Megan Gonser tackles challenges head on. As Head of Operations and Business Transformation at Ascom Americas, her job is solving some of the most challenging problems the business presents. She innovated new supply chain processes during COVID to get critical communications workflow solutions to nurses in hospitals that needed it the most and is deploying a robot to automate order entry, upping efficiency across her organization.
This relentless focus on making all the things she touches better no matter what the obstacle, combined with her direct, to-the-point communication style laid the groundwork for her success going back to school. In 2020, she earned her MBA at Duke University in a full time program while balancing a full-time job at Ascom. “I always wanted to go back for an MBA, and there’s a short window of when it will change your career trajectory.” At 35 years old, she credits the formal training she received in her program along with having an executive sponsor at Ascom in helping her land the leadership role on the executive team that she has today. She started her Ascom career as a sales engineer, then moved to inside sales - all just six years ago. And she says each role she’s had has helped her prepare for the next step.
Here's more on some of her lessons for business (and life):
· “You have more time than you think you do.” Owning no TV, Gonser reads voraciously. She says prioritize what’s important, reevaluate it, and change it when your priorities change.
· “It takes a lot of no’s before you get to your first yes. Be your own advocate.” Gonser built a support network at the executive level for her graduate work by demonstrating her initiative and strategic mind for improving the business.
· Really understand your team. She says, “Moving from managing a team of three people to 15 is a completely different animal.” That’s why understanding a person’s stressors is just as important as knowing their skills. Knowing how they’ll show up will help your interactions be more open and go better overall.
· Get a wider perspective. Broaden your perspective by visiting new places and experiencing different cultures. As part of Gonser’s Executive MBA program, she spent time in China and Peru with colleagues from around the world. This experience has helped her create a common goal within her team that everyone can rally behind.
· “No matter what you do there will be adversity. It’s how you handle it that matters.” From gaining support for her continued education to knocking on the door (repeatedly) for her first sales engineer job at Ascom, Gonser hasn’t met a challenge yet she hasn’t overcome. Her strategy of planning and persistence has suited her well thus far.