Kara Chmielewski
Director of Sales & Service, Midwest
John Crane, a division of Smiths Group plc

“Manufacturing is the foundation for making our everyday lives possible and allows us the opportunity to make never ending improvements for society. It is about producing tangible, real components that we can hold in our hands and use to construct complex goods that were once someone's idea.”

As Director of Sales and Service for the Midwest, Kara is responsible for $70M in new and aftermarket business at John Crane, a world leader in turbomachinery dry gas seals. She was the catalyst in a collaborative effort to execute John Crane’s entry to the high-speed dry gas seals market in the U.S. Oil & Gas/Petrochemical industry. To make this happen, Kara drove a paradigm shift in organizational thinking by disrupting standard protocol. Her ability to challenge stagnant mindsets and pursue innovative solutions has allowed John Crane to pursue aggressive growth targets. Among her colleagues and peers, Kara is known as a collaborative problem solver who encourages those around her to seek imaginative ways to drive results.

Kara is committed to cultivating future industry leaders at John Crane and beyond. Under her guidance, over 100 women have connected with each other through the company’s Professional Women’s Network, an initiative Kara launched to identify and mentor high potential female talent. She also represents John Crane as a member of the Smiths Global Steering Committee on Diversity and Inclusion to enhance diversity initiatives and raise awareness of the value and success of women in leadership across all divisions. Additionally, she has mentored numerous junior-level employees and interns to ensure continuous professional development and growth.

Kara’s belief that every student should have access to STEM programming led her to expose over 900 young students at Chicago’s Blaine Elementary School to STEM/STEP concepts. As President of the non-profit organization Friends of Blaine, she spearheaded efforts to raise more than $300K from the community to create a STEM lab for students. With endless energy, Kara is dedicated to giving back through her volunteer work and continues to create professional opportunities for those around her to thrive while performing as a Senior Leader in her organization.

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