Aileen Charland

Executive Assistant

Born and raised in Connecticut, Aileen Charland obtained an associate degree at Manchester Community College in 2003. She then went on to Eastern Connecticut State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in marketing in 2006. During her time at Eastern Connecticut State University, Aileen served as the executive vice president for the collegiate chapter of the American Marketing Association. Upon graduating summa cum laude, she was inducted into the Omicron Delta Kappa National Honor Society and Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.

Her leadership role continued after college in her community as she served on the local board of directors for her condominium association and local historical society and cemetery associations.

Today, Aileen is a high-performing and enthusiastic business professional working as an executive assistant to the CEO and CFO of TRUMPF North America.

When she is not working, Aileen loves to travel and visit warm places. She also enjoys running, weightlifting, yoga, and spending time with friends and family.

What is your typical day, and how do you make it productive?

I stay very busy! I am multitasking all day to get all of my work as an Executive Assistant done. My job helps others take things off of their plate and focus on other business. I am self directed so I always think steps ahead to complete the needs of the company.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I love the creative and planning processes. Typically my projects are collaborative involving cross-functional teams. Strategizing, planning and teamwork are the keys to bringing ideas and projects successfully to life.

What’s one trend that excites you?

I am excited to see the recent trend of U.S. based companies reshoring production efforts. Although this is a big effort, I am optimistic this will continue to improve supply chain efficiencies.

What is one habit that helps you be productive?

I thrive under pressure. The busier and heavier my schedule is, the more productive I tend to be. Personal health and wellbeing such as running and weight lifting is an important balance for me to be productive because it gives me energy and keeps my mind clear and fresh, so I stay focused.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I would love to go back and tell myself that failing is not bad; it’s part of the process and learning experience. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

Tell us something you believe almost nobody agrees with you on?

I believe in always being true to myself and giving my opinion, even if it’s not a popular opinion. I was at a large company conference in a support capacity with majority senior-level individuals, and in one of the sessions I attended, we were asked to give examples of people who are leaders. I stood up and named a controversial leader who I knew many people would not agree with. After the conference session, many people came up to me and commended me for naming a leader that many others would not openly support.

What is the one thing you repeatedly do and recommend everyone else do?

Every day, I try to give my best at what I’m working on and anything that I do. I believe people would be much happier and satisfied if they work to their full potential.

When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do?

Usually being overwhelmed fuels me to perform. But I also usually have to take a deep breath and refocus when I hit this point. Running or going on a short mental health walk helps, even if it’s just for five minutes. Once I take that time to step away, I’m able to get back in the pilot’s seat and focus.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business or advance in your career?

I have an excellent work ethic and will strive to outwork anyone. I’m willing to roll up my sleeves, put in the hours, dive in, and figure out the hard tasks. I don’t like rushing through things just so I can check them off the list, I take my time and do it thoroughly. I believe that being willing to put in the time and effort into hard projects is what has made me successful.

What is one failure in your career,  how did you overcome it, and what lessons did you take away from it?

At my previous job, I had to move freight globally and set up global trade shows. There was a time when we almost had to cancel a show because the vendor fell through. It felt like a failure on my part because I was leading the project. At the last minute we found an alternate, better vendor who could support us and knocked it out of the park, so everything worked out in the end. The biggest lesson I was able to take away is think positive and be patient and things will work out.

What is one business idea you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I think that any task focused app is a good idea in 2023. Everyone relies so heavily on their mobile devices that we tend to utilize technology wherever possible.

What is one piece of software that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

Right now, I really love Microsoft OneNote. It helps keep me organized (multiple notebooks, chapters, pages) and lets me review and edit my notes, meetings, and ideas at my fingertips. I’m also liking Microsoft Teams for effective project based communication because it’s user-friendly and has great features like planners, whiteboards, calendars, and document storage.

Do you have a favorite book or podcast you’ve gotten a ton of value from and why?

I love reading motivational and inspiration books. I tend to read fantasy and fiction books but weave in an inspirational or business related book in between every “pleasure” type book. I am a huge fan of The Secret by Rhonda Byrne books and podcasts. I recently finished reading The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephan Covey – I really really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it for any business professionals.

What’s a movie or series you recently enjoyed and why?

I really like the Yellowstone spin-offs, 1883 and 1923. They’re historical fiction based in the Midwest and focus on survival and maintaining the land. Both series are very eye-opening for what life was like in the Midwest.

Key learnings:

  • Be patient and things will work out.
  • Give yourself a few minutes to step away from an overwhelming situation.
  • Be willing to put your very best efforts into whatever you do.