Talk to Someone You Trust: Stephanie Suter’s Career Journey
Don’t let your fear of failure stop you from trying something new. You may have heard, said, or received this advice. For Stephanie Suter, an account manager on the Ford Sales team at DENSO’s North America headquarters in Southfield, Michigan, everyone on a career journey needs to hear it.
“Don’t put yourself in a box in terms of what you can accomplish,” she said. “Challenge yourself. If you want to pursue something, go for it. If you aren’t sure what is the right decision, speak to the people you trust. Advocate for yourself and seek out others who can support and champion you.”
Taking Her Own Advice
Stephanie speaks from experience. After seven years of working in various engineering roles, including a resident application engineering role at Stellantis, it was time for a change. In May 2022, she transitioned to sales.
“After being onsite at Stellantis, I realized how much I enjoyed interacting with the customer and working on new business,” she said. “I was interested in working in sales, so I included that in my individual development plan and talked with my management and colleagues. Through my connections, I learned of an open sales opportunity on a new product, and I thought it was the perfect fit for me.”
New Role, Product and Customer
Not only did Stephanie take on a new role, she is tackling a project involving the first launch of a new product for a new customer to her. She admits it’s challenging, but in a good way.
“With any new role, there is always a learning curve and new challenges to overcome,” she said. “Transitioning from engineering to sales has presented many challenges, namely learning new skills and a different way of thinking. There are a lot of ‘first’ time problems working with a new product; however, I get incredible support from my leadership and mentor.”
Stephanie met her mentor, Dan Ronayne, through her involvement with the DENSO’s Women Partnership (DWP) business resource group. Dan is the executive sponsor of DWP. After working with her, he offered to be her mentor.
“I was looking for a mentor, so when Dan reached out to me, I thought it was a perfect solution,” she said. “We’ve been meeting regularly for a couple months now and I’m getting a significant amount of valuable advice and guidance.”
Stephanie said she has remained focused on embracing change and staying positive throughout her transition to sales. She’s also learned how to ask for help.
“When I started in this new role, I didn’t have sales experience, so I had to ask a lot of questions,” Stephanie said. “It isn’t something I am used to, but I pushed myself to break out of my comfort zone. I know I need to think and learn differently in this role.”
Stephanie achieves this by prioritizing effective communication, fostering positive relationships with others and being a team player.”
“My favorite part of taking on a new role is being exposed to new perspectives,” she said. “In addition to increasing my understanding of how DENSO operates in different divisions, I’ve established a large network, which has proven to be incredibly valuable. Plus, I see that I can bring value to the table through transferable skills such as problem-solving and attention to detail.”
As for what’s next, Stephanie is focused on excelling in her current role.
“Although there is still a lot to learn in this new role, I am eager to continue expanding my knowledge and skillset and contribute to DENSO’s success,” she said.