We’re featuring monthly interviews with global IR employees demonstrating Ingersoll Rand’s values at work. October is Global Diversity Awareness Month, a reminder of the positive impact a diverse workforce can have on a society. In the case of manufacturing, lack of gender diversity poses an immediate challenge. Women constitute manufacturing’s largest pool of untapped talent. With this in mind, we’re delighted to highlight Johanna Aaltonen, our manufacturing plant leader in Simmern, Germany.
Johanna, what do you enjoy about your role?
I really enjoy that I get to work with people from all levels of the organization and that every day is different. You are faced with new challenges every time you walk in the factory door.
Tell us about your career path and how you arrived in this role.
I originally started with the company 15 years ago, working in the aftermarket customer support. I gradually moved through various roles into supply chain and operations. At the start of my career, I was not necessarily thinking about becoming a plant leader. The idea grew on me slowly, and two years ago, when I came across the opportunity to take the leap and move to Germany, I decided to go for it. And now, looking back, that has definitely been the right decision.
As a woman in manufacturing—an industry with a wide gender gap—what challenges did you face?
When I was a young manager, in the beginning of my career, apart from HR, we didn’t really have women in senior leadership positions as role models. Therefore, it took some extra courage to set challenging goals for myself and look for opportunities on different sides of the business. Happily, in recent years I have seen that tide turning, and I now have some wonderful female colleagues in manufacturing operations.
How has your time at Ingersoll Rand helped you grow, personally or professionally?
It has been a huge growth journey, both professionally and personally. I have had the privilege to work on exciting projects and meet amazing colleagues from across the globe. I have had some really good managers who have pushed me out of my comfort zone—it is nice to get to work with some of them still, even if we have moved into different roles within the company.
In your role as plant leader, what do you feel your most significant contribution to the company has been?
Working towards a common goal with my team is what motivates me the most. More broadly, my most significant contribution has been building relationships across the functions, so my team works closely with colleagues from commercial, engineering and other areas. I am really proud to see this cooperation bringing results in our current integration projects.
What advice do you have for members of underrepresented groups and early talent?
Stay curious, be ready to learn new things, work hard and have fun.
What do you like best about the culture at Ingersoll Rand?
I would describe our culture as very team-oriented. I work collaboratively and cooperatively with wonderful colleagues across the globe.
EXCELLENCE IN HER ROLE
Johanna’s interest in building engaged teams represents many of Ingersoll Rand’s values, particularly fostering inspired teams. We are proud that Johanna was able to develop into the female leader and role model she looked for herself in her early career during her tenure with Ingersoll Rand.
Her commitment to excellence in an untraditional role is a positive reminder of the opportunities Ingersoll Rand creates for all employees.