“I’ve seen this company set goals and work towards achieving them, and I'm always driven by that. I feel very good about working for a company that does what they say they're going to do.”
Monique Terry has made a career out of training teams and organizations to achieve their best. During her undergraduate engineering studies at Western Michigan, she was first introduced to process improvement. Monique soon became fascinated by the challenge of analyzing and finding new ways to get people to think and act differently to help them work more efficiently – and create more impact. Monique went on to serve leading companies in the auto, aerospace and home improvement sectors for nearly two decades, along the way earning a black belt in Six Sigma, a leading methodology to help companies optimize their business processes.
Eager to bring her skills and passion to a new industry, Monique was drawn to Xylem’s mission – to solve the world’s water challenges. In 2019, she joined the Xylem team as an expert in continuous improvement (CI).
“Xylem’s sense of purpose just pulled me in,” says Monique. “Everything we do is designed around helping others and that’s something I’ve always lived my life by. It’s just great to be a part of a company where you can see that happening. Every project I’ve worked on there’s been an opportunity to see the improvement and impact on the customer.”
Monique quickly rose to senior director of continuous improvement for Xylem’s Americas region. In this role, she is responsible for developing the overall direction of continuous improvement for the Americas. “I try to influence teams to change behaviors and look for better ways to work and improve manufacturing and business processes to help the company become more efficient and reduce costs,” she explains.
“One of my proudest accomplishments was leading an effort to digitize processes for Xylem’s service and rental centers. The deployment of mobile apps and digital devices helped improve productivity and modernize our dewatering branches to really enhance the way we serve our customers and their communities,” she adds.
In addition to helping Xylem teams improve their performance, Monique is also passionate about mentoring her individual colleagues to help them achieve their personal best.
“You’ll have peaks in your career, and you'll have valleys, so you need people rallying around you and telling you that you can bust through whatever barrier it is and just keep going.”
She’s also benefitted from being mentored herself. “I've had the luxury of having really strong mentors who have helped me understand that you can be a mother, you can be a leader and you can do it all.” She appreciates how those around her have encouraged her to pursue new opportunities – even when they take her outside of her comfort zone: “My current boss has told me, ‘Monique, if you're not uncomfortable then you're not growing. You have got to get comfortable being uncomfortable.’”
Monique now leads close to 50 CI professionals, and she continues to expand her team: “I look for people who exhibit certain skills and talents, those diamonds in the rough who you can encourage to work at a higher level,” says Monique. “In addition to technical aptitude and ability, I look for people who are hungry to do things differently and who constantly look for ways to innovate. It's really about passion.”
Monique is also committed to fostering a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion.
“Bringing together a cross-section of voices is really fundamental to innovation and problem solving. To build a culture of diversity, it’s important for people to have opportunities to connect and network with people who have similar interests or similar backgrounds. Sometimes if you don't see those models or figures, then maybe you don't think you can get to one of those roles.”
Monique is involved in The National Society for Black Engineers (NSBE) and Xylem’s People of Color and Allies Network Community Engagement Subcommittee, which she co-leads. As part of her work with both groups, she connects with colleges, universities and societies to attract and recruit diverse talent to Xylem.
Additionally, Monique has played an active role in The Society of Women Engineers and Xylem’s Women’s Network, where she encourages other women to find their own voice and to pursue their career goals, without feeling like they have to make a choice between their personal and their professional life.
“Xylem is a place where I've been able to bring my true authentic self,” she says. “I've been able to come here and be who Monique is. Everybody brings something different. And I think that's the fun in working here.” In Xylem, Monique says she’s found a home where she can help her company and her colleagues achieve their best – while also achieving her own.
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