Barbara VanderMolen
Vice President, Finance
A. O. Smith Corporation

“Manufacturing fascinates me because it is complex yet simple, foundational to global economies and ever-evolving. It is very rewarding to collaborate globally with talented people from diverse backgrounds to produce tangible products that make our world a better place for employees, customers and shareholders.”

Barb’s role as head of water heater commercial and operational finance, including business analytics, planning, profitability and pricing administration in North America, Europe and India, is essential to A. O. Smith’s success. Named one of the top 20 women in industry in 2016 by the Supply House Times, Barb provides business and financial insight while ensuring decisions are based on solid financial criteria. She has also implemented long-term success to product development and review processes.

In the past three years, a time in which the company has experienced far-reaching regulatory changes and a major MRP upgrade, Barb has led cross functional initiatives that generated sustained margin improvements in both North America and India. During this time, A. O. Smith’s North American water heater business has achieved record operating profits and margins. In 2014 to enhance the diversity of her finance team, Barb also initiated A. O. Smith’s first long-term functional leadership assignment from China to the U.S.

One of four members on the A. O. Smith Women’s Resource Network advisory committee, Barb empowers and engages female employees across the globe. She serves as the direct advisor to the India region, assisting with objective-setting and determining how to best drive professional development for women across cultural boundaries at all levels of the company. She has also served as a professional mentor with World Relief, a refugee resettlement agency in Nashville, where she helped teach refugees about U.S. workplace culture and shared her experience.

Outside of work, Barb is involved with her church, serving its mission and contributing to Grief Share programs. She is a mentor to a graduate of Magdalene House, a residential recovery program for women with a history of substance abuse. Barb has devoted much time to the local office of World Relief, sitting on their advisory committee and serving as a mentor in the REACH professional development assistance program. There, she was paired with a Ukrainian woman with 24 years of professional experience. Barb and her mentee worked together to craft a resume and practice interviewing skills, eventually resulting her obtaining a position with a company in the Nashville area. Barb’s mentee commented that her day at the Nashville office was an “emotional and psychological boost that helped me conquer my fears and set me up for achieving my professional goals.”

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