March is Women’s History Month, and serves as a time to celebrate the achievements and contributions of women in the workplace. In celebration of this important month, 3Z Brands is shining a spotlight the some of the exceptional female employees who shape the very fabric of 3Z Brands.

Amidst our diverse team, we are privileged to have remarkable women who infuse our company with passion, talent, and creativity. Among them stands Jennifer Roberts.

Jennifer exemplifies the ethos of 3Z Brands through her unwavering dedication, innovative mindset, and unyielding ambition. A leader within the manufacturing technology team, she excels in her professional endeavors and serves as a point of inspiration to those around her.

Learn more about Jennifer in the Q&A below:

How has 3Z Brands helped nurture your career development?

I joined 3Z Brands as a Production Planning Analyst in 2019 when the company was much smaller than it is today. As the company grew, I was given opportunities to take on various responsibilities in our manufacturing technology department. I gained experience in software design, system implementation, project management, people management, and leadership. I was encouraged and trusted to take on new challenges at 3Z Brands, and that has helped to accelerate the growth of my career.  

What advice would you give the next generation of women starting their careers?

The best advice I can give to any woman starting her career is don’t be afraid to take a seat at the table. Your voice and your unique perspective are so important. As a woman working not only in tech but also in manufacturing, there have been many times that I was the only female voice in the room. It can be intimidating. It can cause you to question your abilities. The best thing you can do is to speak up anyway. Don’t be afraid to be wrong; don’t be scared to share your unique perspective. There is strength in diversity, and your contributions are valuable. Step outside your comfort zone. The more you do this, the easier it gets, and you pave the way for more women to sit at that table in the future. 

What do you love most about working at 3Z Brands?

My favorite thing about working at 3Z Brands is our corporate culture. This company has cultivated a collaborative environment where teamwork and innovation are standard practice. We strive to hire team players who enjoy what they do and are willing to jump in and help where needed. The management team here at 3Z Brands does a great job listening to what is important to their employees and keeping them engaged. Employees from the production floor to the C-suite seem genuinely happy to come to work, and that makes a huge difference. 

What is a personal principle you like to follow? 

One personal principle that I wholeheartedly embrace is the simple yet powerful mantra, “Be Kind.” I strive to cultivate a spirit of kindness towards others in my daily interactions and decision-making. This principle encourages me to approach situations with empathy, compassion, and a genuine desire to make a positive impact. Whether in professional relationships or social encounters, I find that embodying kindness not only fosters an overall better environment but also contributes to my well-being. 

What is one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?

Whenever I have free time, you can find me making strange and interesting art in my home studio. I love experimenting with mixed media techniques, printmaking, painting, photography, and digital art. My husband and I recently took on an exciting new project to turn a ten-passenger electric bus into a drivable, ridable piece of art. When the art car is complete, we hope to show it off at events, parades, and festivals.

Who is a female role model you’ve looked up to and why? 

I think that Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is one of today’s most compelling female role models. She is redefining what it means to be a female leader. I believe that historically, women have been forced to minimize traditionally feminine traits to rise to positions of power. AOC is doing the opposite. She is leading from a uniquely feminine perspective with compassion and empathy rather than competitiveness. She proves that this leadership style can still be strong and effectively influence people in a much deeper way. I believe that AOC is paving the way for future female leaders to embrace who they are and lead from their unique perspectives, and this is why I find her to be one of today’s most influential female role models. 

What is the most important lesson, business or otherwise, life has taught you?

I feel like there are so many life lessons that can be highlighted here, but one equally beneficial to my personal and professional life is to practice active listening. Active listening involves not just hearing someone’s words but also tuning in to their thoughts and emotions; this can change a conversation into an engaged, cooperative, and reciprocal interaction. I have had many past experiences where I missed having real conversations and a complete understanding of what someone was telling me because I was not actively listening. I was so concerned with what my response would be, what the person thought of me, or all the things I still had to do that day that I wasn’t asking meaningful questions and was not fully engaged. I still consciously must work at this, and it is not easy. It takes focus and intention to listen actively but when you learn how to do it, you gain so much more out of conversation, and it helps build stronger professional and social connections. 

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