Sheila Tierney’s Recipe for Success Snags Diversity Journal
Throughout her career Sheila Tierney has created a recipe for success that has helped her to achieve goals and receive leadership accolades, including being honored for the Women Worth Watching award in this year’s Profiles in Diversity Journal.
Tierney's recipe is simple: she combines her comfort with ambiguity with her willingness to take risks, and mixes thoroughly. This approach has proven reliable time and again, most notably from her rapid rise at Navistar to her current role as vice president of product management for the HVAC Parts and Supply Solutions Business Unit.
Her personal recipe, along with other key traits, was the driving force behind the Profiles in Diversity Journal’s nomination and ultimate award for Tierney as a Woman Worth Watching, a prestigious honor that highlights 100 exceptional leaders who inspire professional achievement through influencing and motivating others to succeed.
Comfort in the Unknown
The youngest of five children from an Irish heritage family, Tierney's parents taught her the value of higher education, perseverance and hard work. That strong upbringing spurred her to begin working in a pizza parlor at the age of 13 to eventually fund her own college tuition. Once she completed her degree, Tierney immediately began to think about the types of job experiences she wanted to pursue. She knew that her cultural curiosity and passion for diversity needed to be fulfilled, so she was deliberate in pursuing opportunities to gain international exposure.
“It is important to be open to new experiences and feel comfort in the unknown while also having the courage to drive forward – it is during times of ambiguity that you can ultimately determine what’s most important,” she said. “Equally as important, though, is seeking help when needed and maintaining a high level of patience.”
Calculated Risks Pay Off
Regularly adding new ingredients to her recipe for success, Tierney took a calculated risk when, post college graduation, she moved to Brazil for a leadership role with Navistar. It continually challenged her to experience new and different situations, people and customs – and helped her understand the importance of an ever-changing skillset and cultural experiences.
Throughout her career, Tierney heeded the advice of her most influential mentors and committed each experience to heart. Today, she works to emulate those traits she found most uplifting and inspiring, not only with her own team, but also with others within Ingersoll Rand who request her assistance or guidance. Her consistent message to those she mentors is to be strong and confident in all decisions.
Since joining Ingersoll Rand in 2010, she has continued her work as a mentor and furthered the company’s diversity initiatives by developing our supplier diversity program. Seen as a trailblazer, Tierney helped lead procurement through an organizational transformation that delivered improved quality, productivity and new product development capability.
In 2014, Tierney took another calculated risk when she moved into a new role with the HVAC Parts and Supply Business Unit as vice president of product management. Like many of her other career choices, this role was a departure from her expected career path and presented a much welcomed challenge and opportunity. Her leadership and drive has not gone without notice.
“Sheila is up for any challenge. She has the bravery and tenacity to step outside her comfort zone and forge ahead as a leader within Ingersoll Rand, all while supporting her teammates along the way,” says Scott Krull, president of HVAC Parts and Supply business unit. Her efforts have also won her the Manufacturing Institute’s STEP Award and an Ingersoll Rand President’s Award.