At age 37, AriAnne Sproat proudly wears the label of trailblazer for women in business and, in particular, the manufacturing industry. As COO of ITC Manufacturing in Phoenix, one of the world’s leading supplier of steel products, she has spent the last 18 years as a role model, demonstrating to the company founders and all employees that there is no task she can’t handle – and handle successfully. At just 19, she started her career as a receptionist. After 18 years and a college degree earned in night school, she is now COO.
My first job ever was… As a waitress. I only dropped one tray.
I decided to enter my industry because… It was a fluke. I was hired as a receptionist and fell in love with the company. I guess you could say the industry chose me!
Being a woman in a male-dominated industry is… Challenging at times but overall very comfortable for me. I grew up with three brothers so I have never been afraid to speak my mind.
My proudest accomplishment is… My son. Being promoted to COO of my company is second.
My boldest move to date was… Continuing to work while pregnant and on bed rest for 4 months, 1 month of it from the hospital.
I surprise people when I tell them… That I work in the steel industry.
My best advice to people starting their career is… Do the work that others won’t. Jumping in and helping out even if it isn’t “your” job is how you learn other aspects of an organization.
My best advice from a mentor was… The true measure of a leader is the people they inspire.
My biggest setback was… When my organization had to make the strategic decision to file bankruptcy.
I overcame it by… Staying positive and looking at it as a learning experience.
Work/life balance is… Hard, especially for moms. I deal with a lot of “mom guilt” but I know I am best as a parent when I feel happy and fulfilled and my career does that for me.
If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… That I have a twin brother.
I stay inspired by… Other women. I am proud to share what I have learned with other women and help build up other women.
The future excites me because… I see how bright it is.
My next step is… Continue to learn and grow within my role and help others within the organization learn and grow as well.