Copper and Brass Sales is celebrating Women’s History Month, in part, by spotlighting members of our staff whose exemplary work and inspiring stories further our mission and values. Stay tuned throughout the month as we spotlight these inspiring employees.
Sarah has been with Copper and Brass Sales for nine years as a Project Manager, coming to a career in the metal industry from a career in the mental health field. When Sarah went to college, she wasn’t quite sure which direction she wanted to take her career, so she double majored, receiving Bachelors degrees in both psychology and business administration. Right out of the gate, she began working as a Quality Manager at a behavioral health company supporting a call center, juvenile detention center and treatment facility. While she worked primarily with the call center, she was surprised to learn that she was required to take self-defense training as she also supported the inpatient facilities. Sarah loved that she could see the positive impact she was making in people’s lives and found that incredibly rewarding, however the exposure this position brought was extremely taxing which, in the end, left her burnt out. While she loved the business aspect of that job, she felt it was time for her to move on to something else that would provide opportunity to grow.
Sarah came to Copper and Brass Sales looking for a change. We were happy to welcome her into the metals industry. She came in fresh as a Project Manager in Business Excellence to manage the new pricing model Zilliant software. She was able to help the business make more strategic pricing decisions where this had been previously approached using manual pricing sheets or just a “basic understanding” of pricing. While it’s not typical of a project manager to also own strategy, Sarah excelled in that area as well by identifying reports that would be useful to help increase pricing adoption and creating plans like “Shrink the Pink.”
As the Zilliant project moved from implementation into maintenance mode, Sarah moved onto project management for the Customer Portal. Outside of managing the ongoing project, she helped implement additional site tools and enhancements to help provide a higher level of instant access and services to our customers. Most recently, Copper and Brass Sales formed a new eCommerce department that Sarah was selected to lead as Project Manager.
While Sarah has been a Project Manager throughout her career here at Copper and Brass Sales, her role has afforded her opportunities to work on different types of projects and interact with many different aspects of the business: purchasing, operations, sales, etc. Sarah has gone all-in to every project and has dedicated herself fully before moving onto the next adventure, proving herself as a transformative project manager.
One key element Sarah mentioned as we talked about her career were the opportunities presented to her to continue to learn and grow. First, she utilized the Copper and Brass Sales tuition reimbursement program to earn her MBA. Secondly, she paid attention to the programs that thyssenkrupp corporate made available. One program specifically recognized the gender biases that exist within our own business. Called “Women in the Driver’s Seat,” Sarah interviewed for and was selected to participate in this global program geared towards women in project management, designed to bring high performers together. Working on a large project over the course of a year, she received coaching on project management techniques and even on how to give presentations; the latter of which she found incredible value in. This also provided a specialized focus on what strengths make women in the workplace valuable. For the last six months of that journey, Sarah studied hard in order to test into earning her Project Management Professional certification – not an easy task!
Mirroring thyssenkrupp, Sarah acknowledges that struggles do exist for women but has found that she’s struggled more as a woman who looks younger than she actually is. As a result, she’s felt that she’s had to earn her credibility to battle the perception that she was inexperienced and has had to go the extra mile. Regardless of the obstacles put in front of her, Sarah approaches her life with high standards and a solid work ethic.
While Sarah coming to Copper and Brass Sales was a loss to the mental health industry, it was a clear win for us. We’re overjoyed that Sarah chose us and that we could share her inspiring story with you through our celebration of Women’s History Month.