Name: Sarah Eccles
Hometown: Springfield, PA
Company: Aqua, an Essential Utility
Position: Manager Billing, Collection, and Cash Application
Length of time you have been with you company: 11 ½ years
Briefly describe your journey, noting both personal milestones and obstacles you may have faced along the way. I began my career at Aqua almost right out of college as a Customer Analyst. My degree from Bloomsburg University was in Finance and while I didn’t go directly into that field, I learned through my first job that I enjoyed working with data analytics and process improvements. As I advanced my career at Aqua, I was promoted to a supervisor role in Field Services, jumped over to Meter Operations and now I work in our Billing, Collections and Cash Application department. During that time, I went back to school to get my MBA at Penn State Great Valley. Moving across different departments over my career has helped me build my professional and personal network and allowed me to learn various aspects of the utility business.
How did you hear about LDC and why did you sign up to take part in it? I heard about LDC through co-workers that have gone through the program and speaking with leadership at Essential. After learning more about what was involved in the program, I was eager to participate to continue to grow my network and leadership skills.
What inspires you? How does that inspiration play into your professional life? I am inspired by learning and continuous improvement. I enjoy working with others to listen to their ideas and/or challenges and develop opportunities for improvement. It is rewarding to help others be able to be see the benefit from change and their participation to help implement it. I look forward to those interactions daily.
Briefly, describe a transformative moment that helped to shift your approach to your career. The most transformative moment is the time I left my comfort zone of my original department and move into a completely new role. This allowed me to grow as an individual and a leader. I learned through that career shift how much I enjoyed process improvements and helping others. That shift allowed me to get involved in many new areas of the company.
What leaders, thinkers or doers do you admire most? Why?I admire leaders who are supportive and positive. Often, we focus on negatives so I appreciate when leaders can recognize the good and provide valuable feedback to allows others around them to learn and grow.
What has been the most valuable professional advice and/or lesson you’ve received. As a young, new employee I received valuable advice that has carried with me through my career; consider your audience and who you are talking to. No matter what the size of the audience, show respect to those attending. Do not be afraid to ask questions. Even as a leader you are not expected to have all the answers, it is ok to ask to ask for help when needed.