Heather Bennett, vice president of strategy and marketing for Woven Metal Products (WMP), joined the company more than a decade ago.
BIC Magazine recently visited Bennett to learn more about the importance of having an “outsider’s perspective”, the importance of gaining hands-on experience and how his team creates a culture that reflects the WMP’s mission: reliable quality, partnership attitude and attention to detail. .
Q: What brought you to work at WMP?
A: My career path didn’t start at WMP, but I’m glad I ended up here. My background has alternated between global PR agencies and businesses, where I specialized in business-to-business marketing, sales, and related work. Over ten years ago, I ended up moving into sales and marketing at WMP to work in a very niche industry within the energy sector.
Now that I am part of WMP’s management team, overseeing not only marketing but also strategy, I am the consultant on all matters related to the future of the business, from the development of the new workforce work to approach our management to our structure and more. Through it all, I feel like I’ve found my calling and carved out a role for myself, drawing on past experiences and learning on the job.
Q: What is the most important part of your position?
A: Having an outside perspective has been a very important part of my job. Although I had never worked in a fabrication shop or designed an internal reactor spare part, when I joined WMP I brought new ways of thinking. After much watching and listening, I started our marketing program from scratch – launching the company’s first formal advertising strategy, getting us on the trade show circuit, creating updated brochures up-to-date, launching a sales-focused website, etc.
All of this has helped establish WMP as a formal player in our industry, which has earned the company greater recognition and added to our credibility. These wins came about because I brought a fresh perspective to the company, as I was the first team member with a formal background in PR, sales, and marketing. Since my arrival, I have helped strengthen our teams and develop these capabilities for the company.
Q: What do I need to know before accepting this type of position?
A: I encourage anyone new to marketing within a niche industry or business to take the opportunity to get some hands-on experience (or at least some in-person shadowing time). Ask if you can shadow different team members to get a better understanding of their craft and role, especially if they are on the build and manufacturing side of the business. It’s hard to describe and “sell” something you haven’t seen. Try not to get too frustrated; Stepping into a new industry can be daunting. Remember that you have a unique perspective of past experiences that you bring to the table that no one else has.
Q: What motivates you?
A: Our team at WMP is fantastic. We work hard to create a culture of respect within our team that reflects our mission: reliable quality, partnership attitude and attention to detail. We even have team members who have worked with us for several decades, and for a company that started in 1967, that’s truly amazing.
For my team in particular, at the end of October we held our annual sales meeting, which is always such a good reminder to align priorities and goals and strategize as a team. We strive to make time to get together, discuss issues and plans, our targets and goals, and help each other achieve those milestones.
Q: What’s a “fun fact” about you that people might not know?
A: Most people don’t know that I was a Division I college basketball player at the University of Wyoming. Good leadership, teamwork, shared goals and working together towards a common vision are all part of a good game and work environment. I see this every day at WMP and I’m proud to be part of such a close-knit team working towards a common goal.
For more information, visit https://wovenmetal.com or call (281) 331-4466.