Education: BS, Psychology from Siena College; MBA and MS, Industrial Psychology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
First Job: At 10 years old, produced and acted in a neighborhood show and earned $50
What I'm Reading: There Are No Accidents, by Robert H. Hopcke
My Philosophy: You never know what life will bring your way, so be open to new adventures that will change the way you look at yourself and the world.
Family: Single, Great Aunt.
Interests: Photography, sports, film, interior design.
Favorite Charities: All charities focused on education and removing ignorance
Mary Humiston • Applied Materials
Group Vice President, Global Human Resources2010 award winner
Working in human resources is exciting because it allows me to be involved in hiring the best talent, developing people and enabling managers to excel. People are the ultimate competitive advantage, especially within innovation-driven businesses like Applied Materials. They are the ones who dream up the next big idea for our customers, drive technology innovation to make it a reality and execute on our company’s strategy.
As a member of the executive staff at Applied Materials, I take great pride in the fact that my team plays a significant role in executing on our strategy. As a female leader at the company, I’m also proud to bring a unique perspective to how we need to attract, retain and engage the best talent to move our business forward. I bring great passion to what I do, which is a universal trait that benefits anyone who wants to make a significant impact in their career.
When you’re just starting your career, it’s important to pinpoint the contribution you want to make and why. In the course of my career, I’ve participated in many interviews to recruit talent and found that people are sometimes influenced by external factors and others’ expectations. It’s important to know what you want and to be flexible and open to possibilities that come your way so you can learn about your true passions.
For me, this resulted in the opportunity to live in another country and experience different cultures and business challenges. I was able to work in a completely different function outside of human resources – finance on GE’s corporate audit staff, which was like an MBA on steroids. The experience greatly expanded my business acumen and allowed me to gain global experience and cross-functional, cross-business understanding.
Mentors have also been an important part of my success along the way. Great mentors are so valuable because they tell you when things are going well, where you can improve and just listen when you want to explore ideas. Feedback from someone who believes in you allows you to become that much better.
One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced in my career is balancing my work with my personal life. I love to work, as my friends will tell you, but finding that balance between your profession and your other interests allows you to gain a unique perspective from a rich and fulfilling life. Follow your passion, mix it up and have fun!