Living For The Mission: Rocio Mendez, Industrial Engineer @ Tesla

In this episode, Hugo welcomes Rocio Mendez, a Mexican American industrial engineer at Tesla. Rocio was fascinated by engineering early on and earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees in Industrial Engineering from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. #GoMustangs! Rocio shares her journey from her first job at Covidien, a medical device company that was acquired by Medtronic in 2015, to her current role at Tesla as an Industrial Engineering Manager. Join in as they talk about the Tesla culture, the importance of building relationships with cross functional teams, the challenge of being a woman in manufacturing engineering and what it’s like to work with Elon.

Show notes:

* 01:15 – Welcoming Rocio Mendez* 02:16 – About Rocio* 06:17 – What it is like working in an operations team* 08:06 – How Rocio got to Tesla: First time at the factory floor* 12:33 – What makes Tesla a great choice for an industrial or mechanical engineer * 15:30 – Rocio’s day to day, previous role and how she got prepared to do what she is doing now at Tesla* 21:32 – Strategies Rocio uses when developing her team* 25:30 – Meeting and working with Elon Musk* 27:53 – The Mission; Rocio’s favorite part of working at Tesla* 30:33 – Challenge of being a woman in a manufacturing environment* 34:13 – Rocio’s feeling about engineering mentality leading into personal life* 43:11 – Rocio’s parting words to latinos in STEM

Key Takeaways:

* “Coming down to common ground with people who have different mindsets is very important in any management”* “Important to market yourself and tell people what you are all about” * “Manufacturing experience is a plus when looking for a job at Tesla”* “To be an engineer you have to be on the sharp floor to understand what it is all about”* Need to be aligned in order to go the same direction; building relationships with cross functional teams* “What do you need from me, and what do I need from you”* Be straightforward when something is not working out right to find a solution* “You need to be empathetic to be a leader”* Having a mentor during your career is important when taking on new roles

Mentioned resources:

* Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future – Book recommended by Rocio* XCase CD Comic – webcomic designed by Randall Munroe’s, a physics that worked in Nasa* Cal Poly – University where Rocio finished her masters degree

Connect with her via linkedin:

* Rocio Mendez

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