December 7, 2019
“INROADS is the kind of organization that doesn’t simply focus on pairing you with an organization, but also equips you to be the best.”
Charelle Lans’ career is impressive. Currently, she is the youngest Segment Industrial Engineer for Mars Petcare, North America, and is the Women of Mars Co-Lead for Mars Petcare, NA; she is in the process of writing her second book; she is the Founder and Executive Director of Leading with Feet, Inc.; and she is the lead strategist and owner of Vision Strategy Management, LLC.
Before Charelle’s impressive career, she experienced many unique opportunities in the early years of her life. While her mother was attending school at Florida International University, Charelle had the opportunity to participate in programs designed to expose young girls to STEM. This gave her the chance to compete in rocket and bridge-building competitions, opening her mind to the STEM fields early in life. She always thanks her mother for influencing her and helping pique an early interest in the science and STEM fields.
With this exposure, Charelle entered her freshmen year at Florida State University, thinking about majoring in either computer engineering or the biomedical field. She was undecided until she encountered INROADS in her freshman year. After a one-hour session with an INROADS representative, she began a path that changed both her major and her career substantially.
Through INROADS, she interned during the summer leading up to her sophomore year with Johnson & Johnson, along with other job shadowing and program opportunities. While job shadowing, she found that the fields she originally wanted to major in, computer engineering and the biomedical field, didn’t align with her interests. Charelle’s internship with Johnson & Johnson helped her identify that industrial engineering was her passion, and by her junior year, she easily chose the engineering track that best suited her.
“I thought [the INROADS internship experience] was great; I have nothing but high regard for INROADS,” said Charelle. “INROADS helped me to hone in on where I wanted to go from a corporate perspective and how I could relay my skills and experiences into a corporate setting.”
With the experience she received as an intern, Charelle narrowed down the specific area she wanted to pursue her career and has grown significantly as a professional. Now in year 10 of her career in Industrial Engineering, Charelle reflects back to INROADS as being a fundamental organization in her rapid professional success. INROADS helped to define her professional exposure, and it provided the right context and forum to apply her knowledge.
As the youngest Segment Industrial Engineer for Mars Petcare, North America, and Women of Mars Co-Lead for Mars Petcare, North America, Charelle makes a point to say that this success didn’t happen by accident — her success has been intentional. It was all made possible by the support and navigation of organizations such as INROADS, mentors, and family. She has learned to be the best advocate for her career.
In the next phase of her life, Charelle plans on finishing her second book and hopes to expand her personal organization in the next 3-5 years. Even with her busy schedule, her goal is to transition into the role of a mentor and be a source of advice for young professionals beginning their careers. Her best advice for those starting out: “Be a sponge and learn with every opportunity; there is a lot you can glean by listening and giving your best every day. Don’t just check the boxes in life, CREATE THEM!”