If you told me 17 years ago I’d still be working at the same company, I wouldn’t have believed you. I started my career at Schneider Electric right after graduating with a degree in Computer Information and Communications. As a new hire to the consumer/business/enterprise account team, I quickly got up to speed on uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs) and other data center solutions. But, my interest really peaked when I realized Schneider‘s impact went far beyond what I’d expected. I learned their technology offerings did things like help others, including developing countries, with energy and sustainability efforts. As someone who’s always had a passion for helping people, being part of a global company that helps and empowers others was very appealing.
An environment of growth and collaboration
Even though Schneider Electric is a large company, it doesn’t feel that way. Our collaborative work environment encourages employees to reach out for help and offer support when they can. This makes the technical nature of my job a lot more enjoyable than I ever expected. Being able to solve a tough challenge by working with others is really gratifying.
I also appreciate the fact that I’ve been able to take on a variety of roles. It’s enabled me to build both my technical knowledge and my managerial skills. I really feel I’ve been set up for success here, with a path to management-level positions that have been flexible enough to incorporate both my professional and personal goals.
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Having mentors and managers that genuinely care about my development has been key. It’s something I can’t even put a price tag on. My current manager checks in every week, asking how can I help you do better? What do you need to be more effective? This support has helped me develop my ability to handle negative customer feedback, making me a better teacher and mentor to my own employees.
There have been times when I’ve even needed guidance and support on a personal level. At one point, I moved to an after-hours team working with larger-scaled UPSs. It was a great learning experience, but the hours weren’t ideal for married life. So, with the encouragement of my manager, I moved to the Cooling Solutions team, where I was promoted twice before accepting my current role as Technical Support Manager in the Secure Power Division.
Leadership driven by helping others
As I advanced in my career, I realized that as technical as my work was, it provided plenty of opportunities to do what I love most ― help people. As a manager, I support team members of varying ages and life stages who may be going through difficult situations. Sometimes it’s customer-related, and other times it’s taking care of aging parents or small children. Whatever the challenge, I encourage employees to bring their whole selves to work. It’s tough to focus on work when there’s a problem at home, so I create an open space where employees can bring solutions to the table. Often, something as simple as a more flexible schedule can have a positive impact.
This flexibility ties into the culture of empathy and trust at Schneider, where your time at home is respected as much as your time at work. For example, during virtual meetings, stuff happens. Dogs bark, kids walk in, doorbells ring. As employees and managers, we all get it. We still trust each other to get the job done. I always try to make sure my employees know I have confidence in their abilities.
A customer-first approach
As Technical Support Manager, I have about 20 people working for me. One of the things I enjoy most about my job is my day-to-day is never the same. I’m constantly faced with new challenges: onboarding new employees, scheduling, helping my team succeed, or dealing with customer challenges. I especially like to work with my team to improve operating procedures that result in a better customer experience.
In fact, this customer-first mentality is very near and dear to my heart. I teach a loyal customer training course, and it’s one of my favorite parts of the job. I love that I get to take attendees beyond the basics of customer service and really dig deeper into the entire customer experience. We focus on putting ourselves in their shoes, learning as much as we can about their challenges, and coming up with creative solutions to customer problems.
A chance to add valuable perspective to Schneider’s diversity efforts
With this month being Black History month, I’m reminded about the strength that diversity brings to our team at Schneider Electric. I proactively cultivate connections and support other black colleagues through groups like the Black Professionals Network (BPN). As Ambassador for our virtual chapter and President of the New England Chapter, I’ve been able to create a space where colleagues can hear from others who may have had similar experiences. By bringing them together, I help them gain different perspectives on navigating corporate culture and making the most of the BPN Employee Resource Network. Being part of this group has given me an added sense of fellowship within Schneider and helped me connect with other Black employees nationwide. In the end, these efforts will help create a better future for our children, and that’s something I feel good about.
A place where my personal goals and professional life come together perfectly
Of course, there are times when I can’t believe I’ve been with Schneider since graduating college. But honestly, it’s hard to imagine another company that would fit so perfectly with my values and goals. Professionally, I’ve created a career path that’s allowed me to help my customers and colleagues thrive. Personally, I’ve grown in my leadership skills to listen, empathize, problem solve and make others feel comfortable. I’ll also transfer these skills to another adventure as an Associate Pastor at my church, and eventually, I plan to start a local chapter of Toastmasters. I’m excited about these new endeavors and what’s to come as my future at Schneider unfolds!
About the Author
Raymond Mills is the Secure Power Technical Support Manager for 3 Phase Power Products & Cooling Solutions at Schneider Electric. He is based in Providence, Rhode Island.
As a Technical Support Manager, Raymond enjoys helping his team deliver a phenomenal experience to customers daily. He joined Schneider Electric 17 years ago after graduating with a degree in Computer Information and Communications. In his role, he focuses on removing roadblocks for his team to help them deliver creative solutions for customers. Going further, Raymond offers a two-day master class called Creating Loyal Customers. He is also President of the New England chapter of Black Professionals and a champion for Schneider Electric’s Gender and Racial Equity workstream, designed to build a safer and more equitable place to work for current and future Black professionals. Beyond his Schneider Electric roles, Raymond is also a Master of Divinity graduate from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Boston, MA. In addition, he currently serves as an Associate Pastor and mentor to other young adults at his home church in Providence, RI.
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