Skip to main content

Kerry Grueneich

Women In Fiber Spotlight - April

How did you get to your current position? What was your path?

I started my career in telecommunications right out of college as an Account Executive for a small CLEC in Charlotte NC.    This was right after the Telecommunications Act of 1996 when CLECs first emerged and competition flooded the marketplace.

I continued my journey in sales for many years and found that I really enjoyed learning about the technology and had a knack for delivering complex technical concepts in a sales environment.  At one point my colleagues were asking me to go on appointments with them to answer technical questions, so when the opportunity to transition to Sales Engineering arose, I knew it was the right move for me.  I started my career at Segra as a Sales Engineer supporting our Charlotte sales teams.  Eventually, I was promoted to lead the NC Sales Engineering team and then a year later was promoted to the Director of Sales Engineering.  In my current position, I am leading a team of 40 SE’s across our Direct, Carrier, Government, and Indirect Channels.


What is an accomplishment you are proud of? 

I am most proud of my  perseverance during the global pandemic.  I am a mother of two school-aged girls who were sent home for almost 2 years while I was at a peak transition period in my career.  I had recently been promoted; taking on a lot of new responsibilities and learning how to become a leader all while trying to maintain some sort of stability for my two girls.  There were days when I felt I was failing on all fronts and I wanted to give up, however, I decided to lean in, adapt, and persevere.


What is one thing industry related or not you learned in the last month?

I am currently reading “How Women Rise” by Marshall Helgesen and Sally Goldsmith.  There are a lot of stories in this book that resonate with my personal experience of feeling “stuck” in my career.  We as women often shy away from communicating our accomplishments to leadership to advance our careers…instead, we think that our work should speak for itself.   I have been very guilty of this in the past and still struggle to communicate my accomplishments but I am working on it.  I am learning that unless you are promoting yourself internally others may not know your desire to advance.


How do you define success?

I have a real passion for Sales Engineering and personally think it is an amazing career.  I define success by being an effective coach and mentor to others so they can become better SE’s.  I experience a tremendous amount of pride when I see my SE’s being recognized for their excellence and advancing in their own careers.


Who inspires you?

I am inspired by the women of Afghanistan who have been stripped of their rights to education, work, healthcare, and protection from violence and banned from public life.  In spite of the possibility of detainment, death, and further oppression they are protesting and fighting to regain their rights.  This inspires me to be a better advocate for my two girls and other women that I can have a direct impact on.  We need to cherish our rights, learn to advocate for each other, and give back to those who are facing adversity.


What is one piece of advice you would give to a woman starting a career in fiber, tech, or construction?

Form a network of sponsors. Having other people in your life that believe in you and want to help you achieve your goals is priceless. I have had many people help me learn and grow along the way and I wouldn’t be where I am now without their support and advocacy.