Women in Industry: Amber Schenck

Don’t Do More; Be More

Amber Schenck looks to inspire and be inspired by those around her.

By Nicole Needles

Like many people in the material handling industry, Amber Schenck didn’t plan to end up with the career she has, but she’s so glad she did.

Schenck graduated with a degree in environmental engineering and found job hunting to be impossible in 2008 when the economy had major setbacks. She was finally able to get a job with a restaurant equipment company. She worked her way up to management and found herself wanting more, and that took her to ProLift Toyota Material Handling. While in the rental department, she started to miss the chaos of service, so she was eager to transition when a supervisor position opened up in the service department. It’s a department that does a lot of behind-the-scenes work and flies under the radar, so in a way, it found her.

At ProLift, she’s had great mentors, such as her previous boss. “I’ve managed before, but he really pushed me to think outside the box and to have more patience,” Schenck said. “He pushed me when I needed him to, even if I didn’t want to, but he knew me well enough that he pushed me in a manner that he knew would light a fire instead of pushing me to that level where you just shut down.”

She is also inspired by the women she works with daily, which makes her want to strive to be the best she can be each day. In her personal life, her mother worked for a gas company while Schenck was growing up. She also was a woman in a male-dominated industry.

“We bring different perspectives because of that,” Schenck said. “Women, in particular, tend to be the over-communicators, which I think is huge in any industry. But I also think women tend to lead with more empathy and maybe put a little bit more focus on teamwork. That’s huge.”

There are people and circumstances who have pushed her, but when it comes to pieces of advice, she holds on to three: strive for progress, not perfection; do your best until you know better, and once you know better, do better; and don’t do more, be more.

All of these go into how she leads her team and grows professionally. She recognizes that not everything has to be perfect; as long as it’s moving forward, that’s all that matters. In the same vein, you can’t be the best at what you do right away. You can only work with what you’re given until you have more tools and knowledge. Finally, Schenck makes the distinction between doing more and being more. More doesn’t mean doubling work hours or risking burnout. It means to balance yourself out and increase your value rather than your capacity.

She thinks the people she works with help increase her value, and that’s one of her favorite things about her job.

“I have some technicians that are amazing,” Schenck said. “They push me. I’m the leader, and they’re out there being amazing. That means I have to be twice as amazing because they’re looking to me to set the tone. And I love that; we push each other.”

She mentions Laurie, who wins marketing awards at a high level in the industry, Sasha in HR, who she greatly looks up to and Jackie, who is a woman operations manager at one of their branches. All of these women and more encapsulate what it means to Schenck to be a powerful and successful woman in the industry.

“I learn things every day, but the people make it special. The people, customers, technicians. It’s the people,” she said.