2018, Build U, Executive Interview, Intern

Rachael Johnson – Executive Interview – Miranda Zamora

I had the opportunity to sit down and interview with Ideal Steel’s CFO, Rachael Johnson.  Rachael has been with Ideal Steel for 22 years now and she has seen many ups and downs of the company. The most important decisions that she faces daily as a leader at Ideal are the people decisions. Sometimes it can be challenging to get everyone on the same page because they might not agree to changes that the company is making but the way she deals with this as a leader is inspirational.

Rachael maintains her team’s daily motivation and inspirations despite obstacles, push-backs, or setbacks by asking people how their day is. This doesn’t mean she babysits but she definitely helps her employees if they need any help. She puts all of their needs before hers because she knows that if she has people waiting on her response, it’s harder for others to keep on moving with their work if she doesn’t have what they need from her.

I asked her what she thought was most important to her such as mission, vision, or core values. She answered core values because there needs to be trust, integrity, and honesty. Rachael says that she answers in directly and does not micro manage. Even she makes a mistake she will be honest and stand up to say that she made the mistake.

Next, I was interested on what advice she would give a new employee going into a leadership position for the first time. She answered by saying that one should always listen no matter how long they have worked in the company. They should still ask questions because they are still not an expert.

I was then interested in what she thinks are the most important traits of successful leaders today. She said emotional intelligence. She gave the example of Frank Venegas and how he communicates with people and his employees at Ideal. It’s important to connect with people. Rachael explains that she always tries to improve this trait.

Creative and innovating thinking are two things that I value in a professional setting, so I was curious to ask Rachael how she fosters creative and innovative thinking at Ideal. She explained that if someone has a new idea, don’t come up with reasons why it shouldn’t work. It’s good to be open to change and ideas.

Lastly, I asked her how she decides who the best candidate for Ideal is. Rachael explained that tech knowledge is important but what also really matters is if their personality fits in with the company.

Thank you Rachael for sitting down with me and answering my questions. You truly did teach me a lot in a short amount of time.

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