Episode 29

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Published on:

21st Jun 2023

29: What It Means To Be a Woman in Science - with Nicki Vo

Meet Nicki Vo:

Nikki is an accomplished innovation leader with over 17 years in the chemical industry. She has held various roles as an individual contributor, manager, and senior executive leader. She holds a BS in chemistry from UW Whitewater, an MS in chemistry from UW Madison, and Executive MBA from our IT, which is consistently ranked as a top 10 school by US News and World Report. I didn't know Alrighty, so that's good to know. So, in 2018, she was named top 40 nationwide MBA students by poets and quants. So this woman is incredible and really smart and we're so happy to have her here. With the companies, she has worked for. She has developed a unique way of managing scientists that have helped the team she has led into being high performance, developing novel innovations. receiving multiple recognitions. Nikki is the founder and president of Knievel, she founded this company to help develop cultures of Innovation Excellence by teaching companies and scientists, the technical and professional skills that would help them reach their highest potential, and essentially, to innovate row in Excel. 

Erin: What advice do you have for other women in science?


Nicki: I think the biggest thing, which has helped me is having a frame of reference so as peanut Christina was saying, you know, now that we have more work talking about more, and we could see other women who have led this journey for us, we can start to see like oh, okay, since she has done it, You can do it well. So it is for me, I think. And one of the things that I love, what I do is, when I see other females who are either demotivated, they've lost them, their passion they're in the ignition is to, to talk to other females who may either have already done it or are successful, and try to understand from their journey, what did they do? How are they successful, what worked, what didn't work? And once we can get those frames of references, we can start filtering them and say, Ah, okay, so she tried this. And that worked. So maybe I could do the same. I could try it and see what works. And so I encourage women and all sorts of people to find frames of reference, and talk to other people and learn about their journey, what worked, what didn't work, but also read and watch movies. I think those are all great ways to give us the inspiration to help us move forward.


Erin:  Anything else that you would like to share with us about being a woman in the sciences, and what your takeaway is for the state of the state right now?


Nicki: I still feel there is room to grow but I do feel we have progressed quite a bit. And where I feel we've progressed more and more is we are taking a little bit more and how our personal, emotional, and mental state has a lot to do with how we perform in life. And this is something I highly encourage a lot of people to do is to get to know who we are as people, what are our strengths, and what are our values, and once we can understand that, then we can take that and do just a whole host of insurmountable things. So Well, I still think that there are a lot of areas for us to get into and grow and, and still progress. Progress as a society, I do feel that compared to 20 years ago, we are talking about it more, we're embracing, you know, the vulnerability side of things. And we're taking time to think through who we are as people. And rather than subscribing to the patterns that society or our environments tell us that we need to follow, we are starting to think through well, does this pattern fit me? And if not, how should I rewrite this pattern? And I think there's more and more, more and more people talking about it and embracing that. And I think that's, that's cool because there are so many great things we can do once we get to know who we are as people.


Kris: So Nicki, we're curious, is there something unique about you that nobody else knows that you could share with us?


Nicki: Yeah. So it's funny because when I meet people for whatever reason, they think this serious, stoic, always playing-by-the-rules type of person. So for example, in my, my MBA curriculum, my cohort, called me Miss TCB, which was nicknamed Miss taking care of Business. But what they don't realize is there's a mischievous and spontaneous streak about me that when I get into the right environment, I will do that. So for example, growing up on a farm, I saw all these adults taking this what looks like a rolled up paper, and inside it was like stuffed grass, or what it looked like stuffed grass, and then they would, they would light it up. And I was curious because they were blowing up rings, the smoke and they were just laughing and giggling and I was just like, that is so cool. I don't want to do that. And so I asked to try and they looked at me and like oh no, no little girl you can't try this. So again, the error is me being curious and I want to try it and it was a challenge for me. I thought maybe I should just go and make my own. So I went to my mom's you know, garden and I took her garden hose and I started stuffing it with grass clippings that we came up with a lot more and I just lit it up. 



And so much more… 



Connect with Nicki Vo!

Connect on LinkedIn

http://www.nivo-innovate.com/




Connect with the broads!


Connect with Erin on LinkedIn and visit http://www.earthlinginteractive.com for web-based solutions to your complex business problems!


Connect with Lori on LinkedIn and visit www.keystoneclick.com for your strategic digital marketing needs!  


Connect with Kris on LinkedIn and visit www.genalpha.com for OEM and aftermarket digital solutions!

Transcript
Lori Highby:

All right, my broads, my lady friends. This past weekend, I went to the Chicago Institute of Art because there was a dolly and a Monet.

Lori Highby:

let's just Museum is the word talk about

Erin:

is just museum. And first, I have a question for you, though. So I've only ever seen Dolly? Pictures, either like in a poster, you know, in

Lori Highby:

is super, super mind blowing? I'd say a lot of his pieces are a lot larger than I thought they would be. And he's very intricate and

Lori Highby:

fascinating. If you can go do it. It is so worth checking it out.

Erin:

Yeah, that's Hmm, that's interesting, because you know, in the college context, it's just like, Oh, it's a melting clock. Literally, he

Erin:

dorky. I'm supposed to just be like enjoying the art for what it is. And it's the best and I would recommend it to anybody. If you've never done

Kris:

Good to know, good to know. Well, I have to confess I don't know who Dali is. I'm not very artsy. fartsy. Simple Data is my art. I go to parks

Erin:

I do remember you went to the the Bucyrus Museum?

Kris:

Oh, that's true. I'm gonna be there this weekend. Yes, I am a docent at the Bucyrus. museum.

Erin:

Museum nerd, you don't go like full museum unless you're a docent. Yeah,

Kris:

that is really fun for me, because I

Lori Highby:

challenge you, I want you to experience art or some sort of museum that you would not typically go to and just experience that.

Kris:

Okay, I'm gonna do it. And then I'm going to report. Okay, hold me accountable here. keep me accountable. Yeah.

Erin:

You got some good stuff in Milwaukee, that Calatrava is just so I love it. You'll you'll have a good time. You'll have no pressure.

Kris:

I haven't been there. But oh, yeah, I've gone but

Erin:

okay. All right. Do you think our guests would like to join us today? Oh, yeah. I'm

Kris:

so happy to introduce Nikki Vo. Let me give you a little bit about her background here. So Nikki, is an accomplished innovation leader with

Kris:

know. So, in 2018, she was named top 40 of nationwide MBA students by poets and quants. So this woman is incredible and really smart and we're so happy

Kris:

teaching companies and scientists, the technical and professional skills that would help them reach their highest potential, and essentially, to

Erin:

Wow. Yeah, this is awesome.

Unknown:

Thank you so much. If you could just sum it up in just two words. It's professional nerd.

Kris:

Yes, another one.

Unknown:

Yeah. And I had to jump in on the museum part. I think if anybody could, I would definitely try to go to London and visit their museums.

Kris:

Oh, well, that's

Erin:

exactly how it should be. I love it.

Unknown:

But I did get to see the British Museum and they had the Rosetta Stone as well as Egyptian sarcophagus. So it's amazing. If you can get a

Erin:

awesome. Thank you. Thank you. I have some friends that just recently went and they were also just blown away. And what a great experience it

Unknown:

well, thank you so much. I'm excited and honored to be here.

Kris:

Well, we are just as honored to have you. And, you know, it's interesting, because we do talk a lot about how, you know, women in

Unknown:

Yeah, thank you so much. If I could look back into my life, there were three distinct times where I was very much so challenged being a

Unknown:

children, be quiet and docile, and make sure that her husband is happy and never outshining him. They, he and his family were in for a very, very

Lori Highby:

Amen, sister.

Unknown:

Also, I'm a very outspoken Aries. And if you don't know anything about Aries, we are stubborn, and we are pioneers, and we are just

Erin:

Oh, wow. And you just needed to do it. You just had to do it. Because you're like, you're a nerd down to the deepest depths of yours. He was

Kris:

do it. Sometimes you come to the world, you have to fulfill your purpose. And if that's part of it, you got to go after it.

Unknown:

Absolutely. And And little did I know that that particular event would trigger this passion to really find what my purpose is, as well as

Erin:

That's so cool. Okay, so that was one I got to hear the other because that was a biggie. So what were the other two?

Unknown:

So the second and I don't know if things have changed, but this was, you know, 15 years ago, maybe 20 years ago, I was in a high level math

Unknown:

exam, nor get, you know, even in a in in the exam. So I was like Game On, I'm up for this. How did you do it? How did you do? Well, I handed in my

Lori Highby:

Wow.

Erin:

Yes, when ladies hero jerky professor

Unknown:

so I think he was he was caught up by surprise because he didn't think any women can actually do Oh,

Erin:

that was really that's awesome way to go. I'm just feeling oh, I get chills I'm so inspired. Yeah, that's great. And then

Unknown:

the third was when I was in graduate school, I was applying for a spot in a chemical research chemical engineering research group. And the

Erin:

So I was

Unknown:

I was floored because I had all A's in high honors math and chemistry courses. So I could do what he was asking me to do. So I was a

Unknown:

thanked him for his time, and I walked away.

Erin:

Wow, that is, oh, all three of those together just creates just story arc of your development, as an intellectual, as a woman as an adult. And

Lori Highby:

I just am curious if that negative energy turned into like, positive motivation for you?

Unknown:

Oh, my gosh, I love it. Because I definitely want to touch about touch base on energy, because it is a central theme that I that I try to

Lori Highby:

that I love.

Kris:

Yeah. I'm also curious, because there's such a focus today on women in STEM, or girls in STEM. And there, there has been a change in the

Unknown:

I have definitely seen in the past decade, if not a little longer, more and more people talking about, you know, why women are very, very

Lori Highby:

thinking about the movie and the book. Hidden Figures. Right. Yeah. Talking like, yeah, I love those

Kris:

stories are so powerful. Yeah. And Nikki certainly has one here. So totally.

Erin:

I'd love to hear about like, somebody that that recognized your genius and recognize your strengths in what an influence those positive

Unknown:

Yeah, thank you for asking. I think the biggest thing, which has helped me is having a frame of reference so as peanut Christina was saying,

Unknown:

they're in the ignition is to, to really talk to other females who may either have already done it or are successful, and try to understand from

Unknown:

references, and talk to other people learn about their journey, what worked, what didn't work, but also read and watch movies. I think those are

Erin:

Yeah. Great advice. Great advice. Anything else that you would like to share with us about being a woman in the sciences, and what your

Unknown:

I still feel there is room to grow I but I do feel we have progressed quite a bit. And where I feel we've progressed more and more is

Unknown:

a whole host of insurmountable things. So Well, I still think that there is a lot of areas for us to get into and grow and, and still progress.

Unknown:

through well, does this pattern fit me? And if not, how should I rewrite this pattern? And I think there's more and more, more and more people

Erin:

That is awesome. Thank you.

Lori Highby:

Yes. Go ahead. Laurie, how you go you go.

Kris:

I was just gonna ask you, Nick, if you could share something interesting that people might might not know about you. with it?

Unknown:

Yeah. So it's funny, because when I meet people for whatever reason, they think and this serious, stoic, always playing by the rules

Unknown:

taking this this what looks like a rolled up paper, and inside it was like stuffed grass, or what it looked like stuffed grass, and then they would,

Unknown:

challenge for me. I thought maybe I should just go and make my own. So I went I went to my mom's you know, garden and I took her garden hose and I

Lori Highby:

Oh

Kris:

like a bunch childhood

Unknown:

growing up now, even now, it you know, for our international trip for the NBA. The last night we were there as they Okay, I'm gonna prove to

Erin:

there's that kind of uses to that needs to be attended to still taking care of business. You have great stories. i It's such a pleasure

Kris:

I love it, too. So, should we move into our next section? Yes. Doing Oh, all right. So this one of course is our I just learned that So Aaron,

Erin:

Yes. Well, yesterday I was chatting with some ladies and we were talking about rhubarb. You know, the, the plant that can make delicious

Erin:

spinach. And you know, when you eat like raw spinach, that weird feeling you get like this feels kind of fuzzy. Apparently, rhubarb will do that for

Lori Highby:

I said, Chris, just good for you.

Erin:

It is but not too much. Because I mean, on the early side, you're talking laxative a little bit further down the road? Not good. Now. So

Kris:

I had a lot of spillage. I don't know.

Erin:

It would take a time. Yeah, yeah. What about you? What are you going to share?

Unknown:

Well,

Kris:

we got bees again, for the farm. I don't know if I mentioned that. One of our episodes, and something I just learned is that bees will sting

Kris:

garden the other day with the bees feeding them. And she didn't have her, you know, full wardrobe on so she gets rebased things. And that just

Erin:

Just that little bee that gets stung. Does it swell up big?

Kris:

I didn't check further. What happens to that other? Yeah, okay. They don't have a long life. You know, most of them there. It's 30 days or less.

Lori Highby:

Can you guess I want to talk about I hope.

Erin:

We don't talk about that.

Lori Highby:

I'm just so fascinated by this topic. So I mentioned this conference I just went to and it's for the marketing agency world. But I

Lori Highby:

foremost, any content that is produced by AI is actually its fair use content meaning you do not own the right access to it just never can. Mm

Lori Highby:

that we're going to start doing as a means to protect ourselves and our clients, and this is something that I'm sharing so that everyone is in the

Lori Highby:

content is, so you have more of like, here's the process and so that if there is for some reason down the road, any sort of like copyright

Lori Highby:

the technology is moving faster than business knows how to use it. And then just as historically, I mean, the law around right, it is like way slower.

Kris:

The documenting of it sounds like that could be a big process. You know, depending on if you're feeding in a lot of prompts, which I know when

Lori Highby:

Yeah, I don't know the answer that question. I was wondering the same thing. I know that like the thread is in there, but we don't know

Kris:

yeah. Yeah, right.

Lori Highby:

So how do we, you know, I don't know if we can do like a print screen that just prints the whole page and as a PDF, you know, or something

Kris:

Okay,

Erin:

thank you valuable. Yeah. Thanks. Thanks,

Kris:

Nikki, what have you just learned?

Unknown:

Yeah, so I just came back about a couple weeks ago from a spring break trip down to Florida. And we decided at the very last of the day to

Unknown:

learned which was very, very interesting is that the crocodile is more southern in terms of its habitat than the alligator and even though the

Lori Highby:

I love I just got to what you just said just speaks to everything you talked about earlier before you don't have to be the biggest

Erin:

Yeah, so yes. Be the alligator.

Unknown:

Hashtag Be the alligator

Erin:

tattoos. Kevin, thank you so much. That was a good re ending. Today was a good learning day. Yes. Today Yeah, good stuff from all over the

Kris:

So for all those that want to connect with you after this, Nikki, where, where do they go to find you?

Unknown:

Yeah, thank you, Christina, I can be found on LinkedIn at Nikki VO, you can also find me on my website and evil dash innovate.com. And then

Unknown:

and show the world what those strings and values are and helping every person to really be get reached their highest potential.

Kris:

Oh, that's awesome. Yeah, to get back on the show after the book is Oh, for sure. We'll promote it here to tell us all about it. Yeah, yeah.

Unknown:

Thank you. Yeah, someone, someone very wise that I had just met recently told me just share my story. And I was so inspired by that, that I

Lori Highby:

You just gave us a little teaser today. So we appreciate that.

Erin:

It's good. Good stuff. Yes. All right. Yeah.

Lori Highby:

This is three broads wrapping up. Please reach out. We definitely want to hear from you.

Show artwork for a BROADcast for Manufacturers

About the Podcast

a BROADcast for Manufacturers
The purpose of this show is to share knowledge, have fun and bring diverse, yet important topics in the manufacturing space to the forefront.
Three BROADS (Lori Highby, Kris Harrington, and Erin Courtenay) bringing you stories and strategies exploring manufacturing topics that challenge the status quo while laying the foundations for future success.

Together with special guests they’ll celebrate what’s working and unpack what is not so YOU can learn, grow, and succeed.

The hosts are a BROADcast for Manufacturers are:
Kris Harrington | President and COO of GenAlpha Technologies | linkedin.com/in/kristinaharrington
Kris Harrington is the President and COO for GenAlpha Technologies. During her time with OEMs in the mining industry, Kris and the other founders of GenAlpha saw a need to find a better way for B2B manufacturers to do business. This led to the development of Equip360, an eCommerce, eCatalog and Analytics solution for manufacturers and distributors who want to grow their business online.

Erin Courtenay | VP of Digital Services at Earthling Interactive | linkedin.com/in/erincourtenay
Erin Courtenay is VP of Digital Services at Earthling Interactive. Erin loves watching programmers work their magic, opening up the possibilities of the internet to small and medium businesses with powerful websites and custom software. Calling herself a “digital empathy practitioner”, Erin is determined to help clients move thoughtfully and compassionately into their digital future.

Lori Highby | Founder & CEO @ Keystone Click | linkedin.com/in/lorihighby
Lori Highby is a podcast host, speaker, educator, and founder of Keystone Click, a strategic digital marketing agency. Using her vast multi-industry knowledge – gained from experience and education, She has the ability to see the potential of greatness within the already established good of a business. Through strategic actionable moves, she has worked with Fortune 500 companies to micro-business owners, to achieve their marketing goals.

About your hosts

Lori Highby

Profile picture for Lori Highby
Lori Highby is a podcast host, speaker, educator, and founder of Keystone Click, a strategic digital marketing agency. Using her vast multi-industry knowledge – gained from experience and education, She has the ability to see the potential of greatness within the already established good of a business. Through strategic actionable moves, she has worked with Fortune 500 companies to micro-business owners, to achieve their marketing goals.

Kristina Harrington

Profile picture for Kristina Harrington
Kris Harrington is the President and Chief Operations Officer for GenAlpha Technologies. Kris joined GenAlpha in March of 2013 with the purpose to help B2B manufacturer’s grow revenue by implementing technologies that make it easier to do business.

Combined with the strength of her team, Kris is accountable for establishing customer relationships and engaging manufacturers in B2B commerce solutions that bring value to their organization and the customers they serve. Her discussions with manufacturing leaders tend to move into three different categories:

– Assessing the business for digital commerce readiness
– Finding ways to re-energize the sales channel by focusing on the customer experience
– Increasing options for managing the dealer vs direct sales strategy

Prior to joining GenAlpha, Kris worked for more than ten years in leadership positions with two large multinational manufacturing companies, Bucyrus International and Caterpillar, supporting the mining industry. In her various positions she had a responsibility to work with internal stakeholders, dealers, and customers to deliver business results both in aftermarket and equipment sales.

Erin Courtenay

Profile picture for Erin Courtenay
Erin Courtenay is VP of Digital Services at Earthling Interactive. Erin loves watching programmers work their magic, opening up the possibilities of the internet to small and medium businesses with powerful websites and custom software. Calling herself a “digital empathy practitioner”, Erin is determined to help clients move thoughtfully and compassionately into their digital future.