Women in Engineering: Planner to UK Chain Supply Manager
Tarna Stapleton is the UK Chain Supply Manager for Whirlpool, and her journey working for this multinational manufacturer and marketer of home appliances has seen her undertake a diverse range of roles with rapid advancement!
Her journey started off in field improvement, followed by planning operations supporting teams of Engineers working in the field to optimise efficiency. Shortly after came a promotion to Regional Service Manager working alongside Field Service Engineers, and this role gave her a great opportunity to spend time out in the field and to develop her people leadership skills.
After spending 18 months in the field, she progressed into overseeing planning operations for every engineer across the UK and began working closely with the Field Operations Leadership Team. This enabled Tarna to employ the skills and experience she had gained working with engineers in the field as a Service Manager and deploy her experience in optimising the way the engineers work day to day.
This experience and opportunity to transfer between teams has supported her in ultimately reaching her current role as the UK Supply Chain Manager. Working across all of the departments involved in the daily operation of the large Service Engineering team has given her a great insight into not only how to manage people on a large scale, but also to understand what drives and engages the consumers to the business.
Whirlpool is not only a great working environment for all of its employees, but also places emphasis on promoting and encouraging females to develop within the organisation. This includes the Women’s Network which does all these things; it inspires, empowers, and helps facilitate people to create and think about their next steps. Moreover, employees at Whirlpool live and work by the same values. Throughout Tarna’s journey, she has never felt excluded, and being a female, she feels adds a different angle and diversity to the teams she has worked within. She also highlights how Whirlpool embraces this and aims to encourage it at every opportunity!
Advice she would give to other women who want to join a Service Engineer or Service Leadership Team would be go for it! Looking at her own journey, she was the first female Planning Manager, the first female Area Service Manager to go out into the field, and working at Whirlpool, along with her dedication to the job, has allowed her to progress quickly and successfully.
Further advice she would give to women who are thinking of joining a similar role is to make sure you’re prepared, there may be people with old fashioned attitudes who don’t believe you will be capable of being successful in the role! Though you have nothing to prove, it’s important to enter every situation prepared with all of the information at hand.
Most importantly: believe in yourself and your abilities, go out there and take the opportunities on offer. Field Service has historically been a male dominated sector, but this is changing with more women stepping into both field and field leadership roles. There is real opportunity out there with both Concept and Whirlpool who are committed to operating a diverse and inclusive team at all levels.