AAPN Women was founded by Sue Strickland last year to give a special voice to the many brilliant women who make up part of our amazing AAPN family, and they have been sharing their stories with us. This is President and CEO of Kaltex America Hebe Schecter’s.
Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.
I am originally from Argentina. I came to the U.S. with my husband to study for couple of years and then return home. Twenty-five years later, I AM home in NJ with my husband Alex, and my kids Sebastian, Martin and Victoria and our beloved dog.
I am one of four girls. My mom is a stay at home mom who runs everyone’s life to this day. My Mom taught us to reach for the sky. My Dad encouraged us to explore anything we felt passionate about.
I started spending the summers helping out in my family’s company. My dad is an engineer and back home we produce car parts and orthopedic prosthesis. I loved to be in the middle of the action. Getting my hands dirty, working with the production team, understanding the supply chain and being involved in business discussions spoke to my heart. I was the only girl on the production floor, but my overalls were as dirty as everyone else’s.
Those days defined what I do today. I became the President and CEO of Kaltex America in 2015. I am the first woman to have a position of this caliber in our 20,000-employee group. I started as the Comptroller and navigated through many different areas of our organization: Fabrics, Apparel, Home and many others. Being entrepreneurial, thinking outside the box in an ever-changing industry and working with people that make me and our company better is what keeps me motivated and focused into the next day, month and years to come.
What qualities does it take for someone to be successful in your line of work?
First, believe in yourself, be committed to that belief and never compromise your integrity
Secondly, keep your eyes on the big goals, even if you need to change the course of action don’t forget about the finish line.
Thirdly, surround yourself with people who are better than you. People that challenge you and who you can challenge. People that make a difference in you and you on them. Maya Angelou said “I have learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you make them feel.”
Finally, and always importantly, have fun.
What advice would you offer future leading ladies wishing to break into your industry?
Connect, connect and connect. Join organizations, look for a mentor, join a blog, create a blog, call people to ask what they like about what they do, go to conferences. Use 30 minutes of your day to plan this aspect as you do with any other assignment.
What would you say your personal superpower is?
What can I say, according to my kids Wonder Woman and I are twins, it must be the energy and the spirit to never give up.