Life at Avery Dennison

Mary Carp, Senior Manager, Security Operations, USA

Years with AD

What attracted you to your chosen work?
I’ve always loved to learn, which has been a continuous source of opportunity in my career. Technological innovation is speeding up every year, and every new piece of technology has the potential to open entirely new career paths for the curious. IT in general, and cybersecurity in particular, are great areas of focus for people like me, who want to be doing something different every year.

What skills did you develop early that are still useful today?
Getting comfortable saying “I don’t know.” Not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. Being willing to be vulnerable. Taking notes during meetings. Giving up on the dream of Inbox 0.

Life at Avery Dennison

How have you grown in your career at Avery Dennison?
I joined Avery Dennison as a security engineer and am very fortunate to now be managing the Security Operations team. The opportunity to collaborate with so many colleagues in so many disciplines across the globe has expanded my ambitions for the work we do on the SecOps team, and I’m looking forward to continuing to grow personally and professionally in this role.

What's the biggest stretch opportunity you've taken on?
Our strategic projects as a company this past year have stretched the expertise of many of the IT staff:  our digital transformation journey, our recent acquisitions, and some projects related to technologies at our plants. It has been a challenging but rewarding year for me as a security professional, requiring me to grow my own knowledge base and provide support for the upskilling of my team while projects requiring those skills are already mid-flight.

What role has mentorship played in your career?
I would not be where I am today without my mentors, a couple of whom have been my direct managers.  It is crucial to have at least a few professional relationships within which you can explore different facets of your career growth; people who have been where you are, or who are where you want to be, or who face some of the same challenges as you do. And while it is always valuable to have a mentor further down their career path, I don’t think mentors always need to be in a more senior position. I have personally been as enriched by the wisdom of individual contributors who’ve tackled an issue before as by the feedback of executive leadership in my area of expertise.

My best career moves have been far less about planning than about saying 'yes' to opportunities that presented themselves unexpectedly.
Life at Avery Dennison

What’s the best career decision you’ve ever made?
Saying “yes” to a leadership role on a project I felt completely unqualified for, without which I would not have discovered cybersecurity. My best career moves have been far less about planning than about saying “yes” to opportunities that presented themselves unexpectedly, even when they made me uncomfortable or a little afraid.

As you think about the next steps in your career, what are the most important actions you plan to take?
Much has been made about the difference between management and leadership. I think a key stage in any manager’s career is the shift from pure orchestration of resources and activities, with minor improvements on the margins, to a more transformational and generative role that inspires individuals to come together with fresh strategies to meet the moment. For me, talking with more leaders I admire at the company and in the larger world is part of cracking the transition, as is making the time for more formal learning opportunities (as I would with any technical skill) and [critically] continuing to receive feedback from and communicate openly with my team.

What do you enjoy most about the work you do?
As a security professional, I really enjoy the pace of change. Cybersecurity is sort of an overlay atop every other area within IT, which means there is always something new to learn and different colleagues throughout the organization to learn with.

As a people manager and a general person, I love enabling people to be the best versions of themselves.  Every opportunity I can create for someone to admire their own handiwork marks a good day for me!


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