Graduate Advisory Council Spotlight: Anne Herman

As Vice President of Global Operational Excellence and Chief Customer Officer for MSA Safety, Anne Herman is responsible for leading the organization’s operations, quality and customer experience functions across the world. Since joining MSA more than 34 years ago as an assistant chemist, Ms. Herman has held a variety of roles of increasing responsibility within the organization’s R&D, quality, standards compliance, and operations groups.

Ms. Herman earned a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Bucknell University and an MBA from Duquesne University.  In addition to her academic accomplishments, she completed the Women’s Executive Leadership Program from Duquesne University and is the executive sponsor of WMSA, MSA’s professional organization dedicated to the advancement of women in the workplace. She is also a member of the Graduate and Executive Programs Advisory Council (GEPAC) for the Palumbo Donahue School of Business at Duquesne University, sits on the Board of Directors of the YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh and is a certified Six Sigma Green Belt.

In 2013, she was recognized by The Manufacturing Institute, Deloitte, the University of Phoenix, and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers with the Women in Manufacturing STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) Award. And in March 2017, Anne was recognized by the Pittsburgh Business Times as one of the 25 most influential businesswomen in western Pennsylvania with a BusinessWomen First Award. In April 2018, Anne was awarded the Distinguished Alumnae Award by the Palumbo Donahue School of Business at Duquesne University.

A native of Pittsburgh, Ms. Herman and her husband reside in Cranberry Township and are the proud parents of two grown sons (Rob and Ryan).

What is your favorite memory from your education at Duquesne?

I was a non-traditional student and attained my MBA as part of a cohort that Duquesne hosted at MSA’s facility in Cranberry Township (beginning in 1998).  I really enjoyed my cohort experience, as there was a small group (~24 people) who went through almost all of our classes together.  We formed very close relationships, built on trust, and that enabled us to leverage each other’s unique strengths for projects and assignments.  So one of my favorite memories is the “Charlie’s Angels” skit that my team used to present one of our strategic plans!  It really pushed all of us outside of our comfort zone, but was fun – and effective!

What is the most important piece of advice you would give to a graduate business student looking to advance professionally?

Know what you’re good at – and truly passionate about. Take time to reflect on what your strengths are at a strategic level – whether it’s building new processes or systems; transforming processes or organizations (change and/or improvement); customer focus; project execution; strategy development; etc.  (Focus on strategic versus tactical things such as “good at spreadsheet analysis.”)  When you can articulate your strengths – and know what you’re passionate about – and share that with leaders, then many more opportunities can become available to you.  You’ll be able to move between functions (as you want) and you’ll be open to more opportunities, too (when you can recognize how they match your strategic skills and passions).

If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance at winning a medal for?

Christmas decorating!  I put up a total of 12 Christmas trees in my home (4 full size, 8 smaller) with different themes for different rooms.  It’s a tradition in my family.

Where is the most interesting place you’ve been?

Bora Bora!  It was on my husband’s “bucket list” of places to go. A few years ago, we wrote our “bucket list” locations on slips of paper and now we pick one every New year’s Day and that’s our surprise trip for the year.

Who inspires you to be better?

My family (husband and sons)!  They’re always absolutely convinced that I can take on – and succeed at – any new challenge and push me to do so.