How to Be a “Go Giver:” 3 Questions with Andi Funk
This June, EnerSys Chief Financial Officer, Andi Funk was honored with the Bernadine Legacy Award, an award that recognizes outstanding alumnae and supporters of Alvernia University who have distinguished themselves in their professional careers while also serving as a leader and role model to women.
In her acceptance speech, Andi remarked, “I’m here because of companies – like EnerSys I will proudly say – with initiatives like our Women in Leadership affinity group, that enables and intentionally supports the growth and development of women in leadership roles at our company and promotes taking a chance on new female leaders.”
Ellen Huyett, one of Andi’s award nominators shared, “there is not a place in the community where you do not see Andi involved, engaged, and advocating for women. Her very presence as a smart, forward-moving woman in the corporate world sets an incredible example for young women.”
We sat down with Andi to talk about what it means to be a woman in leadership and how we can best inspire the next generation of women both at EnerSys and within the greater global community.
What inspired you to become involved with Alvernia?
I didn’t attend Alvernia University, but I did grow up in Berks County, so when my good friend Dr. Tom Flynn was working on engaging local leaders with Alvernia and asked if I would be willing to give talks and participate in panels on business, like with salary negotiation, I said yes. I served on the Alvernia President Advisory Council which then again grew into my involvement with the Reading Collegiate Scholar program at Alvernia and serving as the Executive in Residence in 2015.
There’s a big lesson there: always be connecting with people and asking them to engage. I wouldn’t have my relationship with Alvernia if it had not been for Dr. Flynn and now, I feel a strong, synergistic connection with the students and the programs I’ve helped foster at Alvernia.
What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?
I think there are actually two major barriers. The first is internal – I feel that many women are not able to realize and execute what are capable of. But this is partly because of the lack of female role models in leadership and executive roles. I feel privileged to be where I am now but with privilege comes responsibility – I feel responsible to show young women that they can do anything and be a major player in any role and position they set their mind to. We cannot be our own inhibitors because there are already enough battles to fight.
The second major barrier is how humans naturally think and act. It’s natural to want to surround yourself with people like yourself, the rapport is easier and there tends to be more mutual understanding. But we need to be better at working on the “Inclusion” aspect of DE&I. We need to recognize that we all have different perspectives – and that’s a great thing – because different perspectives and viewpoints allow us to make better decisions.
What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders?
The biggest piece of advice I can give is to have confidence -- there is nothing inhibiting what you can do, except yourself. You are only limited by yourself and your own choices, and you can really make anything happen that you set your mind to.
Second, I advise everyone to build strong networks. Your network is so incredibly important and it’s imperative to foster it and grow it into a community as you navigate your career. You can build your network by creating value in everything that you do, but also by taking pleasure in helping others. I always recommend the book, “The Go-Giver,” by Bob Burg and John David Mann – as opposed to the “go-getter” – since it talks about shifting the focus from getting to giving and the wins that come along with that mindset.
I’m so glad Dr. Flynn reached out to me, because not only has it been such a rewarding experience working with and giving back to Alvernia, but it also has allowed me to grow both my network and the networks of students just getting started in the career.
Overall -- be confident, know and contribute your value, find pleasure in helping others, and have fun along the way.
The image below shows Andi Funk with two of her children, Maddie (left) and Bailey (right).