Inside Sales Representative for Steel Dynamics Flat Roll Group Southwest – Sinton Division
In December of 2018, I walked across the stage at the University of Southern Mississippi to receive my bachelor’s degree. I was 38 years old, and it had been nearly 20 years since I graduated high school. I can remember looking up into the audience and seeing my husband, my three children and my parents watching as I accomplished something that I never thought I could do. It was one of the most important moments of my life and a day that I will never forget. It’s also a day that almost didn’t happen. A couple of years before that I was laid off from a job that I absolutely loved; a job that was the main reason I had decided to go back to school. I had convinced myself that I had all the reasons to give up on my dream of being a college graduate, but I didn’t quit, I kept going and I am so thankful that I did. Now my goal is to help empower other women to do the same.
My name is Stephanie Hajducek, and I am an Inside Sales Representative for Steel Dynamics, Inc. at their new steel mill in Sinton, Texas. My background is in oil, gas, and chemicals so when I was going through the interview process with SDI, I was a little nervous because I didn’t have steel experience. But what I did have was a willingness to learn and to do what I needed to do to be successful in the position that I was offered. SDI sent me to their mill in Butler, Indiana for training and they were very supportive in helping me balance my family life with my training schedule. Looking back now, it was a small sacrifice on my part, and I was able to learn so much by putting in a little extra time and effort. While I was there, I was able to travel to Chicago for the Empowering Women in Industry Model Call in June 2021. I was a short 3-hour drive away, so I made the trip there and was able to spend a day with an awesome group of women. I was also invited back to Chicago to be in the fashion show at the Empowering Women in Industry Conference that was held in October 2021. I modeled clothing from Dovetail Workwear which is a company that sells clothes for women that work in non-traditional roles, or as they would put it “Workwear Fit for Women Who Get Dirty.” I have been a part of Empowering Women in Industry since 2018 and had the opportunity to share my story on how I overcame limiting beliefs at their first conference in September 2019. My passion now is to help young girls and women overcome their limiting beliefs and help them reach their full potential.
I spend most of my day working to make sure that our customer’s are very well taken care of. It’s my job to ensure that our customer receives their order as promised from us and along the way, I work to keep an open line of communication with them should there be any changes. I also spend time talking to our outside sales representatives going over customer information, reviewing orders that are in production and helping them out with anything they may need my assistance on. When I am not entering/expediting orders, I am prospecting. I work with an outside sales representative that is working in a new territory for us and our main goal is to create new relationships and grow our business in those areas that we haven’t been able to reach yet. I research their website to see what products and services they offer, and I use LinkedIn to connect with their people. Every now and then I get to put on my hard hat and steel toe boots and go out to our mill. Being able to see how everything out there in the field works together to create our final products is nothing short of amazing. In short, I work with a great group of people and coming in to work everyday is a lot like getting to hang out with a group of friends all day long.
Equally important to my work at SDI and my involvement with Empowering Women in Industry is the work that I am doing with our local school districts. A couple of months ago I asked my manager if we might be able to sponsor a group of girls from our local high school to attend the Women in Industry Conference in Galveston, Tx that will be taking place in March 2022. One of the many things that I love about working for SDI is the support they give us, their employees, when it comes to things that we are passionate about. I began to think that if SDI approved this type of sponsorship, why wouldn’t some of the other companies in our area do the same. I started making connections on LinkedIn and sending messages to people that I thought might be able to help get me to the right person to hear about this awesome opportunity. What turned in to me asking my manager if we could load up a few girls in our company van and take them to the conference has turned in to busloads of girls from our area getting to go. It truly is amazing to see how one small investment can make such a huge impact.
When my workday ends, I head home to my family and all our very many animals. I have twin boys who will be graduating high school in May and a daughter that is in the seventh grade. They are highly involved in school activities ranging from football and basketball to FFA and Ag Mechanics. In our “spare” time, my husband and I raise Registered Texas Longhorns and in addition to our cattle, we also have six dogs who are a very important part of our family. My life is full and so is my heart. I have an amazing family, a job that I love and a platform to help me accomplish my goal of empowering women and young girls to not give up on their dreams, to keep pushing when they feel like they want to quit and that they absolutely can be whatever they want to be!