In celebration of Women’s History Month 2021, we are highlighting alumni 5 years out from LGO! Jackee Mohl, LGO ’16, and Amy Gobel, LGO ’17, reflect on their time at MIT as well as the skills and networks they built while pursuing their dual degrees.
Why did you decide on attending MIT LGO?
Amy: For as long as I have had a career goal, I have wanted to make a positive impact on the environment. My pre-LGO work experience in hazardous waste remediation led me to focus on how I can find win-win opportunities within industry that can help manufacturing companies create more sustainable products, develop more efficient processes, and effectively manage risks. I knew as I was thinking about my next steps that I would need a strong business toolkit as well as a deep understanding of operations to make an impact. The LGO program offered exactly the toolkit I was looking for. But it also offered more than that – as I got to know the community of current students during the application process, I was continuously surprised and delighted to encounter people with similar interests but with an extraordinary range of backgrounds. The program offerings got me to apply; and the feeling of community got me to accept.
How were you able to engage with communities of women at MIT and LGO?
Amy: The women in my class were an important support system during my time in LGO. We organized frequent events – book club meetings, wine & cheese nights, holiday cookie exchanges – that helped us create a sense of community outside the classroom. I also valued the connections I made in the broader Sloan community, particularly with the women I met over the course of my Sustainability Certificate. I chose all-women teams for my S-Lab project and a sustainability case competition, and I valued the chance to work with and learn from these thoughtful, values-driven female leaders.
Jackee: During my time at LGO, I was able to be a part of Sloan Women in Management (SWIM) and represent LGO on the Dean’s Task Force for Gender Diversity, where we worked with students and administrative teams to increase gender diversity in recruiting applicants for Sloan and LGO. In addition, the group of LGO women in my class were and continue to be some of the closest relationships I formed during my time in graduate school. I genuinely appreciate being inspired, supported and motivated by my female classmates during school and continuing in the 5 years since graduation. There is so much value in this support network sharing our experiences as leaders and the challenges that come with those roles across multiple industries. Being able to connect with LGO alumna specifically at Boeing has been a tremendous benefit as I navigate my career through the company.
What was the most valuable takeaway from MIT that has helped in your career post-LGO?
Amy: I came into the LGO program with substantial Imposter Syndrome. Even knowing how common that feeling is didn’t alleviate the symptoms. But through the program, I gained both a framework to evaluate complex operations challenges and also plenty of experience applying this framework in the real world. The time with LGO gave me both the practical skills to be able to address important problems and the confidence to know that I can add value.
What do you enjoy most about the work you do?
Jackee: What I enjoy most about my work is being able to develop and mentor talent at Boeing. I have been fortunate to work with great team members across multiple functions, as I’ve moved through many roles at Boeing by leveraging the LGO playbook. I now enjoy using the network of people and experiences I have built to connect talent with potential opportunities for growth. I am particularly passionate about mentoring women in engineering, operations and program management to ensure greater diversity of leadership. My hope for the future is that we can provide more opportunities for diverse talent in operational leadership and I am encouraged by the macro steps that I see Boeing and other companies taking to ensure that.
Amy: I enjoy the chance to operate at many different levels of zoom. I get to dive into the details of a problem, and I can pull back to understand the strategic context for this problem. And I can repeat this process both for the technical dimension and the people/culture dimensions.
What are your hopes for diversity in LGO and in industry?
Amy: Prejudice in our community creates unnecessary friction for good people and good ideas. It slows people down and turns their forward momentum into so much waste heat. In the spirit of Lean manufacturing, we should all want to eliminate that waste. I hope that we as an LGO community continue to make good on the title and lead industry to a place where people can fulfill their full potential as their full selves.
Do you have any advice for prospective LGOs?
Jackee: I’d advise prospective LGOs to take advantage of everything that the full school has to offer. It’s super easy to get involved with clubs and programs on campus, across both MIT and Sloan. LGO is uniquely positioned to be able to make the most of relationships at both the engineering and business schools. Because of this, there is a wealth of experiences available to the students. By rounding out your education with varied extracurricular activities, you are able to grow the diversity of your connections and set yourself up for greater success when taking on leadership roles as you graduate.