The parallels between woodworking and sales might not seem immediately obvious, but in speaking with Robin Muther, it is clear there are similarities. Robin describes herself as a functional designer. “I find great joy in repurposing items, understanding how they were put together in the first place, and re-designing them for their best purpose and use in the future. Similarly, I love figuring out how people are put together so I can coach them to get the best interaction between them and others.

“This ultimately helps them achieve their highest and best performance, personally and in their role at the company. The question is, ‘How do you modify your own interactions to get the best communication that leads to progress and healthy collaboration?’”

In a way, it’s not much different from working with wood – figuring out what technique you need to apply where and being creative enough to solve problems that bridge the gap from the past to the future. “I love the art of communication and collaboration and have always been a student of human psychology,” she comments. “I consider myself a communicator who seeks to understand first, and then find ways to connect groups and people. This is my secret to growing sales organizations and developing leaders.”

 

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Turning situations into skills

Many who meet her say that Robin is one of the most discerning people they’ve ever met. “I think that’s a good quality to have when trying to figure out how people work,” she says. Robin brought this discernment to her Senior Vice President of Global Sales and Revenue Operations role at Everest Group. Coming from a long and successful career in sales leadership at UPS, she entered the firm in January 2021 as VP for US Sales before progressing to her present role.

Robin’s passion for understanding people has likely powered her extensive career. She earned an operations management degree in industrial engineering and wasn’t initially looking to enter sales. Robin wanted to work at a large global company, and while she was a sophomore in college unloading trucks at UPS, she realized she was already at a great global company, just not in the role she wanted. It made sense for her to try and forge a career there. 

There were barriers to entry, however – and it was not because of her skill set. At that time, the attitude was that women didn’t work in industrial engineering. So, UPS placed Robin, like the few other women they employed at the time, into sales.

Robin soon realized that a sales role fit her better than crunching the numbers. “I like interacting with humans and figuring out what makes them work more than calculations and finding efficiencies,” she notes. From these beginnings, her career in sales skyrocketed, thriving due to her extensive perceptive and discerning social skills. Her ability to read people made her a master negotiator and leader. “I feel very thankful for the career I’ve had and the blessings that have come with it,” she says.  

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Becoming a successful female leader in the face of adversity

It was not always an easy road, as indicated by the limitations placed on her as a woman in a male-dominated sector. However, this challenge did not discourage Robin from establishing a strong career.

Robin was raised in a single-mom household with her two older sisters, as her mother worked in a male-dominated industry. She taught the girls that there were no differences between men and women in terms of abilities.

Therefore, Robin didn’t think anything about the fact she was often the only woman in the room at work. Yet, she knew she shouldn’t be the only woman. This mindset significantly benefited Robin because she never felt fear or intimidation in those spaces.

In hindsight, she can see some additional inequalities framed her experience. “There were injustices that I didn’t pick up on that I wish I could have tackled at the time,” she comments. “Aside from lacking access to equal pay and opportunities, women often feel like outsiders and are treated as such. There’s this club we don’t belong to, which can undermine a woman’s ability to bond with coworkers and be part of the team.”

Being in leadership over multiple decades and through many social/societal changes in our country, she now aims to challenge this feeling of “otherness” as a leader in her field. “As leaders, we must create an environment that supports women and avoids alienation. The feeling of not being ‘on the team’ or ‘part of the team’ can damage a woman’s confidence and trust in her teammates. This becomes a barrier to success. Not only that, but many women juggle life events that further increase the gap. If you already feel ‘out of the club,’ having a child or caring for elderly parents while pursuing a career can seem even more daunting.”

Fostering growth and equity through leadership and mentorship

Robin’s experiences have led her to develop a passion for helping others find their footing. “As a leader, I must be able to connect with each person differently to understand motivation, how they communicate and how they receive communication, to get the best out of their performance and development. At this point in my career, my true fulfillment comes from impacting and developing the next group of leaders to help them reach their personal goals and accelerate the company’s growth and journey,” she explains.

In particular, she wants to be a role model and a mentor for other women who want to be in leadership roles. Robin feels a drive to help others learn from her experiences. As her career accelerated and she progressed in sales leadership, the lack of women became even more prominent. As a result, she did not have a female mentor at work. Without someone understanding the same challenges she faced, it was harder to know how to fight inequalities and overcome obstacles, and she often felt lonely. At times, Robin sought support outside of work, which suffered from a lack of context-specific guidance.

Fast forward to today, Robin now works hard to ensure that women with leadership ambition can reach out to her. “I mentor women, and I try to let people know I am here to help, that I’m a safe place to go and can help women navigate the challenges. I had to do it independently; I want aspiring female leaders to be spared of the same difficulties I had.”

She is passionate about leveling the playing field for all to fulfill their potential. “The disparity between men and women in leadership positions in the world has to change, and in my mind, it only changes if we can get more women into leadership positions. We must break those barriers that prevent women from attaining the roles I’ve been fortunate to occupy.”

This learning, evolving attitude is one of the reasons Robin loves working at Everest Group. “I count my blessings every day I work here,” she says. “Everest Group truly has a fantastic culture of caring about their clients and their people, which drives a greater level of passion and commitment universally felt by everyone working here.”

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The future is bright!

Aside from the newest skill she’s taken to in her spare time – metalworking – she’s full of optimism for the future of Everest Group. “We have so much talent, innovative approaches, and agility – our differentiation in the market will continue to shine,” she says. “We prioritize keeping clients at the forefront of what we do, while we are ensuring our infrastructure and talent development will grow to match their needs.” 

“I have never seen a company evolve as quickly as we have over the past three years,” she comments. “How can you not be optimistic when you have a company with a unique value proposition full of passionate, hardworking, and brilliant people?”

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