What I’ve Learned: Cindy ThomasPosted 12/23/2017
General Manager of LED Sales,Alset LED
We work for our families, not our companies. My father started a lighting company back in 1986 and that was my entrance to the lighting world. While he considered the business—it was called Silverlight—his baby, he always maintained that he worked for his family. He never missed a sporting event or family function because of work requirements. Ultimately, the business became successful and it was acquired by a larger lighting company. It was my extreme good luck to be able to work with him and my mother. Family dinners often blended work talk and family chat, but it was always enjoyable.
Being successful is balancing street smarts and talent with gratitude. The lighting industry has many different opportunities for advancement. I’ve been blessed to experience careers in large, established companies and start-ups. The skill set required is basically the same: hard work balanced with a drive to succeed as well as a passion for the products you represent.Acknowledging team members in the completion of a task makes everyone proud of the achievement.
Something better coming. A few of my career changes came when I was a single parent—not having an income hurt not only myself, but my son and our collection of pets. I’m happy to report that we never sacrificed the fish to feed the cat or the dog. I learned not to panic, but trust that something better was on the horizon—it always was.
Integrity means as much as knowledge. You may have extensive knowledge of applications or product performance, but if you miss delivery dates, overpromise and underdeliver, or let a customer down in a warranty claim, they remember. Your personal reputation is tied to the company you represent and follows you forever.
Surround yourself with good people. In my over 30 years, I have been fortunate to have excellent mentors and even now have brought over key people from my past to be part of my team at my current company. Good people help you minimize errors, ease work load and achieve great things. It also makes the work day more fun! The team I have today makes me appear better than I probably am.
A balanced work life and family life is important. We all work to provide for our families. Enjoying what we do makes the work day go quickly. Making time for hobbies, sports and exercise gives us the energy to focus at work. While some teenagers may disagree, spending time as a family is what keeps us grounded so everyone should make sure to have time allocated accordingly.
Appreciate the companies that treat you well and those that don’t. Learning to survive an unexpected reorganization that leaves you out gives you a skill set you can use in many aspects of life.
Change is coming. What industry is more dynamic than lighting? I have seen the demise of incandescent and HID, transition in varying efficiencies of fluorescent and now the explosion—not literally [laughs] of LED technology. In the past, women were considered rare in key positions in the electrical industry.Years ago everything was made in the US and now many products are sourced in China. To stay on top, you need to always be informed of trends, focus on customer requests and always provide value to both your employer and your customers.