An Open Letter to the Women in the Pump Industry – Exceed the Standard

gapingvoid_Careers are not ladders

The Truth is… I’m not an Entrepreneur. I was fired. I have failed. I will fail again! But… I will Exceed the Standards and raise my voice for doing what is right! I am not perfect, and I don’t pretend to be.  I just don’t like to focus on the negative… I focus on constant Improvement!  This will allow me to penetrate a very difficult landscape for women in male-dominated industry… Here’s my story… I hope it will inspire you to Work Smarter, Work Educated, Work for a Better Tomorrow for Women in our Industry.

I was introduced to the Pump Industry through the publication planning meetings when I worked as an ad sales rep.  We would plan where association “trade-out” columns would go. At the time, HI and FSA were the main ones to provide content for pumps and fluid sealing to the publication. However, we never discussed WHY these organizations were important to the industry.  It was only talked about that they didn’t generate revenue through advertising. This bothers me still today!

This bothers me because I understand the value of the content. Without awesome technical content, you really aren’t serving the industry and its community.  They need answers to the questions they’re facing every day.  It became my mission to help strengthen the relations between these organizations and the media. I worked to get to know these organizations and to understand the needs of not only the marketing team, but the industry as a whole. Media wasn’t allowed at HI at the time, so I started my journey at an FSA meeting.  You can read my story about that experience here!

Long story short, there was a problem to be solved, but since I wanted to do so much more than was allowed “in my position” at the company, I was fired.  I was fired because I put the Pump Industry, my clients, and my passion, before the company… I would do it again!  Because at the CORE of myself… I love a healthy PUMP… from the human heart to the pump system to the people in the heart of manufacturing.

I was fired because I stood up for my clients on the value… You do what you say you are going to do!  Some people call this Integrity… I call this doing the RIGHT thing! There was an open meeting where I was asked “What do you think, Charli?” after we were told that we were not going to add the extra distribution to the HVAC industry as promised.  But I had already sold the ad to the client, received their content, and it was an industry that I thought was Extremely important! My response was, “I think it SUCKS! I think we should spend the money and do what we said. After all, Integrity was one of the ideals listed in the company culture.”  I know now that I should have had that discussion in a private setting, but I still stand by what I said 100%. And given the chance I would do it again.. just differently so it would be more effective!   This is something I would like to teach the women of tomorrow. How to Communicate with the C-suite in front of their employees.

The reason the tone came out when asked was because of many other factors, and I was just fed up.  I am sure some of you can relate!

As soon as this happened, I posted to FB “I am no longer with the company where my pump family could find me”.  Within a few minutes, I had calls from those that understand my passion for the industry and that I was a hard worker.  I had several job opportunities to “sell” pumps or pump software… and having been told “JUST SELL” for the previous year,  I wasn’t sure I was ready.  Also, if I took that job, I would be looking for two jobs because my husband’s company thought you had to in the office to make sales… A really funny concept that my sales network should get a kick out of  😀  So, WHAT to DO?

The truth is I had little flexibility. Our life with 3 children under 6 years of age, and only two months of savings – I knew it had to be a job making an advance sales salary… and in 2 month… that just doesn’t happen. Not to mention I was leading in sales at the company for two magazines at the time I was fired… I was expecting my June sales month to really take care of some debt items…

So my daughter was 7 months old and I had unsettled hormones (or I probably wouldn’t have said the word Sucks to my boss’s boss… only amplified by the stress that was being placed on me.  This is not an excuse for my behavior.  I should have had a private meeting… I should have stood up for my situation… I should have documented what happened so I could prove to leadership that I had been exceeding the standards but was being punished for it!  This is something I want to teach women how to manage more effectively.   

And to be honest, it wasn’t the company’s fault.  They just didn’t know any better.  When you don’t have the whole story, it’s sometime hard to understand why people are doing things… So keep up with the story. Get the FACTS.  I had been at the company for 8 years; my first job was moving their office as an admin. I had built their spreadsheet (they still use today), and I was involved… Highly motivated and Passionately involved.  It is all I knew… So when the culture changed, new people came in and roles were siloed… it was HARD. I lost my HEALTH. I needed EDUCATION on how to move forward.  This is also something I want to help women manage!  

I had been loyal to the company for 8 years, and they dismissed me without even letting me gather my own things and say goodbye to my #PumpTalk family. So, I was sad for ONE day… ALL DAY! Then… I reflected on what I had accomplished, what I was most passionate about, and set out to EDUCATE people on social media. Because, after all…. like many of you… I LOVE developing PEOPLE and training the NEXT generation.   My #1 Partner said for me to let him know when I started my own pump digest, so I called him.  With his support and belief in me, along with a handful of others, I set out to CREATE a JOB for myself.  I knew I could grow an audience; I had just been tasked to do that with my last audience and exceeded expectations in the first month (WITH no authority to CALL a meeting). So, I knew I could if I was the BOSS… and well I did graduate from the University of Alabama with a BS in Finance & Banking and a minor in Economics (I LOVE Economics and ALAN is COOL!) So… like many engineers – I am a CREATIVE Problem Solver!  I am a social media guru for the PUMP INDUSTRY and I MADE it because I SET THE STANDARD.  I educated the pump industry while connecting it (well, for the ones that gave me a moment to explain it) how to use Social Media to build a business – I teach and believe it because I LIVED IT, Used it, and became an Influencer in the industry! My standard is based on constant improvement, inclusion, and doing what is right.  So here’s my truth I finally shared with you… I hope it helps you understand how and why people say #SHEMADEIT and inspires you in the future to speak up and become an influencer for your passion!

My passion is for the Heart of the Industry…. And that is the people I call family, friends, and those I LOVE dearly…  As I am recruiting more and more Women to the Pump Industry, I am at peace knowing I have a wonderful team of support!  Thank you ladies!  I solute you for your work building your careers in the Pump Industry!

I would like to invite people to share their stories of ‘getting back up again’ after being knocked down or experiencing a ‘failure’.  You can share them publicly here in the comments or send me a private email. charli @  I am here for you whatever the need!