Rebecca, could you let us know about your background and your journey to 3D printing?
I’ve been with HP for nearly 20 years and joined the company as an intern in 2000 after studying Computer Science and Accounting at Pacific University. I later pursued my MBA at Walden University through an HP-funded graduate program.
Throughout my journey at HP I’ve had a multitude of roles including everything from engineering to product marketing to software and services across our 2D print business. I am particularly passionate about bringing new innovative services to market and lowering barriers to adoption for our customers, and so when HP’s 3D printing organization was looking for a leader with service and subscription experience, I jumped at the opportunity. In my current role as Director of 3D Printing Services, I really enjoy making an impact at HP by accelerating transformative new business models and go to market.
And one of the best things about HP is that I’ve had the opportunity to work in a number of HP offices across the globe such as Corvallis, Oregon, Boise, Idaho, and now Barcelona.
How has your experience been moving abroad and living and working in Barcelona?
HP is an incredible and diverse company. It has opened my mind and given me a new appreciation for different perspectives, approaches and cultures. Barcelona is the key site for HP’s 3D printing and digital manufacturing organization, and so being here with the teams and talent has been eye-opening. Interestingly, working in Barcelona has also highlighted the importance of being face to face and how that is more valued in certain countries.
In addition, my global awareness has seen a dramatic non-linear growth which has helped me to be a better leader, employee, customer advocate and global citizen overall. Finally, for my family (especially my children) I believe that living abroad is one of the best gifts we can give them. While there have been times of struggle, learnings and patience as part of the transition, I know that we are all becoming more adaptable and understanding of the world around us.
I feel incredibility fortunate to be in 3D, to live and work in Barcelona, and to lead new business models and programs that will bring lasting impact in this dynamic industry.
Why do you think more women should pursue careers in 3D printing and digital manufacturing?
Women should pursue careers in all fields that they have an interest in. For 3D printing, we can make a difference by bringing more awareness, challenging stereotypes and breaking down barriers on what the digital manufacturing industry is really about. If we focused more on the problems we are solving versus what technology we are building, I believe we would see more people join our community.
Looking back into the past is not the recipe for our future success as an industry. We need diverse thinking to construct new ways to solve problems. Manufacturing may be considered a male-dominated field today. As I see it, underrepresented groups will be a strong catalyst for the manufacturing of tomorrow, dramatically shifting to an interconnected and data-driven industry where static interaction is replaced with dynamic communication. New areas of expertise will be critical in fields such as: global partnerships, connected systems, new business models and operating structures, sustainable and circular economy advancements, security innovations, and many more. It’s a new world being created and the opportunities have shifted.
Have you had any mentors along your career journey that helped you get to where you are today? If yes, can you share more about the experience?
I have always had at least one mentor at any given time. And I consistently have had at least one female mentor that is one to two levels above me. This has proven highly valuable for the shared perspective and approach on any number of situations such as how to handle difficult conversations, career path management or just the personal aspects of being a working female and mother.
In addition, I have had several male mentors and sponsors who have been instrumental in my journey – they have often been my biggest fans who saw things in me that I did not see at the time. In fact, my last several jobs all came about through the sponsorship of men that represented me when I was not there or encouraged me to pursue opportunities that I may have thought I wasn’t ready for. I recall one mentor who gave me the most impactful feedback – take more risks, get comfortable saying yes when you don’t know the answer, actively manage your brand, building executive presence and increasing confidence perception in meetings. It was thoughtful, dense, accurate, clear and direct. On the other hand, I have participated in many training programs to develop other leadership qualities such as authenticity, being kind to ourselves, clarity of setting a vision for oneself and conflict management.
What advice do you have for women looking to get started in 3D printing and digital manufacturing?
Talk to others in the industry (both women and men). Think about this as a new business, a new industry, and a new way of doing things to make a difference and better the world. Do not opt yourself out because of what you think something might be – come learn and experience for yourself. I don’t tinker on 3D printers in my personal time, but that’s not why I love being in 3D printing and digital manufacturing. I am in 3D printing because I love the idea of being part of changing the way others think, design and create to develop a better world. It’s so inspiring to know that I am playing an important role in helping to get the tools in the “hands” of companies leading the next industrial revolution.
Can you tell me more about HP’s new 3D Printing Network of Women and why it was formed?
HP 3D NoW (Network of Women) started with a handful of HP women having the passion and desire to encourage and actively assist getting more female talent into 3D printing, starting first within our own organization, but ultimately moving towards the broader market and industry in general. While we are focusing on 3D printing for now, we do see the opportunity for this to manifest into advanced manufacturing as well.
Our intent was centered on three areas—supporting our HP 3D women through development, enhancing our current population by attracting new talent into HP, and inspiring others (men and women within HP and in the industry) to support female talent in this industry. Businesses are more successful through a diversity of thought which is especially important in a hyper-innovative industry.
So far we have launched with six committees who are making things happen inside of HP and even externally with other groups. It is important to note that this organization is for both men and women. In fact, we will only be successful if we partner together on this journey to develop, attract and inspire.
Where do you think the industry will move to in the next 10 years? What trends are helping to form this path?
Over the next 10 years, the digital transformation of our global society and economy is going to continue to accelerate. The fourth industrial revolution will touch every industry, most importantly manufacturing. Through this extraordinary wave of disruption, we are transforming how entire industries design, make, and distribute products in a more equitable, economical, and environmentally conscious way.
I believe that the disruptive promise of HP’s 3D printing and digital manufacturing innovation is massive, and here is a look at some of the trends that will propel the industry forward:
Data is clearly at the heart of any digital shift. Data will become the key currency to run any operation. New rules and regulations, skillsets and business models will evolve with this shift.
Software is becoming more important than hardware. Software and data will lead hand in hand the transformation to industry 4.0 as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, 3D printing and analytics are all based on these components.
The need for security, especially around the digital aspect, will take a center stage in the coming years as adoption increases.
There will be a greater need for a workforce that has the skills but also the perspective of working in a software-led environment. This will impact 100% of organizational resources.
Companies will be participating in the new manufacturing production workflow including plants/factories, logistics, suppliers, technology and factory designers.
3D printing technology and digital manufacturing will become the catalyst for new business models not possible before.