How innovation thrives through openness at Koch

Lori Chennault, vice president, IT, consumer products group at Georgia-Pacific and Mayra Ocampo, art director at Koch Communications Marketing, share their perspectives on how Koch's culture contributes to fulfillment

March 8, 2019

min read

When it comes to finding fulfillment with your career, there’s no one direct path. Nobody’s perfect, and everybody’s got something to add.

Though we work in different fields and in different cities—Lori in IT in Atlanta and Mayra in communications in Wichita—we both value the openness and different perspectives that help us drive innovation and create more value for society across Koch companies. We recently shared advice with attendees at separate panels during this month’s Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit in Las Vegas, where we also met many other inspiring women who are breaking down barriers in their own workplaces.

This is what we've learned as we've grown at Koch companies—and what we discussed:

Your values and your beliefs are your guardrails

It's important to know your value within a company and to continuously improve. Find something you're passionate about and let your passion drive success. 

Focus on skill development—not titles

At Koch, we don't just fill roles. We're looking for the right people who have the right values, and who can keep growing. We see it as a series of questions: What are your skills? What are your capabilities? What can you contribute? And how can we define a role that fits you?

Don't focus on "moving up" within a company; focus on growing your toolbox. Improve your strengths and address your weaknesses. Take some risk and be passionate about learning to grow. When you step out to take risk, do it with what’s in your toolbox. Find things that play to your strengths. If you’re in a role in which you can leverage those strengths, you will create value. 

Root yourself

Surround yourself with people who inspire growth and improvement, especially in your daily role. Aligning yourself with a company that not only matches your values but also helps you grow into your own. We work for a company that values diversity of all kinds—everyone brings something to the table that makes us better. 

Always be around those people who will challenge you and help you improve. Challenge isn't just a buzzword or a slogan here; it's truly how we improve and find better, more efficient, more thoughtful ways to create value. 

It's OK to change course

Change is inevitable. It's always good to have a dose of humility and be able to look in the mirror. 

This happens through feedback—reflecting on our decisions and seeking feedback from others. Nobody knows everything, and nobody is perfect.

Look for mutual benefit in everything you do

No matter what you're doing, you must remember why you're doing it, what drives you. If you can answer that for yourself, you will be better able to help others realize their potential and grow your contribution.

Don't worry about things you cannot control. Spend time on things you can change, and you'll change the world.

 

Watch Lori's full panel here: WoMan Up!: An Honest Conversation About Gender in the Workplace

Watch Mayra's full panel here: They Got Now: What it Takes to Level Up Early