10 Years at Schneider Electric: A Working Mom’s Story of Learning and Mentorship

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This coming August will mark my 10-year anniversary working at Schneider Electric. A full decade! I was 21 years old and a recent graduate from UCLA with no idea what my future would hold, either professionally or personally.

Professionally, I have always been part of the Buildings segment at Schneider Electric. I worked as a Systems Application Engineer at the local branch in Southern California in both construction and service. It was exciting to be in the field, commissioning, troubleshooting, interacting with customers, and seeing buildings go from the construction phase to being filled with people in the workplace.

Today, I work as a Systems Support Engineer for North America’s Product Support Services, helping engineers and technicians in the field resolve their issues.

I interact with our partners and branches daily. I get to observe and hear about how the business is doing across the nation. Other times, I am on calls being trained or working through cases internationally with global support.

Personally, I got married in 2016 and delivered three babies into the world. I am so thankful for Schneider Electric’s family leave that allowed me to enjoy my little ones at such a young age. For each of my three kids, I received 12 weeks of full pay. Today, Schneider offers mothers 20 paid weeks after a child is born.

Valerie Rodriguez with her husband and three children, holding hands and smiling, representing the work-life balance she achieved at Schneider Electric
Photo by Winnie Angel Photography

This is time that any mother would treasure with their newborn. I cannot imagine what other working moms who do not have the same parental leave benefits experience. On top of this, I have never felt like my career had to stop because I became a mom. My bosses and teammates have truly been the rock stars behind-the-scenes, as it is no easy task to be one person short on any team.

Over the past decade, I have gained some wisdom I hope any young professional reading this can learn from.

Mentorships: Learn Everyday

Mentorship is key to any career. My biggest influencers were not social media celebrities, but people I worked under or alongside. They have both trained me and instilled great wisdom and insight.

Being a sponge and having the desire to absorb information and grow is essential, especially in a technical role. When you are not teachable, you restrict and limit yourself. I see so many people in my generation pigeonhole themselves the moment they are too prideful to learn anything beyond what they already know.

Job opportunities come and go, but knowledge is yours to keep, and wisdom leads to those decisions that could affect the current moment and your future.

As someone who strongly believes in higher education and Schneider Electric’s core value to learn every day, I get the privilege of paying it forward as a professor at a local community college, teaching the next generation of BAS engineers and technicians. My students have a wide range of backgrounds, from their age to work experience to skill sets. Some have never worked in the field, while others are going back to school to advance their careers.

Valerie Rodriguez, pregnant, wearing a hardhat and orange reflective vest, showcasing her dedication as a Schneider Electric employee and working mom

I hope to encourage and teach my students the theory and real-world applications of building automation. Sadly, there are no females in my current class, so I hope to encourage more women in the field.

Dare to Disrupt

Being young was one thing. But I was also a woman, and then a working mom. I look back at my decade at Schneider Electric and see many mistakes I made and moments where I missed an opportunity to grow.

But I also see the desire I had, the wealth of knowledge and wisdom I cultivated, and the support I received from teammates and managers along the way, both professionally and personally. As I move into my next decade at Schneider Electric, I am thrilled that I get to work and learn every day as our technology and products change and impact those around me, be they my colleagues, customers, students, or my own children.

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Valerie Rodriguez, Systems Support Engineer for North America’s Product Support Services

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