Taking the Bull by the Horns

Sharon Hoffman has a longstanding professional career within IIA, 38 years to be exact, and most of that time was spent being one of the only females in her division. She began her career with the company as a personal assistant to the leadership team and has seen, first hand, the many changes that have taken place, not only in the workplace, but with technology over the last nearly four decades.

She has taken the bull by the horns ever since she began. Her first tasks were writing letters, helping with proposals, logging projects, and submitting testing applications, which at that time was all completed without the technological help of today. It was paper, typewriters, pens, and the postal service. Throughout it all, Sharon has continued her commitment to grow and learn.

After her administrative role, earning a bookkeeping position and by working closely with and learning from her superiors, Sharon eventually made her way into a customer-facing role, where she helped with quotes, tracked projects, assisted customers directly and also attended conventions. She’s probably had a hand in just about every aspect of this division and has seen, up close, the many changes that have come over the years.

The biggest changes in this division have been the changes that have occurred from low- to high-tech and in customer base. Decades ago, most customers were based in Asia, and the testing and approvals Sharon oversaw were mainly for boomboxes, landline telephones, monitors, beepers, and modems. Now most of her customers are US based and the projects are, of course, for all of our modern electronics.

How things have changed!

Everything Sharon has learned over the years has been from hands-on training and from her dedication to educating herself. She never allowed a gender gap or the “norms of the time” to stop her from learning, growing, succeeding, and serving customers. During the times of testing beepers and key fobs, Sharon knew the way she wanted to go above and beyond for her customers meant she had to learn everything she could about FCC policies. She also began thinking of any potential obstacles that her customers might face, so she could help them overcome those hurdles. She took it upon herself to learn these things, simply so she could provide the ever important story-worthy service to each of her customers.

“I learned everything I know from looking at reports and learning about the FCC policies. I wanted to be able to help my customers by having the right knowledge and without having to rely on someone else,” Sharon tells us. She learned this “take the bull by the horns approach” from one of her early mentors, and it has served her well as she has risen through the ranks of IIA and in her current Sales Position for Lab Services.

Sharon says she is proud to be a part of IIA, and she appreciates the way the company takes care of its employees. Sharon says, “our team is a family; what happens to one of us affects all of us.” She is still happy to come to work every day and probably happy not to see hundreds of beepers and key fobs lying about anymore.

Her proudest moments are when customers are happy and relay their satisfaction. Sharon is proud of what she’s achieved and everything she’s learned and witnessed over these many years with IIA. She typically prefers to stay in the background, but she does appreciate when a customer expresses their gratitude for a job well done. She says, “happy and returning customers make my hard work and good service all worth it.” Sharon has a lot of longtime and returning customers which is testament to her dedication to making the process of working with her easy, friendly, and smooth.

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