Women in Industry: Corinne Wilson of EnerSys

Rewriting the Script

Corinne Wilson talks about what it means to be a woman in the material handling industry today.

By Nicole Needles

If Corinne Wilson followed her original career path of teaching, she would have been at the front of a room full of kids teaching them algebra. Instead, she felt the pull of working with adults and is currently the field support manager at EnerSys. Throughout her jobs during college at AutoZone and Starbucks, she realized that she loved helping and interacting with people. In the summer of 2015, she started at Enersys in an entry-level customer service position. She felt challenged and impassioned here and believed she had found her home at the company and within the industry.

When it comes to women in material handling or other industries, Wilson feels that they are only becoming more talented, more vital and, most importantly, more valued.

“I’m in awe of the women in this industry and in the general workforce. We are bringing more to the table than our mothers before us. We are louder, bolder and proudly raising our hands. Not only are more women entering the industry, but they continue to achieve titles or responsibilities only held by men for decades, and we look good doing it!” she said.

In addition, she feels one aspect that can set women apart in today’s world is the ability to channel empathy and emotional intelligence and harness it in the workplace. It’s this unique ability that encourages and empowers women to bring new ideas and question the way things have always been done. On top of this, women don’t let responsibilities at home slow them down, but they let them fuel their work in the office.

Professional advice that made an impact and aligned with Wilson is to be a positive force.

“Being positive is more than forcing a smile. It’s effortlessly showing up with a positive outlook and a respectful, upbeat personality. Force in this context stands for determination, an unwavering drive and never giving up on the immediate and long-term goals,” Wilson said.

This balance of positivity and tenacity is the perfect blend of ensuring that, as a woman, your inquiries and requests aren’t disregarded in the workplace and that you’re bringing positive energy to your work and peers. When Wilson needs an answer or a deliverable on a project, she gets it.

Part of how she’s gotten here is the mentors she’s had along the way.

“My manager provides advice or guidance in a way that doesn’t make me feel anything other than supported and appreciated. Frank Shaffer, director of service operations, has been my advocate and continues to extend his knowledge of this industry and our company, which he’s gained over 20 plus years,” she said.

Two years ago, Wilson was selected for the EnerSys Mentoring Program, where she got her mentor Andrew Krajewski, global director of training and development.

“By guiding me to my own decisions and strengths, he kept me in the driver’s seat, ensured I stuck to my authentic self and ultimately helped me develop confrontational leadership skills. I’m very thankful to have two experienced individuals within this company that are willing to extend an ear and insight,” Wilson said.

EnerSys has its first woman in a senior executive leadership position. To Wilson, this broadcasts that EnerSys and this industry provide everyone the opportunities to grow and move up the ladder, regardless of gender. What matters most is how the opportunities are approached – accept and challenge or pass and avoid.

“I cherish the people within this industry – some work friendships built from miles away, some across borders and others across seas. While I also thoroughly appreciate the pressure of day-to-day challenges, always striving for complete answers and better solutions,” she said. “I have a career where I am appreciated, and I make sure that’s reciprocated.”

Wilson wants to encourage female MHEDA members to attend the Women in Industry Conference. “If women are on the edge about going to the conference, sign up. Don’t be anxious about attending solo – we all want to hear your story. Take the opportunity. It’s so important.” Wilson said.