Roberta Rivera joined the plastics industry 11 years ago. She was interested in a "fast-paced office career" where her multitasking skills could be utilized, and she welcomes challenges and values her work ethic and skills.
As the sales and service administrator for LS Mtron's Chicago Tech Center in Wood Dale, Ill., Rivera oversees day-to-day administrative duties and supports sales, the service team and customers. "I am the core of our team," she said.
Rivera said she is proud of the "genuine relationship" she has with customers and that great customer service makes all the difference.
"[The customers] trust me, and they know I will always get back to them with answers or assistance on a timely basis. Phone support is huge, and I make sure all calls are answered live. Many companies have automated phones that take you nowhere and you never get a live person, nor do you get a return call. This causes much frustration to customers and causes a negative impact on their view on your service," she said.
"While we know one another by daily email or phone, it is fun to meet most of them at the NPE shows on a more relaxed level. Our customers know I am a reliable source at our company," she added.
Rivera recognizes the impact of the pandemic on customer service with closures, staffing issues and impatience.
"We need to help bring business back but also be patient due to continued short staffing. Keep positive and say 'thank you.' Make someone's bad day a good day," she said.
Rivera said the person she looks up to is herself.
"You must practice what you preach! I am proud of all three of my successful children, and they have shown me that our parenting efforts never end, and they do look at us to continuously guide them through life," she said. "It's always work in progress and never give up on your children. I am equally proud of myself as a mother."
Q: If you were CEO of a company, what would you do first?
Rivera: Open the door and allow more women to be in powerful positions. The opportunities are endless; there are many women with low-paying jobs that can learn skilled jobs such as service technician. Can you imagine seeing a woman show up at a customer to troubleshoot their 500-ton injection molding machine? Why not?
Q: What advice would you give to a person considering a career in the plastics industry?
Rivera: Walk in and shine like a star. You stand out when you take initiative and put your skills to work in ways that are truly needed today. Know how to be a professional handling difficult people. Be proactive with always having a plan B to sort out issues that just don't work in the favor of your team, customer or vendor.
Q: What is the best advice you have ever received?
Rivera: Do not allow anyone to undermine who you are or your capabilities.