CEO talks challenges of parenting

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CEO talks challenges of parenting

NEWARK - Although she works as a high-powered CEO, Terri Kelly is just an ordinary parent outside the workplace. As a working mom of four children - a 24-year-old son, a 19-year-old daughter and two twin daughters age 15 - Kelly said her life has been “quite challenging” at points.

When she was appointed as an executive of the company in 1998, her first son was only 7 years old.

“I’d be remiss to say that it didn’t consume a lot of my time,” she said. “You can imagine when I was responsible for the fabrics division and found out I was pregnant with twins, I was like, ‘So, you’ll have to multitask.’”

Despite her work hours, she said she has “a very close family,” living within 15 minutes by car of her parents and in-laws.

“I love to have them over to my house,” she said. “I feel very fortunate that I had my family with me because they became my support structure in being able to raise children.”

One of the primary reasons she applied to W. L. Gore & Associates was because of her father, also a mechanical engineer. Three of his four daughters followed in his footsteps and studied mechanical engineering in college, including her.

She said Korean outdoor companies are among Gore’s “larger customers,” including Kolon Sport, K2 and Black Yak.

“I just met with one of the CEOs of Black Yak a couple weeks ago,” she said. “I think they are very forward-looking. I think the overall environment [in Korea] is always looking to push the boundaries of technology, particularly in information technology.”

Gore is also supplying some materials used to protect smartphones and other devices from water.

Asked about the company’s strategy in expanding business in China, she said utilizing “local knowledge” is crucial.

“You have to also not just assume that the approach that worked in the U.S. or Europe or Korea is going to be appropriate,” she said.

“So one of the things we have learned as a company is the importance of having local knowledge in China.”


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