Effective leaders see their daily activities as opportunities to grow in their personal and professional life. On a larger scale, effective leaders see agency-wide projects as doors through which they can get a glimpse on how the organization is doing and what is required to help the company grow.
One such transformational and empowering leader is Jennifer Cisneros. She is the Vice President of Marketing at BioMicrobics, Inc. She promotes a culture of Water Innovation. Jennifer is excited to share her personal experiences, provide tips for career advancement, and lists three behaviors that have helped her in her current role. Lastly, she lists some tips, which can help women pursue a similar career path. The article includes a short snapshot on her employer ’s social media landscape. Her experience makes her a top thought leader in her industry.
“Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.”
While it has been a challenge to market to multiple customer segments around the globe in 80+ countries, Jennifer is eager to support the 120+ BioMicrobics distributors and help communicate the company’s mission. “Water touches on everything we do on this planet,” Jennifer shares. “Water is the thing people cannot live without and seem to value the least.” Jennifer is always eager to address questions people may have about water. She brings a strong, technical voice to customer and inhouse conversations. She quickly learned that we needed to educate our communities about our current technologies, industry regulations, and the environmental risks that have a direct impact on our water supply.
In addition to serving as Vice-President of Marketing for BioMicrobics, Inc. and its subsidiaries, Jennifer manages her employer ’s communications, websites (including Distributor sites through a DBA Program), 350-plus online profiles, social media, and tradeshows/corporate event planning. Behind the scenes, BioMicrobics markets in 17 different languages. She works with international distributors who assist in translating her material for each of their markets. In tandem, Jennifer works with Technical Practices Committees (TPC) composed of scientists and water process engineers with different skillsets and levels of expertise for technical documents. She submits highpriority, technical/environmental management research questions to Organizations and Innovation Programs. For 6 years, she served as the Marketing Chair of the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association (NOWRA).
Her efforts were paramount to achieving recognition for BioMicrobics as unveiled by the following awards: Kansas Exporter of the Year in 2011, President’s “E”[Excellence in Exports] in 2012, “E Star” in 2016, Top 10 Wastewater Management Solutions Provider in 2019, and Global Water & Wastewater Company of the Year in 2020.
Jennifer has been contacted by nationwide manufacturing organizations that promote and recognize women who exemplify leadership in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Production. In this regard, Jennifer received The Manufacturing Institute’s STEP Ahead Award in 2017 and, in 2019, the Empowering Women in Industry Award for Leadership in Manufacturing. Recently, Jennifer was interviewed as a “Woman in Ballast Water” for her contributions to one of the company’s most recent acquisitions. The article described Jennifer as “no stranger to leading the way and not just in gender equality.”
Carved her Own Path
With regard to her engineering and technical background, Jennifer confides, “I originally pursued a degree in architecture/environmental design but changed to marketing as communications became my passion.” Most of Jennifer ’s operational experience was obtained by working ‘in the trenches’ at engineering and art departments on projects with competing priorities and aggressive deadlines. For most of Jennifer ’s career, she worked in high-paced work environments, which required her to manage her own workflow. She mentioned she did not have a formal career mentor. “Fortunately,” Jennifer added, “informal mentors abound when I stopped to take a look at the people I worked with and served.”
Within her chain of command and every layer in her employer’s organizational structure, she has found people who exemplify the leadership traits she feels compelled to model after. From the President to the Warehouse Staff, the BioMicrobics Team cultivates an atmosphere of camaraderie and inclusiveness.
Finding your Passion in your Current Role
Jennifer asserts that any role can lead to finding one’s passion as long as we take the time to reflect on what the company stands for and how we want to serve our customers.
She adds, “Working at BioMicrobics, I found out I have a passion for talking about the environment. By contributing to the distribution of clean technologies, I can help solve world water problems.”
TIP #1: Be Agile
Jennifer believes a key trait of a good leader is to be agile. While it is common knowledge that projects must be divided into manageable, actionable items, we must see these items as flexible constructs, which must be reassessed and adapted periodically.
On this topic, Jennifer shares, “we can’t fixate our minds on a rigid execution plan when we know life will bring us surprises.” An agile, flexible mindset effectively flows through the issues and can achieve wide-ranging objectives.
TIP #2: Speak Up
Get your voice heard with your ideas and let people know where you stand. Speaking up as soon as risks are identified is essential to the day-to-day management of a firm’s operations. When company leaders fosters a safe work culture (e.g. respect of everyone’s ideas and open feedback), creative ideas flourish which, in turn, brings forth a healthy dose of risk-taking, new possibilities and previously overlooked opportunities.
While safety and risk-taking appear to be two ends of the spectrum, Jennifer feels both are tied at the hip. Within her organization, Jennifer states, “Without trust, there is no safety; without safety, there is no space for newer team members to speak up and contribute.
With safety, you create an environment for people’s ideas to flourish, even if those ideas may become highly disruptive. Even if the idea fails, the experience gained will help in the future. Asking: What went wrong? What could I do better next time? What can I learn from this?
Undesirable outcomes can open doors for unexpected opportunities and even valuable life lessons.
At BioMicrobics, there is considerable exposure to political risks, cultural misunderstandings, economic fluctuations, and other entanglements. Jennifer said she is fortunate to work for BioMicrobics whose approach to remain open, driven and flexible speaks to its heavy emphasis on diversity, inclusion, and company growth.
Next to her Communications Studies Leadership Award in her office, she has a small brass plaque that says, “QUALITY…never an accident; Quality is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.”
TIP #3: Participate
Participate in or, if not available, set up cross-knowledge transfer sessions with your team. These activities are effective at building a team that works effectively together, as each participant has a better understanding of how everyone plays a role in the team and organization. Jennifer promotes a cross-team mindset by training coworkers on the same skills and tasks that she is responsible for. Doing so provides employees with promotion potential and advancement opportunities. She wouldn’t ask someone to do something that she herself wouldn’t do.
She is excited to come to work every day, as she feels she learns something new every day and she wants others to feel the same excitement she feels. Thanks to the vision of BioMicrobics’ founder, the company has expanded its operations, support programs, and product offerings all over the world. Her willingness to participate in international travel has afforded Jennifer many opportunities to grow on a personal level and in her career. Not only has visited 18 countries (thus far), she has gained a greater understanding of her distributors’ markets and able to support them better.
Through her travels, she has met the most amazing people in the Water industry. Many colleagues within the BioMicrobics network often visit her workplace for training and participate in corporate events. She states that while everyone comes from different backgrounds, the interaction creates unique perspectives. A big plus is that you often meet like-minded people and sometimes can make life-long friends to connect with on social media.
Bringing the Water Industry in Limelight Jennifer expressed her assurance and dedication to the company’s tag line: ‘Better Water. Better World.’ and the technologies to aid in efficient water management.
BioMicrobics has spent a quarter of a century in the water and wastewater treatment industry, manufacturing wastewater, greywater, recycling and water reuse treatment systems to provide solutions for small communities, commercial properties and decentralized homes. For the past 14 years, she continues to prove vital to the company’s growth by integrating Biomicrobics’ marketing efforts.
It is paramount that the company effectively communicates and educates to acquire a new target audience, the conscious consumer. This audience is highly active in social media and will engage to most with BioMicrobics Social Media presence by retweeting and sharing posts about BioMicrobics’ environmentally-focused content. Jennifer has helped develop a loyal fan base for the company on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, and even Pinterest (she is in the beginning stages of Tik Tok) transforming BioMicrobics into a transparent company.
Enlightening Upcoming Businesswomen
Advice she gives to emerging businesswomen, “Be patient when setting and working on your career goals; always assess where you want to contribute. Do not rush or stress over the details as this is where mistakes happen and deadlines are missed.”
Have a chance to sharpen yourself for the long term through clear intention and integrity, taking the time to reflect on the lessons learned and lending a helping hand along the way. Doing so will help support the organization and customers with confidence and a clear purpose.
Her final thoughts leaves us ready to reach new heights: “Besides being agile, speaking up, and participating, be committed to delivering excellence on every task you handle; even the early morning emails we send is a reflection of who we are and what we stand for. This same reflection is also shared through every daily interaction.”
“Lastly, find your passion, delegate, empathize, develop boundaries, exercise and drink plenty of water!