Susanna A. Wayt
December 28, 2010
As vice president of the Human Resources, Americas unit of Bayer MaterialScience LLC, Susanna Wayt has can claim success. But she remembers that success takes effort. “The most difficult step of my career was getting that first job after my degrees,” she said. Wayt holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Liberal Arts and a Master of Science degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from the College of Business and Economics at West Virginia University.
“The year I graduated, 1981, was not the strongest year in the U.S. economy, and many new graduates were having difficulty getting started in careers,” she recalls. “Once you have experience, it's easier to get experience, but my first years were not spent in my field. They were in retail and administrative work. My next challenge was breaking into the human resources profession.”
“It takes patience,” she says, “and knowing that you learn from all work. I believe in paying dues--every work experience I had I learned from and made the best contribution I possibly could. There is a return on that investment in the long run.”
Wayt began work as an employee relations specialist for West Virginia University and spent several years in retail store management. She joined Bayer in 1989 as supervisor of employment and benefits at the New Martinsville plant. Since then, she has held positions of increasing responsibility, including director of human resources for Bayer Corporate and Business Services. Then, she became director of human resources for Bayer MaterialScience LLC in Pittsburgh, Pa.
In her current position, she is responsible for ensuring that a wide range of superior strategic and tactical human resources supports are provided to all employees and business partners in Bayer MaterialScience LLC.
“You must learn to understand differences in culture and respect them as neither good nor bad but merely as differences. If you can do this, you can learn to work to work effectively to accomplish the goals of the business,” she said.
Wayt relies on many facets of her education in the Industrial and Labor Relations program, “most notably the sound foundation I got in HR practices.”
She has lots of advice for current students just beginning their career trek. “Be a life-longer learner,” she advises. “Work hard, pay your dues, be positive and optimistic, be flexible, creative and patient. Know that you can learn from a good boss and from a bad boss, and that both learning experiences are valuable in the long run. And when you get the opportunity to be the boss--be the kind of leader others want to work for. Be an employee and leader who adds to your organization's bottom line.”