Celebrating a Schneider Electric career of empowerment, support, and shared successes

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March 8 was International Women’s Day, and it’s got me thinking about what’s helped me succeed. When I started my Schneider Electric career as an intern, I liked that I’d found a local company with a global reach. I felt a large company would give me the room to grow in a career.

What I didn’t expect was the level of empowerment and support I received as I navigated my way through many personal and professional transitions. I can honestly say now, after almost two decades of building a career here, I’ve never had reason to go anywhere else.

Long-term customer relationships – a key to success

Today, as General Manager for the New England Branch, I develop and mentor teams so they can envision their role in the buildings of the future. These teams engineer, deploy and service energy security and automation products and solutions. By nurturing close and lasting relationships with these customers, we’re able to deliver results that are truly transformative.

We work with developers and clients to enable buildings of the future. We get to creatively look at what technologies can help them realize their vision and how we can pull it all into one central system to maximize control over a building, a campus, or a global enterprise.

We’re talking security technologies, building management technologies, and power management technologies – all in one centralized, seamless solution. Using overlaid analytic and algorithm solutions, these customers can then use this technology to achieve energy efficiency improvements, lower their cost of maintenance and operations, while creating a unique occupant experience, all of which can profoundly impact their business.

Nicolette Fondl Schneider Electric career

Managers that support an evolving career path

The customers and colleagues I get to work with daily make me so grateful for the path that brought me here. Along the way, I’ve had many mentors and leaders encourage me to be honest when I need something different.

Every time, whether my reasons were personal or professional, they found ways to help and support me, while inspiring me to challenge myself.

For women, in particular, finding a mentor or supportive manager is important to career growth. In fact, a recent study cited in Forbes found that mentoring programs improved promotion rates by 15 percent and retention rates by 38 percent for minorities and women.

Learn more about career opportunities with Schneider Electric.

As I’m not a trained engineer, the coaching and mentoring I received along my career path was essential. I started in marketing and moved into a role supporting branches involved with critical environments and life sciences customers such as those in biomedical research and pharmaceuticals.

I loved helping clients involved in critical, and most often lifesaving advancements that became very personal. I also liked the regular travel up and down the East Coast, and especially to places like Puerto Rico. But eventually, I was ready for more time at home.

I wasn’t sure what that next step looked like, so I turned to my manager. After considering several different options, we both decided construction sales would be a good move that would maximize my love for customer interactions with the technical acumen I had gained in my previous role.

As a non-engineer who never viewed myself as a salesperson, I was skeptical on my ability to succeed; but I think he saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. We agreed I would try it for six months, and if I didn’t like it, we could pivot to something different. I ended up loving the role, staying in that position for five and a half years, where I earned the Presidents Club Award twice.

Nicolette Fondl Schneider Electric careers

Similar scenarios played out repeatedly as I worked my way up the ladder. When I was ready to start a family and looking to spend less time at events, I again went to my manager. He was incredibly supportive and created a new position in service sales, allowing me to sell directly to the end-users to whom I had previously sold major construction solutions.

Not only did he set me up for success, but I also got to build on my existing customer relationships even more, and I loved being able to close the technology loop by providing great service. While in this role I won the Schneider Electric Global Digitize Award for the transformation of my customer base to the Building Advisor Platform.

Schneider is a big believer in promoting from within, and eventually, an opportunity opened up for Service Sales Manager. I excitedly took on that challenge, eager to learn more about the business. I was fortunate to have a General Manager who always made time for monthly one-on-one meetings where we discussed finances and big-picture objectives. So, when it came time for his retirement, I was confident and ready to take on my current role.

An environment of empowerment

The empowerment I’ve felt as I created my career path also extends into the everyday culture at Schneider. Here, we’re encouraged to be honest with our thoughts, opinions, and ideas. This creates an environment of creativity where we’re comfortable asking questions like how can we do things differently? How can we innovate to improve solutions or services for our customers and our employees?

Nicolette Fondl Schneider Electric career

It’s a culture that aligns perfectly with our core business value ― always improving. As General Manager, I take pride in giving employees what they need to be successful, and I make it a point to provide opportunities to earn trust and gain responsibility. I like to see what makes employees tick and what motivates them. I’ve even used personality assessment tools like the DISC profile to learn about different work styles, and how to best support everybody’s unique path to success.

Work and life balance is another area where empowerment plays a key role, particularly for women. Schneider has given us so many tools and options to help us create what works for us personally. This was especially helpful with pandemic challenges surrounding daycares and schools. Whether it was better virtual tools or a flexible schedule, Schneider gave us what we needed to be effective.

Corporate support for our military

Sometimes empowering employees means going the extra mile. As a veteran, I recognize how challenging it can be to integrate back into society, and I’ve always appreciated Schneider’s commitment in this area. Here, we take pride in bringing military members into the company. We also prioritize bringing back those currently deployed. In one case, I supported a colleague who was deployed overseas for several years. By reaching out on a regular basis, I was able to ensure he was comfortable and confident coming back from deployment and navigating anything he needed. As a result, I was honored with the Patriotic Employer Award from the Office of the Secretary of Defense.  As an employer and someone who has also served, I was so proud to be able to provide this type of support to those who protect our nation’s liberties and equally proud to work alongside those who still continue to support our nation.

A winning team that’s helped me build the career I want

It’s always great to be on a winning team. Whether we’re working on the longest or tallest building in the city, or a life sciences lab with custom needs that provides lifesaving technologies, every day is a win for our clients and colleagues. It’s so gratifying to provide technology solutions with the power to propel clients into the future.

At the same time, I get the honor of continually promoting hard-working, innovative people. Being here is a no-brainer. I recommend working at Schneider Electric to friends and family all the time. This is a company that fosters a diverse and inclusive environment that supports women and all employees with new challenges and opportunities for success. Here, there is no limit. The future is now.

About the Author

Nicolette Fondl is the General Manager for the New England Branch for the Schneider Electric Building Business. She is based in Andover, Massachusetts.

Nicolette thrives on bringing the resources together to help her team and clients be successful. Focusing on Buildings of the Future, she enjoys figuring out what clients need to provide them with innovative and technologically advanced resources to yield sustainable solutions, improve security, optimize operations and maximize investments. Nicolette has had an exciting career journey that hasn’t always been linear. Nicolette is excited about the future and her role in collaborating with others to enable success as well as helping them to focus on what matters most.

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