From working parents to military veterans, GE would not be the company it is today without its employees. We created “Quick Six” to celebrate our diverse talent by asking employees six questions that uncover the unique ways that they contribute to GE and the world.

In our next installation of Quick Six, we sat down with Stefanie Darlington, Materials Planning and Execution Executive in Cincinnati, Ohio to discuss her inspiring journey and accomplishments as a GE Aviation employee.

Tell us a little bit about your path to GE Aviation and the core components of your current role.

My father worked as a Quality Engineer at the GE Strother Overhaul facility during my childhood years. When I finished my Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at Wichita State University, the HR team recruited me to the GE Aviation Operations Management Leadership Program (OMLP). Although I had never considered staying in Kansas after graduation and was considering offers from some other major Fortune 500 companies, the appeal of this leadership program hooked me. I quickly fell in love with the aviation industry and am proud to have spent my entire 33-plus-year career with GE Aviation.

I am currently a member of the Aviation Operating System (AOS) Customer Fulfillment Core team. We are responsible for achieving on-time delivery, turnaround time, cost of goods sold, product line targets for 2019 and building strategic action plans for growth. We are also working to institutionalize and build a world class connected set of supply chain metrics to improve the system wide fulfillment stability and execution.

How has your role connected you to the Computational Modeling and Data Analytics Division (CMDA) students at Virginia Tech?

Last year, as a member of the Digital League 2.0 Demand Pillar, we had two or three incredibly talented student interns working with us. They had an extremely positive experience with us during the summer, so when they returned to school in the fall, the Computational Modeling and Data Analytics department at Virginia Tech contacted us about our interest in sponsoring a capstone project with a group of seniors. We crafted a project around Spare Part Catalog lead times that fit into our pillar strategy and I served as their business sponsor for the project. Not only did the students offer us some very innovative ideas, their project was selected to be highlighted as a tangible example of the excellent work the students are doing at Virginia Tech. You can watch the video.

What’s come out of this partnership?

Probably the most impactful outcome of the Virginia Tech partnership was the experience of working with four students who knew little to nothing about the aviation industry but were able to provide such creative and innovative approaches to solving the challenge we gave them. They brought amazing curiosity, intelligence and energy to each meeting we had. They were eager to share their thoughts and ideas with me. We learned so much together. The outcomes from this partnership were bi-lateral: The students left their academic careers with a much more developed understanding of how to work through business problems, and GE Aviation received creative ideas to solve a critical business problem.

What is your favorite part about your work and what it contributes to GE Aviation?

I absolutely love working on process improvements and projects to improve outcomes for our customers. Honing focus on our processes makes our work easier, makes employees more productive in their jobs and improves business outcomes. I have spent nearly half of my career in Supply Chain roles and half in Commercial roles—military, commercial and systems—so being able to partner with employees on our leadership programs and share my business and industry knowledge with them as they tackle some of these projects is a true privilege.

What would you consider your biggest accomplishment during your time at GE Aviation thus far?

Thinking back over my career, I’d have to say my proudest accomplishment was being part of a small group of women leaders who launched the GE Women’s Network in 1997 to attract, develop, inspire and retain female professional talent. Later, when I co-led the hub from 2010-13, we were awarded the best large hub award in 2011. It is so inspiring to see women in leadership positions at GE Aviation who I mentored and coached early in their careers. I also currently stand as an Executive in Residence with the Women in Engineering department where I facilitate the ENGR 494 seminar: Gender in the Workplace. This course provides junior and senior engineering students an opportunity to maximize their earning potential, promotion opportunities and retention within engineering or related fields. I have met and mentored some amazing young women in this course over the past three years.

Where are you from and what do you like to do for fun?

I was born in Germany when my father was working as an expat Field Service Engineer for General Dynamics. We lived in Germany, Spain and the Netherlands before moving to the U.S. I have been married to my husband, John, for 27 years and we have two grown daughters. I love spending time with my family, yoga, golfing, traveling and the outdoors, especially the mountains. I’m also a huge foodie, so if you have any great recipes or restaurant suggestions, send them my way!

Did you know Quick Six is a series? Read our previous features: