Carolyn Berry, Educated About Opportunities
Since 1990, Carolyn Berry has held 14 different positions within Roper Corporation, a fully-owned subsidiary of GE Appliances (GEA) in LaFayette, GA. She began her career with the company working on the line as an assembly line operator and today is a Principle Lean Coach at Appliance Park in Louisville. While there’s no doubt that hard work propelled Carolyn along her career path, she also attributes GEA and Roper’s educational reimbursement program for her success. “If I had not gone back to college and received my degree, I would not have had the opportunities for advancement,” said Berry. “All the jobs for salary positions require a college education.” Berry used the educational reimbursement program to earn an Associates in Applied Science in Management and Supervisory Development, and a Bachelor of Science and an Executive Master’s in Business Administration.
When Berry began her career with Roper, she wanted to advance her career but wasn’t quite sure what she wanted to do. But she says the different jobs within Roper made her realized she enjoyed managing people and the assembly line. Managers along the way, such as Rhonda Beasley, encouraged her to use the educational reimbursement program to earn her degree so she could move into management roles and continue advancing her career.
“The educational reimbursement program has benefited me in numerous ways,” said Berry. “As a divorced young mother of two, there were times when I wondered if I would make it with enough groceries until the next paycheck. The program allowed me the opportunity to grow within the company and get my education without being in debt with student loans. If it weren’t for the educational program, I probably would not have obtained any or all the degrees, because I just could not afford it.”
Berry encourages a career in manufacturing and credits her time working on the assembly line to a more understanding management style. “I know when to be empathetic and when not to be,” she said. “People that have never experienced the assembly line sometimes have no clue what it is like and cannot relate to what an operator is going through. I also encourage people to improve themselves as I did and to take advantage of the educational reimbursement program.”
As an employee with three degrees gained with financial assistance through the company, Berry says she wished she wouldn’t have waited as long to start college. “Do not wait to go back to school,” she said “It does not matter if you do not know what you want to be when you grow up, go ahead and start core classes. Just do it!”