How 10 Moms Inspire the Next Generation of Innovators

    For Mother’s Day, these leaders share how they use their jobs to get their kids to think big.

    Innovation can start at a young age.

    These mothers know that. So they encourage their children to try new experiences and not be afraid of failure.

    Here’s what moms have to say about inspiring their kids.

    Meghan Bullock, Sales Inventory Operations Planning Leader

    Pictured above

    Location: Phoenix, AZ

    What do you do?

    I help to make sure we have the right parts and the right amount of people to build what our customers order.

    How do you encourage your children to innovate?

    I have young kids so everything is like an adventure for them. I really try hard to get them to come up with solutions to problems themselves or to encourage creative play. This was especially true this last year spending most of our time at home. We found joy in simple things like transforming everyday household items (cardboard boxes, soda bottles and good old duct tape) into something new and cool that they could play with for the day.

    Leani Benitez-Cardona, Principal Mechanical Engineer

    Location: Phoenix, AZ

    What do you do? I create repair procedures for engine components for military aircrafts. I see parts and processes that are considered damaged or bad and think of new ideas on how we can repair or improve them to get the most out of it. 

    How do you encourage your children to innovate? My husband and I are both engineers so our kids have grown up with aircraft parts and damage assessment conversations at the dinner table. As they grow up, I have noticed how they listen and every once in while the jump in the conversation and ask questions and provide solutions. I love to see them develop ideas, analyze and experiment. Whatever career they decide to go, I know they will take that with them.

    Melba Jamison,  IT Project Management Principal

    Location: Atlanta, GA

    What do you do? I make checklists with deadlines for team members to deliver a product.

    How do I encourage my children to innovate? My children are teens so there are constant discussions about what jobs they can obtain. I reshape the conversation to highlight their natural strengths and advise them into thinking outside the box. Instead of a regular summer job, start a company as a team to set your own pricing and hours that will hone not only what you do naturally, but increase your business acumen. I urge them to take chances while they have little to no real responsibilities.

    Sam Ashlee, Advanced User Experience Researcher 

    Location: Atlanta, GA

    What do you do?

    I help make our products easy to use for everybody. I work to make sure that what we make is inclusive and accessible to all types of people and experiences. Now my kid tells me that when he grows up, he wants to “make the world easier for kids with disabilities.”

    How do you encourage your child to innovate?

    The most important thing is to make mistakes and then get empowered by them! So many people are afraid of making mistakes, but each mistake is a learning opportunity. So every time you make a mistake, instead of being bummed out, try to figure out what you learned from that mistake and do your best to do better next time.


    Alexandra Cortes Rodriguez, Sr. Financial Analyst

    Location: Aguadilla, Puerto Rico

    What do you do?

    I am responsible for a wide range of activities including gathering data, organizing information, analyzing financial results, making forecasts and projections and making recommendations to help management make business decisions.

    How do you encourage your child to innovate?

    I encourage my 12-year-old daughter Mia to always try new things, this way she gets a wider knowledge of what is out there and it helps spike her creativity and interests. Also, I do my best to give her options and let her develop her own conclusions and make her own decisions. Mia is very creative and loves arts and science, technology, engineering and math related activities. Therefore we are always looking for events and activities she can participate hands on or virtually.

    Deepthi Sethuraman, Sr. Software Engineer Supervisor 

    Location: Bangalore, India

    What do you do?

    I work with a great team who help make buildings intelligent, healthy and safe. We help a building take care of itself, know whom to let inside and take care of comfort and safety. 

    How do you encourage your children to innovate? 

    They are bubbling with new ideas every day. My daughter wanted to create a lemonade business to home deliver in throw-away bottles through online orders in lockdown times. It was unbelievable how she came up with the complete workflow, the pricing, packages and selling options. And I am amazed at the way my son can create a full-blown world with just a couple of blocks. All I do is praise them when they do something other than the usual. That drives them to do more. Their creativity inspires me. 

    Andrea McLaren, Regional Sales Account Manager

    Location: Cincinnati, OH

    What do you do?

    My objective is to find new customers, take care of existing customers and help grow our business. I also work with our engineering teams designing new automation systems that will help our customers make their distribution operations more efficient.

    How do you encourage your children to innovate?

    I am a single mother and have teenage sons ages 13, 16, 18 and 19. They all have very different personalities and interests. Now that they are getting older, they are understanding more about the real world and they are more inquisitive than ever on how business works. I try to find as many opportunities as I can to challenge them (and for them to challenge themselves) to think outside their norms, be creative and remind them not to be afraid of failure.  

    Simmi Sood, Project Development Manager 

    Location: Morris Plains, NJ

    What do you do at Honeywell?

    I work in technologies that convert crude oil and bio-feed into high value, transportation fuel that is better for the environment.

    How do you encourage your child to innovate?

    I emphasize that there is no “right” way to create artwork. Go with the flow! I also urge him to view setbacks as opportunities to learn and encourage him to embrace an attitude of experimentation. I also show the value of working in teams and that diverse opinions lead to a better solution

    Kimberly Ciccarelli, Sr. Customer Quality Engineering Manager

    Location: Clearwater, FL

    What do you do?

    I work with our aerospace sites and customers to ensure our products meet all quality requirements.

    How do you encourage your children to innovate?

    I am regularly encouraging my boys to be the best versions of themselves. I recognize the efforts they put forth in the preparation. I also try to emphasize that we learn the most through our experiences. I am looking forward to our Kennedy Space Center camp out this summer (we get to sleep under the Atlantis Shuttle) to show them how innovation can change the world!

    Jill Brown, Senior Account Manager

    Location: Charleston, SC

    What do you do at Honeywell?

    I work with awesome teams at Honeywell creating weather information to help people send rockets into space. I also work with teams creating navigation systems helping people make autonomous machines that can drive, fly and float safely without people inside.

    How do you encourage your children to innovate?

    We work really hard to ask our daughters, Piper, 4, and Harper, 1, questions about their own thoughts and instincts instead of always providing answers to the common toddler question – why? We spend a lot of time outside to encourage discovery and curiosity from hands on experiences in the natural world.