2016 30 Under 35 Profile: Amaris Johnson

Amaris Johnson, 35

Amaris Johnson
Business development manager-GLDP, Eaton

By Joe Nowlan

Before her career brought her to Eaton and the electrical industry, Amaris Johnson had already worked for nearly 10 years at other Fortune 100 companies, including General Electric.

“In 2013, I sought to further my professional growth by completing my MBA from the University of Florida. Prior to coming to Eaton, I was not a part of the electrical industry at all. However, I worked in complementary businesses to the industry,” she said.

To leverage the additional skill sets acquired post-MBA, Amaris was looking ahead on a long-term career basis.

Her decision to accept the offer from Eaton was based on the career success of other UF alums working for the company and their passion for Eaton.

Amaris joined Eaton through the Global Leadership Development Program, a two-year rotational program created to develop Eaton’s future general managers and executives by providing challenging cross-functional assignments. Each year, hundreds of graduates from the country’s top MBA schools apply for one of 10 positions available.

“The appeal of the Global Leadership Development Program was the opportunity to explore other career areas and develop into a more holistic business professional,” she said.

Her first Eaton assignment was working as a business development manager supporting Southeast Electrical Sales. Amaris’s current assignment is in the Operational Excellence function, supporting products within Power Distribution Control Assemblies.

Amaris recognizes the positive impact mentors and professional sponsors have had on her academic and professional career. As a result, she finds the most enjoyment in being a mentor to students seeking careers or those that are recent grads just joining the workforce.

“Unfortunately, quite a few young professionals are coming into the workforce fresh out of college with very little to no internship or co-op experience. So this is their first real experience in the workplace,” she explained. “I enjoy helping new graduates become workplace savvy and gaining the business acumen and interpersonal skills not taught in the classroom.”

Amaris is a member of the Tennessee State University, College of Business Alumni Advisory Board, and her undergraduate alma mater. In 2016 she was selected to the University of Florida’s MBA Alumni Advisory Board.

“I am very excited about both opportunities. Both schools have given so much to me,” she explained.

In her spare time, Amaris is an avid tailgater at football games involving the Atlanta Falcons and University of Georgia Bulldogs. Earning a degree from Florida complicates things, though, as she now pulls for Florida when they are not playing Georgia.

Being both a Florida and Georgia fan is no mean trick, as both schools have a heated football rivalry. Coupled with the fact that she never missies key rivalry games and the annual homecoming activities for Tennessee State University, her fall schedule stays pretty busy.

“From February to late August, you can have anything you want from me on the weekend. But from August through February, not happening. I hate it when my friends get married during football season.” she laughed. “I am tailgating at football games. I’m a season-ticket holder for both the Falcons and Gators. So my travel schedule is pretty hectic on the weekends.”

Q. What advice do you have for other young professionals in the electrical industry?
A.  The fear of failure can sometimes be crippling when it comes to taking on new assignments, projects and opportunities.  When at a decision’s gates, ask yourself “What would you do if you could not fail?”  If you choose to not take a risk or pursue an opportunity, make sure your decision is not motivated by the fear of failure. Allow yourself to be guided based on passion, desire and not the fear of having limited success in a particular role or taking on a new project.

Learn from your experiences and your mistakes. People always joke that Thomas Edison did the light 1000 times before he got it right on the 1001 attempt.

Q. What motivational approach or tactic has been most effective for you in your career? That is, effective both for you personally and, if applicable, for those employees whom you manage?
A.  Focus on what you can control. I often have to remind peers and my team there will always be factors outside our scope of control that impact our business opportunities. Whether it’s the challenges of a housing crisis, oil and gas prices, or company mergers and acquisitions, these are all external factors that we have very little influence to change or impact. However, what we can control is our will to win and how we respond collectively to face these challenges.  There’s an old African proverb that says, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”  And sometimes you are faced with the challenge of having to go far — quickly.  So I am always reminding my peers and my teams to focus on what we can control and together we can go far.

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


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