Education, Hard Work, and Perseverance Propelled this Ingersoll Rand VP to Success

As vice president of product management for the HVAC Parts and Supply Solutions business unit at Ingersoll Rand, Sheila Tierney is responsible for product management and pricing. To enable her team to deliver solutions to customers that drive sustainable growth and improve overall customer satisfaction, Sheila leads cross-functional programs and works externally with channel partners and customers to better understand needs.

After joining Ingersoll Rand in April 2010 as vice president of global procurement, Sheila lead more than $7 billion of purchases globally, developed a supplier development team to manage 7,000 direct material suppliers, and led the global logistics and compliance execution team. As part of the company’s growth plan, Sheila focused her efforts on new product development, functional expertise, and supplier innovation.

Her prior experience includes three years with General Electric as general manager of strategic sourcing and 10 years with Navistar, where her roles included product manager of engine service, program manager for Ford accounts, director of service parts, and vice president of purchasing and logistics.

Sheila credits her Irish parents with instilling in her the quality of perseverance and impressing upon her that education is the key to success in America. She worked her way through college at the University of Illinois; as a result of her performance with Navistar, her MBA at Northwestern University was sponsored.

“We are living and leading in an ever-changing world, which requires tenacity and drive,” said Sheila of the lessons her parents taught her. “It’s important to have confidence in your ideas and approaches, and to push through obstacles to see them through.”

Sheila shares her leadership skills in the community with efforts close to her heart. For the past 15 years, she has been a team leader for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Great Strides Walk, where she has helped raise more than $120,000. She is also a member of Be the Miracle, an organization of 100 women focused on improving the quality of life for families in Iredell County, North Carolina. Most recently, Sheila joined the National Minority Supplier Development Council board.

The most important quality a woman leader should have is…
… perseverance. We are living and leading in an ever-changing world, which requires tenacity and drive. It’s important to have confidence in your ideas and approaches, and to push through obstacles to see them through.

The career advice I’d give my former self:
Be comfortable with who you are. Don’t be afraid to ask others for help to achieve the best possible outcome. Remember that most people appreciate being brought in and want you to succeed.

Words I live by:
How will I show up today?  Being an authentic leader is crucial in developing a high performing team. For me, it’s about staying true to my core values and allowing others to see that my actions and behaviors are aligned with my beliefs.

The one thing I’d do differently in my career, knowing what I know now, is…
…take more time to learn about the backgrounds and personal interests of my colleagues. Understanding where others have come from and what motivates them delivers better results – and ensures everyone’s personal goals are being met.

When I really need to focus on a project, I…
…work from somewhere outside of my traditional office. This practice helps me step back and gain a fresh perspective. I also make a concerted effort to involve others who are equally passionate about delivering outstanding results – this motivates me to execute and deliver on the task at hand.

My biggest career leap (and what I learned from it) was…
…when I transitioned from product management to procurement and relocated to Brazil for my employer. I learned to leverage adversity and gained a whole new appreciation for diversity of cultures. This experience highlighted and reinforced my passion for working with global products and teams.

Being a woman in my profession has been…
…something I rarely think of. In the beginning of my career, I was very aware of the imbalance of gender in the supply chain function. Over time I realized it’s more about the experience and expertise I bring; gender now seldom crosses my mind.

I’ve learned that failure is…
…the best opportunity to learn and experiment.

I maintain a healthy personal life by…
…protecting time for family and friends.

I knew my present career was what I wanted to do when…
…I realized my prior experiences and passion for change could be a catalyst for business transformation. I’m motivated by working across the globe with like-minded people who have a common cause and are focused on the customer.