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March 8, 2022

IWD 2022: Outstanding women at RFS - Part 2

The technology sector has taken significant steps forward in recent years with more women stepping into senior roles across the industry. At RFS we are proud on International Women’s’ Day to celebrate some of the outstanding women that work for our organization across the world.

Radio Frequency Systems,
TAGS : IWD

Read part 1 of this blog series here.

Paula Mennone-Preisner
Global Product Marcom Manager
Meriden site, CT, USA

What is your job role at RFS and background?
My current position at RFS is Global Product Marcom Manager. There are two main prongs to my current role – global marketing communications and commercial product launches. Some of my job functions include developing collaterals, website content and product information, communication through a variety of mediums, channel partner marketing programs and launching new products with the product management team. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Commercial Art Design from Central CT State University. In my past life, I was an Art Director at Garlinghouse Publishing for over 10 years, worked in the packaging department at Black and Decker and had a short stint as a freelance graphic designer.

What was your first job in telecoms?
Almost 22 years ago, I entered the world of telecom when I came to RFS. I fell into the role, not picking it because of the industry. They needed someone with a strong printing background (and relationships) and catalog production skills. Along with those core duties, I worked as an assistant to the Product Managers. This is when I really became interested in this industry. I was embedded in the daily requests from customers, began learning about the technology on a deeper level and collaborated on deliverables to present RFS to customers.  

How has the industry changed since you started? 
When I started at RFS, I didn’t even have a phone. Technology and our lives have changed completely, and it was absolutely fascinating to be “on the inside” during this evolution. From a marketing and communication perspective, there have also been significant changes with the digital revolution and the need to have every bit of data at your fingertips. It has really changed what and how we communicate with our customers. Regarding women in the industry, we are definitely seeing a higher percentage of women in the industry, and they are holding higher level positions. This is especially evident for me when I plan and attend tradeshows. You just see more women out there leading the organizations, companies and headlining the keynotes. 

What still needs to change? 
My personal views on inclusiveness may seem awfully mundane…but my motto is if you are a hard worker, if you are brilliant, if you have vision to change or improve this world, it doesn’t matter what your gender, religion, color, etc. is. It all starts with education, knowledge and putting words into practice. 

Name one woman who inspires you 
I read about Tao Porchon-Lynch when I was ready to start my journey into yoga. I had the opportunity to meet her on her 100th birthday. She was recognized as the world’s oldest yoga teacher at 93. She started practicing yoga at 8 despite it being something “only men did”. She had many other accomplishments besides yoga including being an author and an acclaimed dancer. But it was truly her mindset and attitude that fascinated me. A favorite quote for me is "Wake up each day thinking it's going to be a great day, and it will be." And, the best of all, “I never thought anything about age. I believed sincerely and still do, that there’s nothing I cannot do. I believe that all the power in the universe is right inside me.”

Lena Unger
Head of Planning and Supply team for Hannover Factory
Hannover site, Germany

What is your job role at RFS and background?
I am the Head of Planning and Supply team for Hannover Factory. Coming from Customer Service Management, I led the Customer Service teams in EMEA and following the merge of Supply Chain and Customer Service I took over the Supply Chain Head for EMEA in 2020. Within these roles I focused on improving processes and contributing to the company's success long term. However, I also realized that my operational influence on the ability to deliver was limited and therefore applied for the advertised position within Operations. In my current position, I can contribute with my experience and customer focus to develop the Hanover site into an effective manufacturing location and to secure and increase customer satisfaction and business results. With my background, I would especially like to strengthen the customer-focused work in the factory.

What was your first job in telecoms?
My first role in telecoms was actually on a trainee program with RFS. I applied because I was fascinated by the technology and especially the possibilities of how it would continue to develop in the future. Consider how rapidly telecommunications has developed over the last 20 years and you will understand the industry’s appeal. 

How has the industry changed since you started?
Well, on the one hand just the rapid technical development within the last 20 years, but it has also become more accessible for women. When I started at RFS, women were mostly in clerk level roles, usually with a male boss. However, today there are many women across a range of areas, all the way up to CEO. Above all, it is no longer a factor whether you are a woman or a man; I have the feeling that we have reached a point where you can talk about real equality.

What still needs to change?
When we talk about equality, there is certainly still work to be done in the area of work-life balance. Legally, there are already many possibilities here, but we need to adjust mindsets so that taking advantage of these possibilities is more widely accepted. 

Name one woman who inspires you
I will name two. As a public figure, Amelia Earhart, the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic is inspiring. Her tenacity, composure under pressure, courage and determined career impressed me. One of her most famous quotes, "The most effective way to do something is to do it," perfectly aligns with my thinking.
Closer to home, my mother, who was a great role model for me in the way she raised me. My parents taught me to go through life with open eyes and to act justly and always as pragmatically as possible, a lesson that has impacted how I approach life and work.