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Christyn Mueller

Name/Title/Company: Christyn Mueller, associate director, partner enablement, Johnson Controls

Age: 41

Educational Experience: Bachelor’s degree in psychology

What does your day-to-day job entail?

On a typical day, you'll find me either in a virtual or live classroom, engaged in the creation of training materials or offering guidance and mentorship to students and fellow employees.

When I'm at the front of a classroom, my focus is on facilitating sales courses or exploring themes related to women in leadership and personal development.

Jumping into the intricacies of course design and development, my passion lies in providing students with top-notch content — ensuring excellence not only in information delivery but also in the aesthetics and overall presentation of the material.

I currently sit on the Norman, Oklahoma, mentorship committee, where our collective efforts focus on connecting local employees with mentors through mixer events and various training opportunities. With my team members, colleagues, and past participants, I maintain an open-door policy for collaboration, guidance, or simply providing a space to talk. A good mentor relationship is mutually beneficial. My goal is to learn something from every conversation, no matter what the original ask was.

What caused you to/when did you fall in love with engineering?

To be candid, my journey into engineering wasn't a deliberate choice; rather, I stumbled into it. However, as I immersed myself in the field, the fusion of knowledge and creative thinking sparked a genuine love for what I do. In my current role, the need to think outside the box is an everyday occurrence.

What has been the most rewarding/proudest aspect of your engineering career?

The most fulfilling aspect of my career lies in the daily opportunity to make a meaningful impact on individuals, groups, or the overall success of Johnson Controls. My ability to influence doesn't stem from having all the answers; rather, I am dedicated to taking the time to listen and discover solutions. Whether it's addressing a business challenge, assisting a team member in overcoming a seemingly impossible obstacle, or delivering essential course materials to support a struggling seller, my commitment is consistently centered on attentive listening and problem-solving.

In a prior position at Johnson Controls, I had the privilege of collaborating with young professionals as they embarked on their careers. Witnessing their growth, learning, and ultimate success over the span of six months was an immensely rewarding experience. I worked with the participants on sales skills, presentation skills, and overall professional development, in addition to product knowledge. I acted as the thread that held the group together for the entirety of the program, regardless of the topic we were covering at the time. To this day, I maintain regular contact with several graduates of the program.

What challenges do women face in this profession? Can you give a personal example? Why aren’t there more women in engineering? How can we increase the number of women in engineering?

Women often face the challenge of being a minority in engineering and HVAC. Although I believe the numbers are growing, it remains a common occurrence for me to be the only woman in a room full of men. During my first week in my current role, I encountered a situation where I was challenged on an idea I shared; however, my male colleague presented the same idea and was met with praise. Instead of becoming angry or frustrated, I used that experience to motivate me and continuously fuel my fire.

I believe women don’t pursue the profession because of persistent stereotypes. Unfortunately, research shows that women tend to be less confident in their abilities even when performing equally to men. To shift this narrative, we must continue to raise strong young women and encourage them to explore all opportunities without constraints.

How many years have you been active in the engineering sector? What’s changed the most in that time? What’s changed the least?

I have been with Johnson Controls for the last 10 years. When I look back, it feels like so much has changed but also nothing has changed. Notably, there's a positive shift with more women assuming leadership roles, and, importantly, their voices are resonating more prominently. It's encouraging to witness that not only are women speaking up, but there's a notable shift in the receptiveness of those around, indicating a positive change in the industry.

You currently lead a group of 12 facilitators who are responsible for designing and instructing technical and sales training programs available both in-person and online. What is the most rewarding aspect of this position?

Working with this outstanding group of individuals is what drives me to show up each day and give my best effort. As a group, we can collaborate, challenge, and have fun with each other while creating the best, most comprehensive programs possible.

You created an HVAC internship program for college students back in 2015. Introduce us to this program and share some of its achievements.

In early 2015, recognizing an impending season of retirements, we saw a need to prioritize early career talent development, strategically building a strong foundation for the future. During this 12-week program, participants are placed in a sales engineering internship, where they go on site visits, help create proposals, and present opportunities to customers. In the first five years of the program, we were able to convert 60% of participants into a full-time position post-graduation. With the assistance of our recruiting partners, we saw a 15% increase in women participating in the early career programs. Although it may seem small, it is a significant step in the right direction.

What drives/motivates you every day?

Without a doubt, the people I have the honor to work with drive and motivate me. I couldn’t ask for a better circle of colleagues, teammates, stakeholders, and customers. Hearing their feedback is what keeps me going, even when my to-do list seems never-ending. In fact, I keep their written feedback in a folder, and when I’m feeling a lack of motivation, I tend to go back and review their comments to replenish my spirit. Receiving and revisiting feedback is invaluable to me.

What remains on your engineering bucket list — what do you aspire to do that you haven’t accomplished yet?

I aspire to grow my network further. In this job, I learn something new every day, and I want to continue to embrace new ideas, endeavors, and opportunities.

What’s one thing no one knows about you?

People would be surprised to know that I am typically an extremely private person. However, when I am facilitating a course, you likely will walk away with several stories of interesting events that happened in my family. I often share these anecdotes without even thinking, but I appreciate how they can provide a connection and personal touch to the content I’m presenting.

List any mentors who’ve helped you succeed and describe precisely how they’ve shaped your success.

Holly, a previous manager, mentor, and friend, helped me find my confidence by continuously pushing my limits and testing my abilities. She was able to see qualities in me I couldn’t see during that season of my life. As a young professional and new mother, she made it possible to balance my professional and personal responsibilities, ensuring success at work and home.

What advice do you have for prospective female engineers considering entering the field?

Trust your gut. Believe in yourself and what you bring to the table. And always take advantage of the opportunities that are presented to you. If the opportunities don’t come to you, go find them!

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January 2024