’re doing what you love, your work and your life tend to feel much more fulfilled.
  3. Listen to others and empower them to bring their ideas forward. For anyone leading a team, take the time to learn good leadership qualities and skills so you can bring out the best in those around you. Good things can be achieved by one person, but great things are achieved by a team.
  4. Never stop learning. Take a proactive approach to your education and make it a personal responsibility to continue learning.
  5. Be willing to take calculated risks; taking bold steps where appropriate can help create jobs for more people, create new career opportunities for others and potentially change the world and/or your company for the better.
  6. And finally, my favorite rule to live by is to lead with kindness. Never underestimate the power and impact of simply being kind. 

You can hear more from Jill and other inspiring manufacturing professionals at the WiM South regional conference on March 14. This exciting and informative conference is geared towards those living in the Southern region of the United States and offers a full day of engaging professional development sessions, peer networking opportunities and inspiring keynote presentations.

Learn more about WiM South and register here.