• From Fascination in STEM to 3M: Elizabeth and Beth Share Their Career Journeys

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    • At 3M, our 91,000 employees around the world inspire us every day by devoting their work to improving lives. And Laboratory Manager Elizabeth Edblom and Disruptive Technology Program Engineer Beth Harris are no exception. Here’s what they had to say about being women in STEM at 3M and their future goals.

    • 3M Careers: Elizabeth and Beth Share Their Career Journeys

      First things first. How did each of you become interested in a STEM career?

      Elizabeth: I had a female Chemistry high school teacher who taught with energy and passion.  I identified with her and could see myself as a chemist.  I went to college for Chemistry and ended up working for a corporate scientist at 3M during the summer who directed me to attend graduate school, and then brought me back for a job after I graduated.  

      Beth: I wanted something that challenged me, but also provided a stable career for supporting a future family. I found something I liked in every subject at school. My interests are wide, but I decided to go into engineering to challenge myself and utilize my interpersonal skills.

    • Do you have any advice for other women who are starting out in STEM careers?

      Elizabeth: It’s the same advice I would give my son, or anyone for that matter. Being successful isn’t about organizational items or having the right mentor, it’s all the stuff your mom tells you to do. Listen, do your homework, be kind, and formally say thank you—not through a text, but in person.. Be a person others want to work with. 

      Beth: Value your own voice. Have confidence in your worth as a different voice at the table.

       

    • And speaking of 3M specifically, how would you describe what being a 3Mer means to those who’ve never experienced 3M?

      Elizabeth: There is a long history at 3M and we are proud of it. McKnight’s Principles defined a culture which honors scientific risk taking and  the value to learn from our mistakes. 

      Beth: Working at 3M is being part of a community.  There is a strong culture which encourages people to learn new things and help others grow.  I feel 3M learning new things and helping others grow.  

       

    • As you mentioned, employees are encouraged to innovate and take risks here, which we call 15% Culture. How do you each of you use that time?

      Elizabeth: After 30 years, 15% time is my expectation to take work a bit further, make an additional connection, or bring another voice into the conversation.

      Beth: I’ve used it to expand my horizons, both technically and personally. I’ve explored new topics at Tech Forum and Engineering & Manufacturing Technology Chapter events and met new people to expand my network. Also, I’ve used my 15% time to become a mentor and sounding board for other employees, which has really enriched my connections at 3M. 

    • Combined, you two have a total of 35 years at 3M. How would you compare your first year working at 3M vs. today?

      Elizabeth: Time goes faster each year. I have a bigger network now, so the company feels smaller, more familiar, but the culture has been consistent the entire time.
       
      Beth: I spent my first year figuring out formal versus casual relationships. I thought I would separate my work personality and my home personality. However, I quickly found out that the way I am at work doesn’t need to be any different than the way I am at home. I became more confident in my own personality and started letting my true self guide my work style.  There is value in my voice and style -  there was no need to fake it. 

       

    • And what do you want to accomplish in the next few years?

      Elizabeth: I would like to continue to work on large complicated projects and to be part of a team solving challenging problems. These goals are the same as they were the day I started.

      Beth: I want to figure out how to balance motherhood and my career. As life shifts with the growth of my family, I need to do three things: find out what my new normal looks like; be a role model for my child; and fulfill my own wishes at work and at home. At work, I want to continue to connect different groups and empower them to make changes to improve manufacturing. 

    • Share and start your 3M experience.

      Elizabeth and Beth’s stories are truly inspiring and at 3M, we want to make sure all our employees’ voices are heard. Whether you’re a candidate who has interviewed with 3M or a current employee, we’d love for you to anonymously share your experiences with us on our Glassdoor page.

      Interested in working at 3M? Join our Talent Community.