Each year, Diversity Journal’s annual Women Worth Watching issue spotlights exceptional women nominated by their companies as role models to young women beginning their careers. This year, Maria Blase, president of the HVAC and Transport Latin America business unit, is among those chosen for the honor and featured in the magazine’s September/October issue.
“We believe your story will inspire so many others…,” wrote the Profiles in Diversity Journal’s editor-in chief, Kathie Sandlin, in a letter to Blase, in which she cited the magazine’s global readership. This recognition, occurring amidst Hispanic Heritage Month, offers an opportunity to spotlight Blase’s career decisions and share learning points with everyone.
From her first job waitressing in her parents’ restaurant to her current position, Blase has successfully navigated many turning points in her career, combining flexibility and pragmatism with a desire to make a difference in people’s lives through her work.
Following her waitressing experience, which taught her the value of exceeding customer expectations, Blase set her sights on a career in the theater. As a backup plan, she took accounting courses where she discovered an affinity for numbers.
Following Her Head – and Her Heart
The backup plan turned out to be the right move. After launching her accounting career, Blase took advantage of an opportunity to work in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she gained valuable international experience. Writing her personal mission statement as part of a seminar during that period helped her realize that her real passion was to move beyond finance and give “meaningful work to people so they could positively impact their families and communities.”
Blase joined Ingersoll Rand in 1999 after working internationally in the financial industry. She was promoted in 2012 to president of the HVAC and Transport Latin American business, where she works directly with the Trane and Thermo King brands.
“I approached this role with an understanding of how it would challenge me and where my strengths would align with the needs of the position. I did not jump blindly,” she said.
She explored with her manager and mentor what her contingency plan would be if the role wasn’t the right fit. “Understanding when and how to make the leap to a new role is not easy. Past successes might not help you and may keep you in your comfort zone or make you fear failure.”
Recognized by Chairman’s Award as a Role Model
To honor her dedication and leadership, Ingersoll Rand presented Blase with a 2013 Chairman’s Award for Leadership for being a role model who leads with passion and excels in building the talent of her teams. The award also noted that Blase is a founding member of Ingersoll Rand’s Diversity Council. The annual Chairman’s Awards recognize outstanding contributions in strategic areas that align with the companies strategies.