HR Happy Hour 483 – STEM Education: Driving the Future Workforce

Hosted by

Steve Boese

Co-Founder of H3 HR Advisors and Program Chair, HR Technology Conference

Trish Steed

CEO and Principal Analyst, H3 HR Advisors

About this episode

This week we were joined by Wendi Runyon at Schneider Electric to talk about the importance of STEM education and how to align career opportunities for graduates. We examined how the skills learned in a STEM curriculum are easily transferable to any career path.  Additionally, Wendi discussed how to improve the pipeline of female workers at all levels in a company.  Finally, we talked about the many leadership development programs  available, and how they can help students learn about the various career paths open to them.


Thank you, Wendi, for joining us today!  Subscribe to the HR Happy Hour wherever you get your podcasts.

Transcription follows:

Steve 0:00
Welcome to the HR Happy Hour Show with Steve and Trish. Trish, what movie never gets old no matter how many times you watch it?

Trish 0:09
That is so easy. These questions are always so difficult for me and I didn’t know that was coming. Tombstone. I probably have a long list of them but I, just watched it again the other day. If I am just sitting around and like there’s nothing on I can throw Tombstone on and be perfectly happy even if it’s five minutes of it or the whole thing. What about you?

Steve 0:32
Well, there are two there probably more than two but because this is not our, you know, movies weekly podcast,

Trish 0:38
I didn’t know I could get two!

Steve 0:40
See I write the questions, I make the rules. The classic of course, Casablanca. I’d watch that every time over and over and over again. You know, an all time great. But for my out of the box one I know you know this Trish and some listeners may know. It’s absolutely Twister. 1995 Twister, that is an awesome movie. I will pick that up at any point in the movie. I’ll watch it from wherever I kick. You know, no matter what. I’ll watch it every single time I see it. Twister.

Trish 1:08
That’s amazing. I’m also a little bit that way with No Country for Old Men. Okay, you have something about the West in like, gun fights? I don’t know.

Steve 1:18
We will let our guest weigh in on this. I think she’s got an answer. She sort of smiled a little bit as we were having that discussion. We’ll welcome her in a second, Trish. Why don’t we thank our friends at Paychex first?

Trish 1:27
Yes, definitely want to give a shout out to our longtime partners at Paychex, which they sponsor this episode of the HR Happy Hour and every episode of HR Happy Hour. They are one of the leading providers of HR payroll, retirement and Insurance Solutions for businesses of all sizes. And since the onset of COVID-19 they have quickly responded to support these businesses and help them manage all the new challenges that came with that during the pandemic. They have the Paychex COVID-19 Help Center, which you and I have both taken advantage of and you don’t have to be a customer even to take advantage of all of the different resources they have there. But it’s basically an ultimate comprehensive resource hub, featuring articles, videos, scenario tools, live webinars and podcasts that provide valuable up to date insight on stimulus measures, how to manage your remote workforce, hybrid workforces now. And everything from travel restrictions and getting your people back into the offices or wherever your company is located. So you can get specific guidance there and more valuable information at Pay x dot m e slash Help Center today. So thanks for friends at Paychex. It’s really good stuff.

Steve 2:43
Thank you Paychex. We’re gonna gray topic today Trish, we’re talking about kind of worker training, development, aligning people with opportunities, there’s a lot to be noticed there’s a huge problem here in the United States, even during the pandemic of organizations having a really difficult time finding workers of all types. So we’re going to talk a little bit about that our guest today is Wendi Runyon. She’s the VP of strategy and business development at Schneider Electric. With more than 25 years of experience in the industry. Wendi currently serves as the VP of strategy and innovation for Schneider Electric’s electrical distribution division in North America. Her team is responsible for understanding the North American market and competitive landscape, developing strategies, driving innovations and explorations and pursuing strategic alliances as well as m&a activities within the region. Wendi, welcome to the HR Happy Hour. How are you?

Wendi Runyon 3:35
Thank you, Steve. I’m doing great today. Thanks for having me here.

Steve 3:38
It’s awesome. It’s great to talk to someone who’s like really doing this stuff, right? Like we were in our HR space a lot Trish and I on the show, and that’s where we kind of live and that’s cool, but it’s great to step out of that a little bit to talk about some of these topics, but with like a true business leader, right not just an HR leader if that makes sense. Not that I don’t like our HR leader friends. Believe me. I do. Wendy, so good to see you. Want to weigh in on the question of the day what movie? It’s on. I’m watching it I don’t care.

Wendi Runyon 4:07
Look, there’s so many I my answer would be though Braveheart. I love that movie every time that’s on it. And it’s not an easy one to say. I’m gonna watch the beginning to end because it’s like three hours long. But I’ll have to also side with you if Twisters on I won’t turn that one off either.

Steve 4:25
We’ve got another Twister fan. I knew it.

Wendi Runyon 4:27
I am. Strangely enough, yes.

Trish 4:32
Tell you what he talks about that one so often. I watched it not too long ago, a couple months ago. And it was it was it was good. I had never seen it. Now. I’m going to admit something else. I’ve never seen Braveheart. You’re both like, oh, like I just felt

Wendi Runyon 4:48
So good.

Trish 4:50
I’m marking that down because seriously, I think these this happens like you know you just forget about certain movies and never go back to them. So alright, going on the list for what to watch. We now have an official recommendation, Braveheart.

Steve 5:02
Wendi we are we want to dig into some of these topics around development and training and STEM. And before we get into that, could you give us maybe 60 seconds or however long you think is needed to Schneider Electric overview because you know, I did some research on it. This is a huge company, global brand, that maybe just average folks are not familiar with if they’re not directly into some of the businesses that you guys are in.

Wendi Runyon 5:27
Absolutely. In your right, Schneider is a huge brand. And I always say North America is one of the biggest companies that people don’t know if it’s a global company, we’re actually based in France. So globally, we’re very well known. But in North America, it’s not as much of a household name as some other companies. So Schneider is focused on energy management, we are focused on sustainable and reliable and energy efficient solutions, we’re obsessed with trying to drive down the cost and consumption of energy, trying to make a more sustainable planet trying to get to carbon neutrality. And we also offer all sorts of solutions from hardware to software to services that completely enable the digital transformation of this of this world of this new sustainable world. We focus on the design, the build the operate the maintain side of really any any business, whether it’s a commercial building a data center, an industrial facility, so we really cover a lot of basis. But really, our mission is around driving a more sustainable planet, bringing energy to those that don’t have it.

Steve 6:31
Yeah, yeah, that’s great. Thank you for that overview, which is really cool and helpful. So you’re kind of you and your teams and your organization larger, on a larger scale, are really having facing some of these issues that we read in the news all the time, right, the lack of alignment between opportunities, especially in manufacturing, and high tech kind of applications, with those opportunities, and people who maybe don’t have the right skill sets just yet to be a match for those opportunities, maybe who maybe comment on that a little bit later. How much of that are you seeing at Schneider? And what are some of the ways that you think that organizations really need to? How can they get better at kind of making that alignment happen, right, because it’s going to be an ongoing challenge.

Wendi Runyon 7:17
It is an ongoing challenge. And we’re constantly searching for better ways to bring in and develop talent. And it’s every business is really struggling with it. But But really, what we see is the most successful leaders in the company have a variety of skill sets. So you know, when we think about the type of talent we want to bring in, yes, at times, we want to hire a very specific skill set. But we find is those with a broader background and have the bit the that versatility, are the ones that are going to be able to move, take on new responsible sponsor abilities, be willing to take on more and really challenge themselves to learn and grow in new ways. So and I always tell people that I mentor, probably one of the biggest skills no matter where what you’re coming into the company with, whether it’s a stem degree or something else, is really communication skills and sales skills. So no matter no matter what role you have, if you don’t know how to you either sell a product to a customer fetcher role, or sell an idea to your management, or sell yourself to get to the next position, you’re really going to limit your career. So even if you’re coming in, in a hardcore engineering role, where your role is, not sales, that skill set is going to be so important in just developing your career and building yourself into a leadership position. So we really, as businesses, looked for ways to try to develop skill, you know, a wider variety of skill set, as opposed to you know, an individual subject matter expert,

Trish 8:43
You know, what kind of reception are you getting from that, whether that’s from candidates or, or your existing employees? And I asked that specifically, because I know a lot of people who I’ve talked to who’ve become out of work during the pandemic, maybe didn’t anticipate that they would be looking for work. And so I’m finding like, not only is it hard for them to job search, because they don’t understand what it takes anymore, right? Maybe they haven’t looked for work a long time. But I find them getting hung up on the fact that like, I don’t meet every single skill that’s in a written job description. And that kind of ties into what you just said about being able to sell yourself, whether that’s for a new job or promotion. Like, it sounds like your culture, there is one in which you’re kind of maybe coaching people along or at least encouraging them to think beyond maybe what what additional, what kind of reaction do you get from candidates who might not be familiar with that type of a culture or even from employees.

Wendi Runyon 9:40
It’s eye opening to a lot of them is especially when they come in saying I’m really really good at this one thing. But when you take a step back and you say, you can be really good at that one thing, but again, if you don’t have the communication skills, you don’t have the ability to work positively with teams and collaboration. You don’t have the ability to just problem solve it. You’re really going to be limited in your career. So the reception I get when you kind of open that up, especially to people who have a variety of skills, they’re very warm and receptive to it and actually are glad to hear that. And then the ones that really might have a more limited skill set, they realize they got a lot of areas they need to work on. And that presents an opportunity for them to grow and learn and develop, which most people are very receptive to, they’re always looking for, you know, give me direct feedback on how I can make myself better. So I find people are very open to it. And like I said, on the technical group, they’re, it’s almost eye opening to them that, oh, I need to learn how to sell.

Trish 10:37
So I’m glad you said that, I really think that more business leaders in general should be coming at the people that were either already working with, or that we might potentially hire with that sort of mindset, because it helps us to right, we’re getting might be opening, expanding our vision of what the sort of perfect person for a role might be, if we’re considering other skills other than their highly specialized technical skills, which are important, not the only not the only piece of the puzzle, if you will. So I love that the whole idea around transferable skills. So I’m really glad you, you sort of mentioned that there are others beyond the technical.

Wendi Runyon 11:15

Steve 11:16
Yeah. And we know that you really, I guess no matter what field of technology, we’re talking about, that the technology itself is going to evolve and change and move very rapidly anyway, right? So very specific, precise, aptitude are valuable at a point in time, right? And then they become much valuable as the landscape moves. Right? Like,

Wendi Runyon 11:40
Yes, the one thing you can be certain of this change will happen.

Steve 11:44
Yeah, yeah. Wendi, one of the other things I wanted to talk with you about is, you know, what we do in HR, right. And in the HR space that Trish and I sort of existed, I can’t think of anything we’ve been talking about more than in broad strokes around diversity, equity and inclusion, right? It’s it’s probably the number one issue on most HR leaders, radars, but as well as not just HR leaders, I think most business leaders to our have increased their attention, right. And their, their, their the value that they’re placing on these initiatives. And so part of that is to make improvements in those areas. A big part, especially in the technical realm, we hear all the time about pipeline, right? That’s been the that’s the buzzword, right. And for the excuse of why we can’t be more diverse, particularly in technology, we can’t have we don’t have enough women and technology, women leaders in technology as well as people from other under underrepresented communities. I’d love for you to talk a little bit about that when maybe from your perspective, as a business leader, and maybe even some of the things that Schneider thinks about or is doing to approach How do we address that a? Is it even really a problem? And B, if it is a problem? How do we how do we go about solving that problem and improving the pipeline of female leaders and maybe underrepresented groups into some of these technology jobs, which we know are going to really the future? Right?

Wendi Runyon 13:09
Absolutely. Look at every year, right? Every business is struggling with this one? How do we build more diversity in our leadership? Specifically, how do we get more females into these positions. And and diversity is an interesting topic, because I believe in a different spin. When we talk about diverse teams, I believe in diversity of thought. And when we talk about having a diverse team, I want a team with multiple different perspectives. Now that tends to come from making sure your team has, you know, different genders, different people, different backgrounds, different races, because they tend to all think differently. And those perspectives are incredibly important. And it’s absolutely proven, we’ve seen it over I’ve seen in my own teams, when when you have that diversity of thought, you’re more productive, innovations better. And the output is, is almost always better, because you don’t have just a bunch of people thinking the same way. Not challenging each other, just agreeing with each other. So so that it is so important. And the other part of that is it’s it’s tough to be able to find a lot of a diversity. We as businesses are working very hard to change this, but we still don’t have a big enough pool of diverse talent that we can move through the organization. So that you know, you kind of work backwards from there and say, Okay, how do we get more diverse leaders?

Wendi Runyon 14:28
Well, we need more a bigger pool in the organization. Well, how do we get a bigger pool? We need to work better with universities and really I believe that even starts at the high school level. Because I am a huge believer that having a stem background builds the best leaders and companies. That’s my my opinion. And there’s logic behind that opinion. In a STEM education. There’s some basic things that you learn that are transferable no matter what your role is, when you’re in STEM education. You learn everyday to question you, you’re learn, you’re taught to be curious, you’re taught to ask why you’re taught to challenge the status quo, create your hypothesis and then go prove it right or wrong. That is something a lot of people are uncomfortable with. And they’re uncomfortable with it. Because you know, they’re afraid to challenge they’re afraid of looking bad in a business meeting. But when you’re, you’re trained with that skill set, it’s just natural. So that’s one. Number two is problem solving. Everything in business is a problem to be solved. It really is me people can get overwhelmed with one problem or another. But really, it’s having that problem solving capability is what really is essential for for leaders in organizations. Obviously, in a STEM education, that’s what you’re taught, you’re taught how to methodically go through a process to solve problems.

Wendi Runyon 15:49
Additionally, you’re taught failure is okay? You’re, you’re allowed to fail in these STEM programs, that’s actually they encourage you, they encourage you to ask why coach tried to solve it one way, if it doesn’t work, fail fast, try a different way. That’s just part of the process. And then the final one, which again, is I already mentioned it but working in diverse teams, when you’re in these STEM programs, that’s exactly what you do, you’re put with diverse people, you have to figure out how to work with them to produce a report or a lab or something. And you have to work within teams productively throughout the entire program. So if we can get more people in those types of programs, especially females, we can wind up with females in organizations who have that skill set, which again, is transferable from, if you if you want to go down the technical path, great. But if you want to go down the business path, those are transferable skills in any position that you might have. So I’m a strong believer in females in STEM. But the problem really starts as I mentioned in high school, because what I find when I go talk to you because I have a STEM degree, I have an industrial engineering degree from Penn State. So I am a huge believer in a STEM education because of the things I just mentioned. The people what I find when I go talk to high schools about this is they’re scared of it for some reason, especially females, they’re they’re intimidated by it’s going to be really hard. Is it going to be all math? Do you know? Am I going to have to sit behind a computer all day?

Steve 17:16
That’s not just female. I’m intimidated by it right now, by the way. Math intimidated the heck out of me back in the day.

Wendi Runyon 17:21
Exactly. And so you you wind up getting a lot of questions about and then they just they have the perception of are we going to have to you know, be in an engineering a, you know, let’s say in engineering as the STEM, am I going to have to like be behind a computer and just be working in a lab all day long. And what they have to realize is, if that’s the path you want, yes, but again, the STEM education isn’t is something that is transferable to many different roles. So that’s where I believe we got to start building that pool, we got to start early, we got to encourage diverse talent to come into STEM programs and universities, then businesses need to partner with those universities more effectively to bring them into the pool. That makes sense.

Trish 18:01
It does. I’m so glad you shared all that I made a ton of notes, I have to tell you. So I have twins who are starting their senior year of high school, a boy and a girl. And I’m sitting here talking. I’m thinking like, I need to play this for them. Because you know, again, as they’re, as they’re starting to think about their college career. And further, I don’t know that I see the high schools doing enough of what you’re describing is sort of informing people. I don’t know that they’re getting in front of other adults like yourself, who can actually say that, because if I say what you just said, I’m just mom, right? They’re not seeing it from a different perspective. And so. So I do I do like the idea of having people who are in these positions who have stem backgrounds, working more with the universities, and even especially with the high schools before they’re making those decisions of what to major in so and I know Steve, your son is what starting? He’s in his sophomore year right of college. I don’t know if he’s officially declared his major. I know, that’s how I was a freshman sophomore year, you could change it up a little bit. But I think to it, that’s such a good time to catch these kids and really show them that there. There’s more than just maybe the one job they perceive as a STEM job or you know, a handful. Wait, are there other places? Or do you all at Sneider have resources for college students or even younger, or places you recommend even personally of where where can they learn about these other jobs though, so they don’t just think that I have an engineering degree I’m going to be sitting behind a computer like where would you recommend they go?

Wendi Runyon 19:39
So So there are a lot of programs and a lot of work that companies like Schneider do with both high school and college level. I’m a big believer in internships in funding research projects. In just recruiting programs are one of my favorite especially coming in the universities are getting young talent recently. Graduates into what we Schneider has won and other companies do as well as the leadership development program, where you can come in, it’s a two to three year program, you get put in all different positions within the company, all different business units within the company. So they tend to hire a lot out of, you know, STEM education, but not not solely, because of some of the reasons I was saying, you know, because of the skill set that that you have going in, but then they put you in all sorts of roles in the leadership development program. So they get to see, you don’t have to just take this one career path, you can actually leverage this the skills to go into many different careers. And the one that always shocks people, because my daughter is also a senior, and she’s going into college next year. And luckily, I guess a little bit of my influence, I’m going to attempt to do an engineering degree. And the reason being is that she’s like, I don’t know if I want to do that. I said, Well, you know, you love innovating, you love watching Shark Tank, right? He loves watching Shark Tank. And I said, well, the majority of those people have some sort of STEM education, they’re problem solvers, they look for a problem in the market, they develop a solution, and that’s their product, and then they create a business around it. That’s, that’s the type of thing you can do with an engineering degree, it doesn’t have to be just what you’re probably envisioning, which is, you know, you know, maybe working with circuits all day, that that is definitely one path of it. But there’s all sorts of other paths and product management, Product Marketing innovation teams. So that’s, that’s a really eye opening understanding for a lot of these kids. And then, you know, so to your to answer your, your question at the high school level. So yes, it’s starting, I’m seeing we need to do more of it, in my opinion, of having businesses and universities work at the high school level to educate them of the value of STEM education. So those are the types of programs and things that I see that are effective, and just opening people’s eyes to different paths, they could go down.

Trish 21:58
Yeah, thank you for sharing that. I would say to if you’re a listener, even now, and you have kids that are in high school, or early in college, use your own network, right? Let them meet people from all different jobs, especially the STEM jobs, right, because if they meet a real person, like, I didn’t decide on human resources until I was a junior in college actually switched majors to do it, after I met a human resource manager who just inspired the heck out of me, right, like all of a sudden, it just clicked. And I was like, that’s what I want to do. And so I think, too, if we can expose our children to other professions, then maybe the traditional ones they hear about, that’s really gonna help them make those decisions to get into the STEM programs, too. So thank you so much for sharing that.

Steve 22:38
Yeah. Wendi, as you were describing some of those approaches I thought of, because I this is how I view the world, we’ve done almost 500 of these shows, and I remember most of them. But I that’s probably not true. I remember some of them. But the a couple of years ago, maybe more now I did a show, I don’t think Trisha, were on that episode either. For whatever reason, I did a show with the woman who at the time was the CHRO at Red Hat, the software company, which subsequently has been acquired by IBM. At the time, they were still Red Hat, we were talking about some of these topics Wendi, and the folks at Red Hat at the time. And I think it’s somewhere in North Carolina, where their headquarters is Raleigh, I think they had like the Red Hat innovation bus that had all these like experiments and technologies inside of it. And they would take it to middle schools. That’s why I’m bringing it up, they started and this for this very reason. They were trying to improve the diversity of their ultimate pipeline into Red Hat. They were starting at like eighth grade to try to brilliant, right, which was incredible.

Steve 23:39
And then the other thing I wanted to mention is much more recent show which touches on some of these same topics, but more from a kind of governmental slash employer perspective, Trish and again, I don’t know why this keeps happening. You weren’t on this one, either. A show I did about a couple of months ago, with a couple of guys from MIT, who wrote a book called workforce education, a new roadmap. And in that book is it’s very specifically talking about organizational and regional or partnerships with educational institutions like high schools and community colleges, specifically around internships and skills development and workforce development, sort of at a macro view. So if you’re in and I’m saying this for people listening to this, if you’re interested at all in those subjects a little more generally, I’d recommend both of those shows. To go back in the archive the workforce of the future one was just a couple months ago was really really fascinating stuff about how organizations can work in partnership with other constituencies to try to develop talent right because it’s it’s a big problem. I mean, I when the I don’t know if you’re seeing this in your organization amongst your teams are brought more broadly, but I was just reading this morning manufacturing jobs. There’s there’s probably half a million open manufacturing jobs in the United States right now at all skill levels right. From from highly skilled to middle skill to even entry level and There’s other worker shortages, we don’t really need to talk about in other sectors of the economy. But I mean, for organizations struggling right now and today, right, like the middle school, taking the bus to the middle school is great. But that’s not going to help me make my quota for the next quarter. So I wonder if there’s some things people can help him do now to try to connect people and get people into these jobs that are so hard to fill?

Wendi Runyon 25:22
Yeah, no, you’re right. I mean, you’re in it’s not just manufacturing, manufacturing is one, the other one we see is really hard to get skill set and Field Services, people with the technical understanding of how to fix, you know, we are a manufacturer at Schneider as well, you know, just to be able to go out and fix our our products, that that we’re starting to see an evolution of the skill skills where we’re losing some of that basic competency. So yes, we are also seeing you’re seeing other companies do this as well, a very specific training. So training, you know, working with universities to come up with very specific programs that actually train in very specific areas. You see companies like Google doing this, right? I mean, the Google’s have their own university soon, right? Because they are just saying, we’re going to take basically people right out of the high school realm and give them the education they need to be successful in, in what our business needs. And so I think we’re gonna see a lot more of that, and a lot more of, you know, partnerships with universities to say, this is the skill set I need.

Wendi Runyon 26:22
There’s another university I was working with in Texas, that they specifically created a program focused on data center engineering, and in realizing that this is the explosion of all these huge internet giant, cloud based data centers, that they have a whole degree program around that now. So it’s really the the businesses that really need the skill set, are going to have to get more creative, and work with universities work with the high schools to be able to come up with very specialized program that that take people down to very specific path from that perspective, to fill that worker gap. But then also be able to make sure that they nurture them and give them the right skill sets to be able to expand beyond that very specific skill set, maybe in manufacturing, or, or whatever it may be. So I think it’s going to have to be a big collaboration between businesses and universities and high schools in the future to make this work. Because the workforce is changing, you mentioned, it’s completely changing from, you know, for the last probably 20 years, or even 10 years has been unbelievable, the change in the type of worker that’s coming in, and you know, what they want to see from a business,

Trish 27:32
I think that’s great advice, I would say one thing, when I was working in public accounting, was that we would do kind of along the lines, what you’re talking about is, we would go out with our competitors, and go to high schools and speak together. So like, smart, you know, I was with PwC, and we’d get Ernst and Young together and you know, KPMG, and we’d all meet together and go, especially after women and minorities and people in this getting them involved in STEM careers or an accountant, you know, that sort of thing. And then we decided that by building the pipeline together at the high school level, then by the time they got to college, that’s where we’d really compete. So I don’t know, do you see that at all in your industry in manufacturing, or whether it’s an energy? Is there any of that going on? Because I think that’s an interesting, an interesting concept to think about partnering with your competition, but you’re really trying to fill a pipeline for everyone that you eventually all benefit from?

Wendi Runyon 28:26
Yes, no, yes, it does. And it’s a great point. And it’s hard for people to say, Oh, I’m going to go partner with my biggest competitor to go to build a workforce. But it’s what we need to do. Because it is a very unique skill set that we’re we all of us need. So we have to work together, we have to partner we have to get creative in how we get this new talent to me, you know, whether they come to Schneider or not more, from my perspective, more females, we can get through the system with the right skill set, the better off world will all be. So for me, I would be more than happy to do an event like that with with competition, just to be able to say, we need to build the skill set, we need to build this up together. And I would encourage more and more companies to do that. Because it’s

Steve 29:13
Yeah, that’s the point. Again, I’m gonna keep talking about that show I did with the MIT guys. There’s a specific program we talked about on that show. It’s in Charleston area with with the community college, the Technical Community College in Charleston, and like all the big employers got together like Boeing and BMW and a couple of other big manufacturers that are down in that Charleston area to do something like that. And there’s loads of opportunity while you guys were talking. I took the liberty of just doing a quick blind search on Schneider Electric careers page. This is global. There’s almost 2500 open jobs right now today, right? And I could filter it for USA, whatever. But there’s loads I guess the point is, there’s loads of opportunity in these technical fields which are growing at growing companies like Schneider like so like sending out that message, and re During that message of, Hey, this is where opportunity is and will be, I think it’s a great message to find out just pound into people, I think,

Wendi Runyon 30:10
Absolutely, and to encourage you, especially females not to be intimidated, or have that false perspective of, you know, going to a manufacturer or technology company going into a stem degree, there’s so many opportunities that, you know, in so many different parts of the company, that they should really be much more open to understanding the value of, you know, starting with potentially a STEM education, taking that and being able to come into a business open minded, and, and think about many different ways that they can take their career, and then embracing that and going, I always tell females, especially that if you have any inclination at all, to be able to go through that type of education, it sets you up so well, because when you sit in a room, you know, spent even young career with that type of background and people know the skill set, you have you you earn your right to be there. Now it’s up to you to keep your your place there, and, and be able to produce and add value every time you’re in a meeting. But going through that degree, get you immediate credibility that here’s somebody who knows how to work hard and has a good skill set to be able to set them up for success, and hopefully help us as businesses build that pool of more diverse talent.

Steve 31:28
Wendi, this has been great stuff, I love this stuff. I’m glad we were able to connect and talk about some of these issues. And because for me, I’m a labor market geek, right. And I when I just like see all this opportunity, and the the the chat, the opportunity for organizations to help people get into these great opportunities and the chance for people to have great meaningful and valuable and an exciting and fulfilling careers. Like I think that’s what really, we’re both kind of interested in right you from the technical side of it and us kind of from the HR point of view.

Wendi Runyon 32:00
Yes. Yes, I’ve enjoyed it. Thank you for having me on. I’m really glad I got a chance to talk with you guys and share. And like you said, you know, Schneider has a lot of opportunities. So we’re happy to follow up with this and send that out. Whatever’s needed.

Steve 32:14
We’ll get the links out the to Schneider Electric site, the career site, why not the second job that came up on my list? By the way, my blind search expert, technical support engineer in Shanghai, Trish. Shanghai, you love it as well in there a couple times.

Trish 32:29
Send him over!

Steve 32:30
I’m certainly not qualified for the job, but it’d be cool.

Trish 32:34
Maybe you have some transferable skills.

Wendi Runyon 32:36
There you go.

Steve 32:39
All right.

Trish 32:39
You know what, though? I will say please, everyone, check out the career site there. Because again, you might be surprised what you were actually qualified for. If you just consider, you know, some of these these roles that might not be currently on your radar right there. There are quite a few out there that you probably are qualified for. So

Wendi Runyon 32:58
yeah, absolutely. And I and I actually even have a write up on some of the thoughts that I shared today that I can share with you guys and the audience. Just as a follow up and happy to answer any other questions if anyone has any follow up questions.

Steve 33:12
All right. Wendi Runyon from Schneider Electric, we learned a lot we’ve learned a lot about Schneider Electric today. We learned a little bit about movies Trish hasn’t seen

Trish 33:20
so I have a movie on my list. I might send my kids over to Schneider Electric in St. Louis. The innovations and volunteer to be interns.

Wendi Runyon 33:29

Steve 33:30
Get them out there right now their net cost to you Trish you gotta get you got to turn that around. These kids are draining you you got to flip a switch. Oh, ah all right, great stuff. So thanks to our friends at Paychex .Of course for all their support we do another little fun thing for them this week a little internal thing for Paychex, which I’m excited about and then I’m doing a webinar with them too. Next week I got to get the week after on mental health deal Trish, I gotta get the stuff together on that.

Trish 33:59
You better get on it.

Steve 34:01
Yeah. Okay, so for out guest Wendi Runyon, for Trish McFarlane. My name is Steve Boese. Thank you for listening to the HR Happy Hour Show. We will see you next time and bye for now.

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