While he’s grateful for his diploma, Berry explains that the lessons learned on his nontraditional career path were the greatest factor in his success. “As someone on a nontraditional path, you’ve got to be willing to step outside your comfort zone and continue to learn,” he says. For him, that meant taking leadership classes and reaching out to his employer for more responsibility. “You have to invest in yourself in order to move forward,” he says.
A Unique Perspective
Berry has worked on virtually every level of the manufacturing field, from working the third shift to spearheading sales. Now, he’s grateful for that diverse experience. “I’m responsible for setting up the entire schedule to release a product,” Berry says. “That means I have to work with all of the functional groups in our factory—everybody from production and supply management to safety and accounting.” Berry explains that his intimate understanding of product manufacturing helps him coach employees during product release periods. “I’m always proud to bring a different perspective to the table,” he says. “Especially where some of my colleagues who took more traditional leadership paths may have a blind spot.”
Ultimately, Berry sees his path as a lesson for young people unsure of their next step. “People need to realize that there are a lot of opportunities out there,” he says. “Just because you go to school doesn’t mean you’ll get the job you want. Still, you need to be able to look beyond today and commit yourself to tomorrow."