The Power of Saying Yes: A Conversation with Joanna Cooper, General Manager of Daimler Truck North America

#podcast podcast May 30, 2024

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How can saying “yes” to opportunities shape our success? For Joanna Cooper, General Manager of Daimler Truck North America, and Treasurer for Women in Manufacturing, success has been a story of resilience, adaptability, and the courage to say yes to new opportunities.

In this episode of Dominate Your Day, Joanna shared insights from her remarkable career trajectory, reflecting on her journey from a finance graduate with dreams of entrepreneurship to a seasoned leader overseeing a team of 2,000 employees. Her story is one of unexpected turns, bold decisions, and the transformative power of embracing change.

"I did not set out to be in manufacturing," Joanna admits, reflecting on her early career aspirations. "Honestly, when I graduated from college, I had a finance degree. I wanted to be an entrepreneur and was looking for opportunities to say yes."

Joanna's journey into manufacturing began with a serendipitous encounter—an unexpected job offer from Detroit Diesel that led her to discover her passion for the industry. Starting in purchasing, she soon found herself drawn to the plant floor, where she felt a sense of belonging and purpose she hadn't experienced before.

"It was no longer exhausting to do the work," she recalls. "I didn't feel like I had to be someone else. I felt like that was the time that I could show up as my authentic self."

Authenticity, Joanna emphasizes, has been key to her leadership philosophy. As she ascended the ranks, she remained committed to understanding her team's needs, setting clear expectations, and fostering an environment where everyone could thrive.

She explains the importance of setting clear expectations. It's about defining what success looks like and providing the support and guidance needed to help individuals reach their full potential.

For Joanna, leadership isn't about being a savior but an enabler—a facilitator of growth and development. She encourages new leaders to embrace their role as entrapreneurs, approaching their responsibilities with an entrepreneurial mindset and a commitment to continuous improvement.

Joanna also recommends self-care, recognizing that it is more than just a spa day. "Self care now is going to therapy. Self care is taking that mindful moment. Self care is the Sunday morning quiet coffee or the long drive or going to dinner with the girlfriends.”

By saying yes to new opportunities, setting clear expectations, and prioritizing self-care, we can navigate the challenges of leadership with grace and confidence.

Joanna's story is a testament to the transformative power of saying yes—to ourselves, to our dreams, and to the endless possibilities that lie ahead. As we embark on our own journeys of success, may we draw inspiration from her example and seize every opportunity to grow, evolve, and make our mark on the world.

Episode Minutes:  

  • 5:00 — The Power of Saying Yes: Joanna's Career Evolution
  • 21:00 — Leadership: Setting Expectations and Empowering Teams
  • 33:00 — Self-Care and Continuous Growth

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