In this episode, your host Lily Snyder speaks with Heather Pawlicki, a US Marine Corps Veteran, asset strategy manager, and military spouse. Join the Society of Military Spouses in STEM as we chat about Heather’s career ambitions, how to navigate an overseas PCS (permanent change of duty station) with your employer, and how to communicate career goals together in marriage. From the tip of the spear to becoming the backbone of her family, Heather has experienced both sides of the military service coin. Tune in on Anchor, Spotify, or Apple Podcasts, as we learn how Heather follows her STEM career passions in manufacturing strategy.
A lot of people say: “it’s who you know.” You need to know people in order to network and to make lasting impressions on people, but I would argue it’s not who you know, but who knows you. So, have an open mind. . . I took the time for other people to know me so that when the [job] opportunity came up they could say ‘Oh, I remember that Heather Pawlicki gal. I don’t remember exactly what it was about her but I remember her,’ and sometimes that’s all you need.”
THOUGHTS FROM LILY’S TECH DESK:
It’s Lily here, I just wanted to add a few more thoughts after my interview with Heather. What I really appreciated from talking to her and getting her story is that you don’t have to let your ambitions go by the wayside when you become a military spouse. You can still have them, as Heather does, to be a CEO, a UN Women’s Ambassador, and an entrepreneur.
These are great things to have and you don’t have to let being a spouse or being part of the military tear you down or take you away from them. I think in a way being a military spouse can actually help you get to your ambitions faster because you have world experiences that no one else does—it’s pretty special.
As military spouses, we see a lot of things that civilians don’t. We go through deployments and we hear the stories that our spouses have of being out in the field, being abroad in another country, or war zone. We understand on a slightly different level that life is short and things only come to you if you make it happen. Life isn’t a hand out in the way that we don’t get to choose where to live or when we move. We don’t always get to choose the perfect house we want when we PCS.
These are some simple things, but they resonate deeper into our lives in a way that it’s our choice to stand up and make the best possible of the situation or just let life happen to us. I think military spouses understand it that way. So, when it comes to our ambitions and our goals for ourselves, whether it be personal goals or career goals, we know that there’s only one way to make it happen and that’s to stand up and get’er done!
The military looks out for our spouses. The military backbone is there for them to guide them, provide resources and help, and in a lot of ways, it does for us spouses as well. There are lots of programs and facilities and on-post Starbucks that help get us through the days. But it’s not there for us in the same way it is for the spouses (the serving spouse, the military member). For us, the family, the military spouse, we’re the proud backbone, the home front for our soldiers. But who’s looking out for us and our careers?
In that way, we’re more like the civilian workforce where you’re the only one that can look out for you and your career. No one’s just going to hand you a promotion because you served a number of years. You have to decide how you’re going to reach your goals and what steps you’re going to take each day to reach them.
So again, that’s why I found Heather’s story so inspiring, despite her move to the UK, despite having to break the news to her employment that she was a military spouse, she didn’t let any of those fears stop her. Even if she did have them or reservations, she took her future into her own hands and ended up getting a position with her same company in the UK and making new connections. Taking one step forward to meet her goals and ambitions. I think that’s something we can all take away from Heather’s story.
I included a link to Heather’s LinkedIn in the show notes. You can also reach out to me on Twitter @Lilyotron if you have any other questions and thanks for listening to the show!
Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe at Anchor.fm/smss you can also find out more about us at SMSSstem.org
SHOW NOTES & RESOURCES:
- Say “hi” to Heather Pawlicki on LinkedIn.
- Check out “A Day in the Life of a Chemical Engineer.”
- Learn about UN Women’s Good Will Ambassadors.
- Stay up to date with global happenings with the United Nations news & media.
- Activities for the whole family: SEIMEN’s STEM DAY manufacturing and engineering activities for K-12.
- Chat with SMSS Podcast host Lily Snyder on Twitter @Lilyotron.
- This episode is sponsored by Anchor: the easiest way to make a podcast.
- The American Institute of Chemical Engineers
- Society of Women Engineers
- Association for Supply Chain Management
- Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals
- Society of Military Spouses in STEM
Special thanks to Heather Pawlicki.
This podcast is a production of the Society of Military Spouses in STEM and developed by Lily Snyder. Blog adaptation created by Annabelle Moore.