Homework features AHAM members’ insights on careers, success, life outside of work, and AHAM membership. This month, we spoke with Pamela Klyn, Sr. Vice President, Corporate Relations and Sustainability, Whirlpool Corporation and recently elected member of the AHAM Board of Directors.
How did you come to work in the appliance industry?
I started my career with Whirlpool directly after finishing my bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. I was hired into a rotational program for engineers that provided different experiences across the various areas within our engineering organization, including manufacturing, and also provided the opportunity to earn my master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan. From that point I continued with Whirlpool and have held roles of increasing responsibility across the engineering and marketing organizations.
How important is it for leaders to foster a culture of mentorship in their organizations? What makes an effective mentor?
I think it is incredibly important to provide mentoring to employees. I know I benefited greatly from this as I was growing in the organization. I also find I benefit from serving as a mentor. I always learn from my mentees and I appreciate the perspective they bring in helping me understand the challenges they face, what improvements they would recommend, and the pulse of the organization from their point of view. To be an effective mentor, I think it is important to listen to your mentee and to truly understand what skills they are looking to develop and what next steps they find interesting. While they can learn from my experiences as well, it is more important that they learn from their own experiences. I believe a successful mentor helps the individual understand how to get the most out of their current role while developing the necessary skills for their next role.
What are your secrets to having a productive day?
I get up around 5 a.m., quickly review any emails that have come in during the night, then make sure I get a morning workout in. Typically that involves a run or a Peloton workout. I try to get to the office well before my meetings start so I can clear the decks and get ready for the day in a meaningful way. The day gets hectic and I do tend to try to multitask too much, however I am trying to get better at focusing on the moment to ensure the best use of time at any point in the day versus being distracted and having to go back and revisit something at a later time.
What personal and professional goals are you currently pursuing?
Like so many of us, I am continuously trying to find a better balance between work and downtime. I enjoy my job so it is easy to keep “checking in,“ but I recognize that some time away from my phone and email makes for a clearer mind when I do sit down to focus on key activities. Professionally I am always looking to learn new things and my recent change to this role in early 2022 is enabling me to do that.
Predict an appliance or other innovation will revolutionize the next generation.
It is safe and fairly obvious to say that internet-connected appliances will continue to play an even bigger role in the future. I don’t believe anyone has fully cracked the code on how to best deliver this in a way that brings a significant benefit to the consumer, but with the ever-changing landscape related to the power grid you can imagine this will play a role moving forward. We have some great innovations coming out on our traditional products in the meantime that will deliver incredible features to our consumers and I’m excited to see those in the marketplace!
How has a diverse and inclusive workforce helped your company to meet its objectives?
Given the majority of consumers who regularly use our products are female, it is important to have the right representation on our teams to ensure we’re bringing consumer relevant innovation to the marketplace. The fact we are a global company also provides the opportunity to have culturally diverse representation as well which greatly enriches the overall output of our teams. An inclusive culture ensures that everyone is comfortable sharing their ideas and allows us to combine those ideas into winning solutions for our consumers.
Outside of the appliance industry, what would be your dream job?
I would love to work at or own a landscaping business. I love to be outdoors and I enjoy the hard work that goes into planning for and creating the perfect set of plantings that provide color and texture throughout the seasons.
What does your company gain from its involvement with AHAM?
Our involvement with AHAM enables us to partner with comparable organizations in order to drive for the right outcome for consumers when it comes to proposed regulatory actions and helps to ensure we’ve got a louder voice collectively. It also helps us to understand the perspective of our competitors in a safe environment where we are typically all interested in the best outcome in order to ensure consumers receive products that perform well while also continuing to lessen our impact on the environment.
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