Christine Buckingham, IU graduate and CEWiT alumnae advisory board member, has worked for General Electric for 17 years. She has spent time in a variety of different fields, from supply chain and IT, to services and now engineering. “I support the GE president and his staff along with 4000+ engineers across 26 global sites,” said Buckingham. “The short answer is I make it fun for people to come to work!”
Buckingham loves seeing new technologies come out in her field, and the variety of things engineers make has surprised her. “Where else in a job can you get on an airplane and say, ‘we make that engine, the cockpit, and the power that drives the plane!’” she said. She also enjoys the large nature of her company, and working with so many different people.
With new technologies come a variety of obstacles, Buckingham acknowledged. “Technology is changing so fast that it is hard to keep on top of it,” she said. “You put a new program in and you feel it is out of date the moment you do the installation.”
Buckingham received her biology degree at IU, and wanted to get more involved as an alumna. “When the opportunity came up to join the CEWiT alumnae advisory board, I thought this would be a great chance,” she said.
Her advice to women entering STEM fields today is to explore different courses when possible. “For example, a class on public speaking, executive presence or making effective presentations would be beneficial,” Buckingham said. Even if you are the smartest one in the meeting, “if you cannot speak or present well, leaders will not be impressed.”
Buckingham recently applied for a promotion as an operations leader, and is encouraged by the opportunity. “Hopefully I will get it and can show even without an engineering background, you can still do amazing things in an engineering field!” said Buckingham.