DBT40 Honoree: Lea Williams
R&D Group Leader, DuPont Electronics & Imaging (Newark)
Introduction: Lea Williams is an R&D Group Leader at DuPont Electronics & Imaging. She and her team provide rapid customized product samples for DuPont’s global customers to test.
What her nominator said about her: Lea is one of the most talented young people in Delaware. She is the kind of person I wish every employee at our site could emulate and learn from. Lea is full of energy, always willing to take on new challenges, and is a true “people-person” who can build relationships that are both effective and genuine. She is capable of handling ambiguous projects — that is, projects where there isn’t a clean framework of steps laid out in advance, but where she needs to create the path for her team.
Professional accomplishments: At just 26 years old, Lea is team leader for rapid customer sampling, part of our research & development group, leading a team of eight direct reports. Her team makes it possible for DuPont’s semiconductor customers to test new products and specialized solutions quickly. Specific accomplishments include:
- Improved DuPont’s sample delivery time for CMP pads, using six sigma methodology to analyze the existing work process. Our customers around the world value testing new and customized products quickly as it helps them to cycle learning and iterate their own development cycles.
- Completed manufacturing alignment projects by spending one month at our manufacturing site in Hsinchu, Taiwan. Lea had a critical impact in ensuring best practices from our Taiwan and Delaware sites are shared and leveraged at both locations.
- Identified a manufacturing process that was not tracking any data, and implemented a system to monitor input and output. Leveraging the value of big data on this process has helped the factory to reduce variation in our products.
Leadership examples: Lea started with five direct reports and grew her team to eight, including individuals in technician, administrative, and engineering roles. The fact that all of her employees have more years of experience than she does could be a little daunting coming in, but she’s risen to the challenge and taken efforts to develop herself professionally as a people leader, such as attending seminars in situational leadership and DuPont’s three-day Leadership Workshop. She also actively mentors other young employees. Prior to her current role, she served as a management of change focal point for three years. In this capacity, she ensured that changes such as operating procedures were communicated, understood and safely implemented across our entire Newark employee population. Lea also serves as R&D leader for a multi-year customer initiative in which she is responsible for ensuring that the Newark R&D team understands our business goals, identifies and executes new projects for our customers, and builds our employee culture by recognizing others for those accomplishments.
Community service: DuPont has a strong culture of volunteerism, and Lea is active in many of these efforts. But more often than not, her volunteerism relates to her own vision and encouraging young people to pursue ambitious career paths. She’s helped to run engineering activities at Ursuline Academy’s Engineering Club and served as a facilitator at DuPont’s Explore Engineering day, a program dedicated to introducing young women to careers in engineering. Lea also tutors high-school students on math on a routine basis. She is an active member of the DuPont Women’s Network, and through her activities in this group, was asked to head up an upcoming event for DuPont’s technical Fellows network. Fellows are the highest level of technical achievement at DuPont, and this group asked Lea to design a forum in which they can meet with a group of DuPont women to discuss and problem-solve how to make DuPont the most attractive employer possible, and how to get more women on track to becoming Fellows.
Guilty pleasure? True crime anything! I am always on the lookout for new documentaries and love listening to true-crime podcasts when I drive.
First job? My first job was at Lewis Farms in Southington, Connecticut.In the spring and summer, I worked outside, taking care of the fields and greenhouses. In the fall and winter, I worked in the bakery! Most of all, it taught me to how to work hard, break a sweat, and enjoy an apple cider doughnut.
Family and education: My parents, Jeff and Beth Williams live in Connecticut, where I grew up. My older sister, Nicole, lives in Washington, D.C. So we are spread up and down the East Coast! In Delaware, I live with my boyfriend Jeff Daniels and our two dogs, Ellie and Sylvie! I attended Villanova University in Villanova, Pennsylvania. I received a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. Go Cats!