BusinessEducation

Misty Mitchell, Learning Consultant

Misty Mitchell

Company: Caterpillar

Title: Learning Consultant

Industry: Construction

Function: Sales Development & Operations

Education: BS Veterinary Technology, teacher certification

Survey:

EHC: What is your daily schedule like?

MM: Anywhere from nonstop dealer and project meetings to being completely open to working on smaller project items.

EHC: What is your favorite part of your job?

MM: The annual meeting! I run the annual machine training in Tucson, Arizona. It’s 1,200 people over the course of two months driving tractors, selling parts, everything.

EHC: What were the steps you took to get your job?

MM: I already worked at Caterpillar, but I went from the mining side to sales training. I had to leverage my project management skills with my teaching background, really. I had to show them that I can do it.

EHC: What is your best piece of advice for girls interested in this field?

MM: Education isn’t everything. Look at where I started out, and keep your mind open to different companies you can work for.

EHC: What inspired you to pursue this career?

MM: I need to interact with people; it is part of my personality. While my last job appeased the technical side of my personality, I wasn’t getting the social side. I wanted to bring people together and meet new people, so I decided to make a change.

Career Snapshot

As a learning consultant with Caterpillar, Misty gets to travel the globe teaching employees and clients about the company’s equipment and how it can benefit their projects. One of the projects she is responsible for is organizing the annual two-month-long machine training in Tucson, Arizona. She also gets to travel to exotic places like Singapore, Malaga, Trinidad, and Nova Scotia where she gets the opportunity to meet people, experience different cultures, and see places she would never otherwise see. 

So far, one of her favorite moments of working for Caterpillar was spending two weeks in India on a mining site. She spent this time teaching the client about new machinery and assessing their needs. When remembering this experience, she thinks about how surreal it felt to be standing on a large mining shovel, six-stories high, looking out onto the miles of land around her.

Education

While Misty loves her job, she didn’t always know she was good at project management. Skills assessments such as the Gallup Strengths Based Leadership test and the Myers-Briggs personality test helped Misty learn more about herself, which made it a little bit easier to find fulfilling work–not that she had it all figured out! She went to college for veterinary technology and taught high school science before she discovered her current role. It took a little bit of trial and error to find a career that makes her happy, and she doesn’t regret any of those steps along the way.

While she was studying to pass the teacher certification exams, she worked as a waitress. One day she approached some of the regulars asking if any of their companies were hiring. One customer said his construction company needed a project manager, and that helped her discover new opportunities. Misty figured out that she has a lot of talent for project management, which is something school didn’t teach her. She recommends to anyone considering careers to be open to new possibilities and to find out what your strengths are because working outside of those strengths will be exhausting.

Advice

When looking for a job that suits your skills, don’t be afraid to look at companies that might appear as though you have nothing in common. It is a widespread misconception that a company like Caterpillar is just for ‘builders’ when in reality they are a major corporation and need to employ many of different kinds of people such as IT, brand managers, web developers, marketing professionals, and so many more. Don’t think that just because you have a computer science or communications degree that you can’t find a good, fulfilling job at a company that has a strong specialization.

She also suggests that to any young girl considering a career in the construction field (or any male-dominated field), you need to have a strong backbone. There are times that you won’t be fairly treated, and you might even have to make some sacrifices to prove your skills and abilities. The glass ceiling has been difficult for Misty to break through, but now that she is confident in her abilities she is better able to be an advocate for herself.

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