How to establish credibility and excel in a traditionally male-dominated industry?

Lauren Bruns, Senior Manager at Deloitte 

Lauren Bruns

Hi, I’m Lauren!

I am proudly from Cleveland, Ohio. Growing up, I was certain I would be an art teacher someday. That is, until a few caring teachers kindly pointed out that my skills in math and science far exceeded my creative abilities. Luckily, my parents supported the idea of me having a creative outlet and enrolled me in dance classes when I was 10 years old. My passion for dance and talents in math and science continued through my college years. I earned my bachelor’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Management at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, while also training, practicing and performing throughout the academic year with the Miami Dance Team.

After graduating, I took a job with Deloitte Consulting as a Technology Analyst and later pursued an MBA and Masters in Engineering Management at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern. There, I refined my business acumen, focusing on Operations and Finance, and more importantly, I grew into the leader I am today. After Kellogg, I returned to Deloitte Consulting, where I recently earned a promotion to Senior Manager. Over my 11 years with Deloitte, I have traveled around the country to help clients solve complex business issues with technology. And when I start a project in a new city, I always seek out a studio where I can drop in for a dance class!

My experience

My summer internships in college were at predominately male workplaces. I spent the first two summers at a small manufacturing facility in Cleveland driving forklifts (manual labor is hard!) and wearing a standard issue work shirt, steel toed boots, and safety glasses. The following two summers, I interned at NASA on the International Space Station program in Houston, TX. My team was responsible for the repair and maintenance of everything on the space station, from the telemetry system to the gravity-simulating treadmill. From these experiences, I became acutely aware of how few females work in technical roles in manufacturing, aerospace, and defense companies.

Only 5% of my Mechanical Engineering graduating class was female. In Technology Consulting, women are also a minority. Between my experiences as a student, a summer intern, and now a professional, I have spent the majority of the last 15 years being in the distinct minority as a female in a male-dominated space. On one hand, being in the minority now feels ‘normal’ to me; on the other hand, I continue to face daily challenges over the past 15 years.

3 steps to establishing credibility and excelling in a traditionally male-dominated industry

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