Every morning Connie Zboral wakes up a few hours before work starts. She makes herself a coffee and completes one or two sudokus to wake up her brain.
“I don’t like to be bored,” she says. So, it’s no surprise that she chooses the hardest puzzles first thing in the morning, finished reading 82 books last year, and has held a wide range of roles throughout her career.
From highway control personnel to working in daycare and HR, to her current role as an Application Support Analyst at Kloeckner Metals Austin, Connie is an active knowledge seeker who loves solving problems.
Now 6 years into her current role, Connie continues to learn every day. She resolves tech related issues across all of Kloeckner’s branches.
Some of the projects she has worked on are the auto-create order project, which automatically creates orders and pvs for digital orders, and updating forms used by the Credit Dept. There’s nothing boring about it. She mostly enjoys training users on how to use the applications correctly, and collaborating directly with developers when a bug needs to be fixed.
When she first noticed the opening for an Application Support Analyst, Connie was excited, but thought, “This is a joke. I’m never going to get this job. I have none of the qualifications—zero tech experience, zero programming experience.” She applied anyway.
During her first interview, she expressed concern to the supervisor that she lacked the technical background for the role. They responded to her concern with encouragement. They could tell that, most importantly, she had the willingness to learn.
At that point, Connie had already been with Kloeckner Metals 15 years. This was long enough to know that mill test reports and quality control documents were once input manually—sometimes by her. She understood all the forms and processes with which the Application Support Analyst would be working. So, rather than focus on the technical skills that Connie would need to develop, the hiring team leveraged her experience and gave her the job.
Kloeckner’s supportive culture rewards employees for wanting to grow. Looking back on her 22 years with the organization, Connie realizes how important this consistent willingness to embrace employee needs has been, even from the very beginning.
Back in the summer of 1999, Connie was managing her obligations as a mother of three young kids along with a full-time position at a local university. All of her kids were in summer programs a good drive away from her home and work. The schedule was becoming too much. How was she going to handle it all?
She decided to take a chance and interview for an open administrative position at Kloeckner Metals. Connie explained her situation to the supervisor. It wasn’t a problem. They accommodated her by allowing her to take shorter breaks during the day and leave early when she needed to. She was amazed and grateful, thinking, “How many jobs would do that?”
Kloeckner’s immediate compassion and flexibility proved essential, as she would never would have been able to keep up without it. But the positive impact extends beyond the workplace into the personal relationships Connie has been able to build with her family.
Connie is a German immigrant who was just 10 years old when she arrived in the U.S. Her immediate family was distant and she was forced to transition out of her native tongue after the move. This sheds light on her capacity for new and challenging experiences. It also informs her choices and priorities as a mother.
Building close relationships with her three kids and spending quality time with her grandkids is one of the most sacred gifts in Connie’s life.
By now, her three kids are all grown up, and they each showcase their mother’s spirit for fun, interesting work. Her eldest is a radiologist and her youngest is an accountant. When Covid-19 hit, her middle child who was an aspiring chef, pivoted to do game modification and stamp out a new profession—all the while being cheered on by his loving mom.
When Connie isn’t at work or spending time with her family, she might be in her garden tending to her tomato plants, volunteering, or with her reading club who have been meeting for the last 20 years. From that early morning coffee up until the end of the day, there’s never a dull moment.
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