Biljana Dewsbury job-shadowed to switch careers in John Deere

Biljana Dewsbury job-shadowed to switch careers in John Deere

 February 03, 2022

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When Biljana Dewsbury started her career in the legal department at John Deere, working in one of the company's factories was the furthest thing from her mind.

But after a few peer networking sessions, she became open to the idea of switching functional areas.

"Because of somewhat limited career opportunities, I started evaluating my long-term career goals," Biljana recalled. During the networking session, "I was asked, 'would you like to visit one of our factories and see what it means to be in Operations?'"

Insights into leading a production team 

Biljana visited John Deere Harvester Works in East Moline, Illinois, to get a feel for what it would be like to work in Operations. Most of the people she met were men, although the supervisor she job-shadowed was a female.

That one day of job shadowing gave her an opportunity to see what it takes to lead a team of production employees.

Inspired to make a career change 

Building combines that farmers use every day to harvest the world's crops and feed an ever-growing population was the hook for Biljana.

"I really enjoy being a part of a team that is striving to improve the safety of our employees, further develop the quality and functionality of our products, all while increasing the efficiency of our operations. That's what keeps me going," she said. "I decided to make a change six years ago and I would never go back or change anything."

Encouraging other women into her industry

Biljana is now an OFP (Order Fulfillment Process) project manager at John Deere Commercial Products in Grovetown, Georgia, just outside Augusta, Georgia, where Compact Utility and Utility tractors are being produced.

Since arriving she has been committed to continuously improving safety, quality, and efficiency, as well as inspiring other women to join her in operations. Biljana started a Women in Operations ("WiO") employee resource group at the Grovetown facility in 2019.

Receiving an award for her efforts 

Because of her efforts, Biljana recently received the Manufacturing Institute's 2021 STEP Ahead Award, which goes to emerging female leaders from around the country.

"Manufacturing offers a front row seat to see the magic happen, every single day," Biljana said. "When you see the finished product in the field, you take pride in knowing you played your part in making sure that machine exceeds our customer's expectations."

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