People

2014 30 Under 35 Profile: Brit Buchanan

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Brit Buchanan
25
Marketing Manager, Thomas & Betts

By Joe Nowlan

Brit Buchanan was working for a Memphis, Tenn., area HVAC contractor in 2012 when she received a call from Thomas & Betts, inviting her in for an interview for a marketing position.

“They actually found me on LinkedIn. At the time, I had never heard of Thomas & Betts. But I was ready for a change, something bigger,” Buchanan said.

She’s the first to admit she didn’t exactly study up on the company before her interview.

“I probably should not have landed the job because I was very unprepared [for the interview]…lesson learned,” she laughed. “But I guess they saw something in me that I’m still not aware of. They hired me and I came on.”

Once she arrived at Thomas & Betts and realized the complexity of the industry, her eyes were opened.

“After meeting the product line managers and the engineers, and hearing the way they described their products and the different markets, there was such enthusiasm and passion from them,” she said. “That’s probably what attracted me to it. Also, the fact that you can learn so many new things every single day. It never gets boring.”

Buchanan graduated from the University of Memphis in 2011. Her very first job out of college was with that HVAC contractor.

“In that role, I really came on as a marketing assistant and quickly progressed. I helped create their social media efforts and other administrative duties,” she explained.

She soon progressed into creating collateral for the sales people and developing sales incentive programs. Buchanan was able to work somewhat independently there, which helped when she arrived at Thomas & Betts.

“I soon realized I was going to be managing social media,” she said. “I did work on it for about three months and it was probably one of the hardest things I have done….”

Before long, the skeptics began to see the potential in Twitter, Facebook and other social media.

“The word is coming to you with technology and media. Everything is online…. [Social media] is easy to figure out if you actually take the time to learn it,” Buchanan said.

From there, she assumed more marketing responsibilities and recently was the project lead for a major product launch.

“It was an extremely successful launch,” Buchanan explained. “The biggest launch that ABB [Thomas & Betts’ parent company] had ever done in North America…. [Initially] I thought, ‘My gosh, I’m not going to be able to pull this off.’ But I pulled the team together and we got it done.”

Buchanan was born and raised in Memphis. She enjoys anything outdoors—especially hiking and biking.

“I love to travel, so anytime I have the opportunity I take advantage of it,” Buchanan said. “If I travel for work to a place where there are new adventures to be had, I’ll spend a weekend there.

Like many in this 30 Under 35 series, Buchanan also has a contagious enthusiasm for her work.

“It definitely keeps me on my toes because I know that it’s not going to be the same thing every single day,” she said.

Q. What advice would you have for other young professionals in the electrical industry?

A. My advice is to never discredit the older generation’s way of thinking. I’m sure they have faced the same issues and come up with solutions all throughout their careers that we are challenged with every single day. [Remember] the old saying, “Don’t reinvent the wheel.” They may have an easier, quicker solution instead of you spending five hours trying to figure out something. I know they enjoy and appreciate it when we come to them for advice.

However, don’t let the “We’ve always done it this way” kind of thinking hinder any creative or innovative way of new thinking. Always bring the fresh ideas to the table and don’t be afraid to promote them.

Q. You’re one of the youngest people to be recognized this year. Do you ever run into difficulty commanding respect in the company? If so, how do you manage that?

A. It is a challenge to take control and let people know that I can hold my own; and that I have great ideas to contribute and they just need to trust me.

I manage it one day at a time. I take any opportunity that I can to be in the spotlight and sometimes it is risky. But if you ever want to get to that next level, you have to be exposed. Sometimes it is for the good. Sometimes it is for the bad. Hopefully from the bad, though, you are learning.

Joe Nowlan is a Boston-based freelance writer/editor and author. He can be reached at jcnowlan@msn.com.

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