WCS Member of the Month is our new initiative to highlight the amazing stories of female leaders in the industry. One woman from WCS will be featured every month to share her accomplishments, ambitions, and advice for other women in the sector.
This month, we spotlight WCS Board Member Susan Kasper, Application Engineer at ABB.
WCS: What excites you most about the work you’re doing?
Susan: The products I work with assist in environmental and process monitoring. Researchers are able to take our laser analyzers to the field and measure water and atmospheric samples in real time to study how the environment is changing. Other analyzers in industrial monitoring assist companies from producing excess hazardous gases.
It’s exciting because it is just one piece of the puzzle to create a sustainable future. ABB is also involved in other areas of clean technology such as electric vehicle charging stations, the solar impulse flight across the globe last year, and microgrids.
WCS: How did you get to where you are in your career?
Susan: I could not have gotten to where I am today without hard work, striving to achieve my goals, and supportive mentors. I am lucky to have had both male and female mentors who believed in my hard work. They helped me build a foundation to my career as well as sharpen my career goals. Additionally, my success also required me to voice my interests, say yes, and get actively involved. For example, in college I volunteered for the society group Women in Physics to organize an annual conference. At the conference, I met an international professor and upon hearing my interest to work abroad, invited me to Sweden and our work was later published in Nature Physics. It is amazing where even the smallest opportunity can take you.
WCS: What failures or setbacks have you learned from?
Susan: My career path so far has not been a straight one. Throughout my journey, I have learned that sometimes you have to take steps backwards in your career to go forward. After working in the semiconductor industry, I made a career switch to Cleantech. However, I did not have all of the skills and knowledge to land an experienced role that I could otherwise get in the semiconductor industry. As hard as it was to “start over,” it was necessary in order to put myself on a path that was a better fit for myself, and one I could be proud of.
WCS: Why did you join WCS?
Susan: My first WCS event was WCS Talks 2015, and it was the most inspiring event I had ever been to. All along I knew I wanted to get more involved with the Cleantech industry outside of my job, and WCS provides a great avenue for that. It’s a way to stay up to date, involved, and connected with others in Cleantech beyond what you can research online.
WCS: What advice do you have for other women in WCS?
Susan: I don’t think it can be said enough: hard work really does pay off. Achieving goals may take longer than anticipated, but don’t let the fear of rejection stop you from asking for what you want and going after your dreams. If the answer you get is no, find a way to turn it into a yes.