Fabiola Escalona said one of her greatest achievements has been earning the respect of her peers and reaching a position more commonly held by men: senior plant manager for KI Industries Inc. in Querétaro, Mexico.
"One of the things I am most proud of is having turned around a manufacturing site that employed more than 100 associates from just barely breaking even financially to a gross profit of greater than 22 percent," she said. "Additionally, we significantly reduced scrap and improved inventory accuracy to better than 99 percent. Most importantly for our customers, we deliver their orders with 100 percent on-time delivery."
With 20 years of experience in the industry, Escalona said the secret is building a successful team and fostering a collaborative culture.
"I am very proud of the fact that the two women who are leading our other two KI sites in Mexico are women I hired and developed. I am incredibly proud of this achievement and am proud of them — three women breaking the mold in Mexico," she added.
As a senior plant manager for the supplier of decorative products, Escalona manages a manufacturing site with 334 employees, develops budgets, assigns resources to fulfill all quality systems requirements and fosters a culture of accountability.
Escalona earned a degree in finance from Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM). While an undergrad, she studied abroad in France and was selected from more than 200 students to represent France in a strategy competition. The students were challenged to solve cases from Harvard Business School, and her team finished in second place.
"I think that the mold I am breaking is being a woman with a finance major in a job normally performed by male engineers. I am so fortunate to work in a company that believes in women and the ability to lead successful teams," she said. "On the other hand, being a single mother for the last eight years and growing in my job like I have would be considered breaking the mold. Many times, people have to choose between family and being successful in professional life; I really think you can have both with the correct support from your company and the people close to you."