SPOTLIGHT: Victoria Korbonits
Victoria Korbonits is a Technical Service Consultant at Chemours, in the Fluoroproducts Business. She has a passion for problem solving, and loves to find new ways to add value for her customers and her business. Find out what led Victoria to where she is now and what keeps her dancing closer to her goals.
Q. What is your current role? Company?
A. Right now, I’m a Technical Service Consultant at Chemours, Fluoroproducts.
Q. What are your job responsibilities?
A. In general, I’m the product champion for several of our product lines. I provide technical service for our customers on those product lines, and I travel to customers for meetings and for trials. My customers also travel to me at our pilot lab facility to run trials. I spend time troubleshooting issues for the customers. A little bit of my time is also spent with our marketing and sales people to make sure we’re aligned about our value proposition and on the right track for our customers. I work to qualify new product for the business as well, working with our manufacturing plants and product managers.
Q. What led you to where you are now? Talk about previous jobs, school, other life journey that led you to where you are.
A. I immigrated to the U.S. for my senior year of high school with my family. I was a very good student in China, and I went to great schools. I did know some English, but I had learned to speak English the Great Britain way.
People were nice to me when I got to my new high school in the U.S. A couple girls invited me to go shopping the first week, and over time, they taught me things about pop culture and American English phrases. It was a tough year though.
In China, you take the college entrance exam after high school so I wasn’t prepared to take the SAT’s during my final year of high school. I ended up taking the TOFEL test for foreign students, in addition to SAT and SAT Subject Tests, and applied to schools, despite not knowing much about the American Universities.
I went to Villanova for college, which was a great experience and led me to where I am today. I loved the small class sizes – and the fact that it was undergraduate-focused. I only had 28 students in my chemical engineering class and had great professors throughout my time at Villanova.
My parents were both scientists, so growing up, I never knew I could do anything else. I went into chemical engineering as an undergrad, and published papers on my projects. I thought that I had a research path ahead of me and got recommendations for graduate school. But, I decided I wanted to see the real world first, before committing to grad school.
I went to DuPont Central Research & Development with the intention of going back to graduate school after a few years. After I started, I realized that I really liked interacting with customers. I had a couple projects near the end of commercialization, so I had a chance to work with our application development team. After that, I moved on to product development. After a year on the product development team, I got this current job in tech service and I love it. I work with marketing, sales, product line managers, manufacturing, and customers. It’s a really a good position for me to learn how the business operates.
Q. What is your proudest accomplishment to date?
A. I became independent after I came here to the U.S. My parents paid for my college tuition, but I tutored a lot and used my own money to travel in the U.S. I’m proud that I was able to buy my own house three years after I started working.
Q. What is it like being a young professional in this field?
A. At the beginning I felt overwhelmed by how much knowledge everyone around me had. Everything was new, and it felt like I couldn’t possibly learn that much in a short period of time. The only way I got through was to take small steps. Learn as much as you can, know your strength and why they hired you. You can always contribute. A fresh set of eyes can help you come in and solve problems.
Q. Who is your mentor? What’s a lesson they’ve taught you that you’d want to pass on to others?
A. I have one technical mentor, and two female business mentors. My technical mentor helped me decide I was on the right track technically. On the business side, as females, they helped me become who I am today. They taught me to be confident, push myelf and try to get out of my comfort zone.
Q. What are your career aspirations?
A. I would like to learn more about the business. I like being the bridge that connects technical to the business, I still need to figure out what that means job-wise.
Q. What motivates you at work?
A. I like to my projects bringing value to the business. What really motivates me is learning new things and growing.victoria dance
Q. If you could give advice to other young professionals in our industry, what would it be?
A. Dive right in! Working for a few years helps teach you what you want. Don’t get frustrated or overwhelmed, there is so much knowledge in the industry. Find your way to contribute and add value.
Q. What’s your favorite thing to do outside of work?
A. I have two very cute dogs. I spend a lot of time with my dogs and my fiancé. I also spend time with family, travel a lot, and I teach an adult classical Chinese dance class (25 students age 50-60). I was a semi-professional dancer in China and wanted to keep dancing, so I started teaching. This experience has helped me learn how to work with different personalities. We did a big show for Chinese New Year – I choreographed dances for them. I’m a strict teacher and am proud for my students.
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