Homework features AHAM members’ insights on careers, success, life outside of work, and AHAM membership. This month, we spoke with Debbie Mudway, a member of AHAM’s Board of Directors and Senior Vice President of Global Marketing for Helen of Troy - Health & Home..

What personal and professional goals are you currently pursuing?

Professionally, I was recently promoted from a U.S.-centric role to a global role so I am on a whirlwind onboarding right now that has been a great stretch of learning for me.


Personally, I am on a continuous improvement plan related to health and well-being. I love self-improvement and am constantly seeking new ways to grow and make changes. My go-to sources are friends and co-workers, but I do read a lot about nutrition, exercise and ways to eliminate stress!

What is the best career advice you have ever received?

I actually have two that I live by daily:


• Focus on BIGGER, BETTER, FEWER initiatives. It will ensure at the end that your efforts are focused on the areas that will have the highest impact to business results. It’s hard to do when there are new ‘shiny’ topics and requests daily that are trying to distract you. If they are not part of the big goals, don’t get distracted and be bold enough to say no.


• The golden rule of TREAT OTHERS AS YOU WANT TO BE TREATED is what we tell our children, but it definitely applies to adults in the workplace! No matter who you are or what level you attain in business, we are all human. If you give respect, you will get that back in spades. As a leader, this is rule number one. Really takes no effort and makes a big difference in the work culture.


What are your secrets to having a productive day?

Be selfish with your schedule and proactively block weekly at least a few hours for yourself. Desk and ‘thinking’ time is very valuable and sitting in meetings or doing emails do not allow ‘thinking’ time to advance bigger ideas. Make sure when you schedule it in Outlook, you use the privacy button so others cannot see the title or you will get pressure to use that time from your staff!


Plan, plan, plan. Don’t just focus on today. You need to always be looking at the horizon and upcoming priorities/deliverables and start to create milestones and ownership leading to major deadlines with your team, so it’s not a fire drill at the end. The best thinking is always based on allowing time to really work the topic and viewing from all sides. When you rush, the thinking time is diminished and I do not believe your best thinking is the result.


Predict an appliance or other innovation that will revolutionize the next generation.

Since I am in marketing new product development, I am taking the Fifth.


How did you come to work in the appliance industry?

I entered the appliance industry by default. Early in my career, I was downsized, unemployed and had an opportunity to work for a CPG company as a freelance event planner for a grand opening of their new offices. I quickly fell in love with the company, people and products and was hired as a sales administrator and have grown over 28 years and five mergers to Senior Vice President of Global Marketing.


What do you gain from your involvement in AHAM?

Multiple benefits! First and foremost, as a board member, I have an opportunity to work with appliance industry leaders who are smart, passionate and engaged. I find interaction with my counterparts to be very motivating.


I marvel at the level of talent, professionalism and quality of our AHAM staff. I have visibility into other industry organizations and AHAM is best in class in all aspects and really is the model for industry organizations in regard to fiscal responsibility and engaging in most impactful industry issues/topics within our doctrine.


Lastly, I do feel that AHAM, as a member-driven industry organization, is much more powerful than any one company is by itself from a standards and regulatory standpoint.


Outside of the appliance industry, what would be your dream job?

To be an independently wealthy philanthropist 😊.


Seriously, I feel blessed in my current role and in the company I am in today. Our company mission, culture and people I work with motivate me daily. I have a chance to do something impactful that allows consumers to use amazing products in their daily lives and hopefully bring some delight and true solutions into their home.


If I had time for hobbies, my dream hobbies would be photography since I am a highly visual person and love capturing moments in a unique way. Or a nutritionist/well-being coach to help others to become their best selves. I have no skills in either, nor time to pursue today, so they are still on my long bucket list.
Looking for past issues of

Melanie Cook
Rick Roth
Lenore Kaplan
Andy Chinmulgund
John Taylor
Steve Nackers
Paulo da Silva
Pat Bassett
Tom Siwek
Dan Query
Dochul Choi
Steve Ver Strat
Manfred Staebler