- Global Market Segment Manager
- At Business Area Automotive & Aerospace Coatings
- Works in The Netherlands
- At AkzoNobel since 2015
"“In my team, we work very hard to build the best plans possible and to help the company business adapt and respond where necessary.” "
It’s a job that requires a great deal of structure, coordination and collaboration – not to mention one that helps shapes the course of aerospace innovation.
As the Segment Manager for Aerospace, Jemma collaborates with the various teams within the marketing department from strategy and innovation, to color and communications to ensure the business keeps growing.
Adapting to the changing demands of the market
Jemma admits the work isn’t always easy, but you get the sense that’s exactly what she enjoys about it. She brings a unique balance to the role from her personal life as a CrossFit and weightlifting enthusiast and longtime yoga instructor – working hard but also taking the space to reflect.
“Our clear ambition is to be the supplier of choice for aerospace coatings and hold a number one position in our industry,” Jemma says. “We need to meet and exceed customer needs at all times. Providing customer value is utmost, whether through fast supply, reliable products, innovative offerings, or through service and support.”
It makes sense that strategy and segment planning is one of the most important elements of Jemma’s work. But she’s learned that there’s space within that structure to be flexible and adapt to the changing demands of the market and our customers, as well as respond to competitive forces.
“One of my favorite quotes about strategic planning is that no plan survives contact with the enemy,” Jemma says. “In my team, we work very hard to build the best plans possible and to help the business adapt and respond where necessary.”
A worthy endeavor
Jemma admits that her enthusiasm for what she does carries her away sometimes: “I can talk for a very long time about how great our Aerospace business is. I am fortunate to work in such a dynamic and exciting industry.”
The unique and beautiful aircraft liveries we create depend on our talented and passionate colleagues all over the world. A finished aircraft is a reflection of the passion and collaboration of many departments within AkzoNobel, including sales, customer and technical service, R&D, color development, and more.
“I have a special place in my heart for leading our key new product development projects,” she says. “While product development projects tend to be demanding, it’s very important that we spend enough time developing our portfolio for the future. For example, our work on developing a chromate-free primer for aircraft structures will help us make a major impact on sustainability and help prepare the industry for a major change in aircraft painting.”
With that focus on what’s next, Jemma also notes how far we’ve already come. She says our coatings were used as far back as 1932 to stiffen and color the canvas covers of wood frame aircraft, declaring: “how cool is that?”
Challenge yourself to grow
Jemma credits two major turning points in her career development: moving from New York to the Netherlands, and joining AkzoNobel.
“Moving abroad was an incredible experience,” Jemma says. “I’ve learned and grown so much from living in another country and working globally – I highly recommend it.”
She continues, “AkzoNobel and my manager, Tsjip Boersma, have also been absolutely pivotal in my career development. When I joined the team in 2015 to coordinate the market intelligence activities of the business unit, I had been working in market research for eight years and was confident in my skills in that domain.
“I was given many new opportunities and challenges, including two key projects that were outside of my area of expertise. This not only allowed me to acquire new skills, but it also showed me that I could move to a role outside of my comfort zone.”
A supportive environment
That ability to try new things is one of the ways Jemma sees the company enabling people.
“About half the people in my team previously worked in other departments outside of marketing,” she explains. “AkzoNobel makes it possible to try different roles and seek new challenges. I believe this is why you see many people staying in the company for more than 30 years!”
The fact that our customers consistently remark that our teams are leading in the industry is proof that it just makes sense to give people chances to grow. We are proud of our market leading products, but it’s the people that truly set us apart. “Our key customers place their trust in us when they invest in developing new products together and co-creating when it comes to innovation. It’s a direct reflection of the talent, knowledge, and supportive nature of my colleagues.”