Life Experiences Shape Consulting Translation Skills

Emerson's Michalle Adkins


Author: Michalle Adkins

Before the holidays, I wrote a blog post, Life Experiences from a Woman in STEM, in the Emerson Exchange 365 Women in Stem group. I talked about growing up on a farm where I gained some early experiences with animals, vitamins, medications, pumps, controllers, and valves.

I don’t think I realized it at the time, but this coupled with my high school math teacher’s encouragement to go into engineering had an influence on my choice to study chemical engineering and ultimately have an interest in both the Pharmaceutical/Biotech and the Automation world. It’s funny but as I look back over the experiences of my life, I can see how it all fits together – each experience building the bridges on the road that I have taken to where I am today.

Upon farther reflection, I can see more of those bridges. When I was in high school, my family hosted an exchange student and I also went to Costa Rica as an exchange student. This gave me the opportunity to realize that I love interacting with and learning from different people and different cultures.

There are other periods in my life where I picked up some other interesting skills—my summer internship dabbling with instrumentation and automation; my experiences at Merck with more instrumentation and automation, project management, computer validation, production, quality, scheduling & planning, managing a team, working with different kinds of people; my time at Emerson learning about business development, sales support, marketing, cross-functional teams, new product development processes and so much more…

That brings me to today where I manage a global team of Life Sciences Consultants at Emerson. So you can see where I started with Pharma and Automation coming together, but what does that have to do with my experiences in Costa Rica? I have begun to see how I use these bridges of experiences every day. I think I am not only a team leader and problem solver but as I ponder over my Exchange Student days, I am also a translator and a lover of cultures.

I started thinking about this concept once when I was working on a project. In a meeting, it seemed that IT and production were agreeing on some specific details of a project, but because I spoke enough of both groups’ languages, I knew that it was not the case.

So, after asking a few more questions, and as we dug deeper into the requirements for that project, I realized that I was acting as a translator. Fast forward to today. I am sometimes the translator between industry language and Emerson-ease and vice versa.

I also have enjoyed working with and getting to know many people around the globe and a little bit about their cultures. I may not always speak their language, but I have learned from the old adage that a “picture is worth a thousand words” and will often use that as my translation tool!

Now there you have it. Farming, student exchange programs, working in Pharma, and working for a process instrumentation & automation company – some of the bridges in my life that I still use on the paths I walk into the future.

So, what do you think about your experiences being bridges in your life?

From Jim: You can connect and interact with other pharmaceutical, biotech and women in the science, technology, engineering and math fields in the Life Sciences and Women in STEM groups in the Emerson Exchange 365 community

Posted Thursday, February 4th, 2016 under Life Sciences.

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