People

2017 30 Under 35 Profile: Anne Kayla

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Anne Kayla, 26

Anne Kayla
26
Associate Product Manager-Flood Lighting; Hubbell Lighting

 

Anne Kayla was attending Clemson University, studying industrial engineering, when she first noticed Hubbell Lighting. Actually she noticed what she describes as its “beautiful campus in Greenville, South Carolina,” when she’d drive past it.

She didn’t know what it was or what exactly Hubbell did, but she kept it in mind when she began looking for internships.

“When it came time for me to apply for internships in the summer, I looked up what this campus was and what they did,” Anne said. “I had no idea that lighting was as big a deal as it is. So I thought I would give it a try.”

She soon realized lighting and Hubbell was ideal for what she wanted in a potential career.

“I absolutely loved it. In fact I didn’t apply to work anywhere else after I graduated. I knew I wanted to work at Hubbell,” she said.

While Anne didn’t use her industrial engineering degree initially, she explained that much of what she studied at Clemson was nevertheless applicable to her new position.

“In engineering, more than anything else they teach you how to identify solutions to problems,” she explained. “And it was that problem solving and the thought process that I got to use a lot.”

That, coupled with helpful Hubbell employees and mentors, enabled Anne to adapt to lighting and her new professional environment.

“I had people around me who were able to teach me and they did a great job by taking time away from their projects to really invest in me to bring me up to speed and help me to thrive in that position,” she said.

Like many new to the overall electrical industry, Anne was struck by how large and vast the industry was.

“I had no idea how many different types of light fixtures there were,” Anne said. “And also people’s passion for it. I was surrounded by people who were extremely passionate about what lighting can achieve in someone’s daily life.”

Early in her Hubbell career, Anne was in a teaching position with the company’s lighting solutions center, a challenging but rewarding task, she explained.

“I was told that it was going to be like drinking from a fire hose,” she laughed. “And it definitely was. At first it was long nights studying to make sure that I was up to date and that I knew what I was talking about.”

In 2017 Anne was promoted to be associated product manager for flood lighting.

“I get to analyze the market, talk to our customers about the problems they are facing and propose the products Hubbell should develop to create unique solutions within the categories I’m responsible for,” she explained.

In her spare time, she likes to perform in theatrical productions. A longtime singer and dancer, she has recently performed in productions of Mary Poppins and The Producers.

“In sixth grade I got into musicals and plays,” she said. “I still do them in my spare time. I don’t take on many big roles just because of the time commitment. But there is a lot of great local theater in Greenville and I really enjoy participating in that.”

 

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

A. My advice is to do things that you are scared of. I fully believe that if you put yourself out there and try something that you are not necessarily comfortable doing, it is much more accepted if you don’t succeed the first or second time.

It’s the fear that I think a lot of people have that can hold them back. The way to fight that is by finding someone you trust in; a good person to back you up, a good mentor. The person who is my mentor now [Chris Bailey, a former “30 under 35” honoree] was actually one of my first bosses here. He could tell when I started in the position that I was very hesitant. He told me to go for it and if I was going down the wrong road, he would try to redirect me. So he basically said to go and if I ran into a roadblock he’d help me get around it. He wanted me to try.

Q. Why are you so passionate about the electrical industry?

A. Lighting is a unique industry. I think it lends well to my background and my way of thinking because it is a mix of art and science. As I mentioned, I love theater and I love dance and performing. But then I also studied engineering. So I love that creative yet scientific combination that results in lighting.

Another reason I’m passionate about it is the fact that lighting is everywhere. It is ubiquitous. It gives us a huge opportunity to do more with it than just produce light. That’s where a lot of the new controls are coming in. Lighting is everywhere that people are. So what else do people need? What other problems can we solve by incorporating other elements into the light fixtures that we’re already used to?

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

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