Meet Kate Calero, Director of Field Sales, Great Lakes Region, Paving a Smoother Path for Future Women in Leadership

Apr 17, 2024 9:30 AM ET

Kate Calero is a Director of Field Sales for Henkel Adhesive Technologies, a champion for women in leadership, and an advocate for neurodivergent professionals. From helping her team overcome obstacles to fostering a healthy and supportive work environment for future leaders, Kate effectively demonstrates her pioneering spirit.

Our purpose is what unites us at Henkel North America: Pioneers at heart for the good of generations. Our pioneering spirit is reflective of the diverse backgrounds, experiences and talents of our employees and partners. They dare to make an impact on the world by collaborating to tackle challenges, find solutions and open new perspectives.

Their contributions allow us to deliver products, services and innovations that enrich and improve everyday life. We invite you to “meet” our pioneers in our series, “Pioneers for Good”.

Kate’s interest in sales was sparked over 18 years ago when one of her college professors advised the women in the class, “If you decide to pursue a career in sales get into something big, expansive, and technical and you will always have opportunities and potential for growth because there is a shortage of women in those industries.” Kate has since built a career in General Manufacturing & Maintenance sales, a historically male-dominated space, with a spirit of mentorship, community, volunteerism, and courage to pave a way for future leaders.

A Culture of Mentorship

Within Henkel Adhesives Technologies, Kate leads a team of Maintenance, Repairs and Overhaul (MRO) and General Manufacturing (GM) sales professionals who serve customers across Michigan and Indiana. Kate's leadership style is deeply rooted in mentorship, influenced by the impactful guidance she received from men and women leaders throughout her career. “At the start of my career, there weren’t many women in the field, but the few we had were amazing,” she reflects. "I had the opportunity to learn from them and progress towards my career goals." Recognizing the scarcity of female mentors, Kate is committed to paying it forward, instituting mentorship programs for new sales associates and creating inclusive onboarding processes to nurture a sense of community. And she is recognized by her peers and leaders.

“Kate is an authentic and inspirational sales leader consistently achieving excellent business results while also being an incredible mentor and advocate to empower more women in leadership,” said Rob Bertok, President Henkel Canada, Vice President NA General Manufacturing & Maintenance.

As more women rise to leadership roles in sales, Kate sees an opportunity to contribute to building a more diverse industry.

It’s my responsibility to leave the path to leadership for women smoother than I found it.

Kate Calero, Director of Field Sales, Great Lakes Region

Encouraged by the positive reception from new team members, Kate remains open and accessible, ready to share her insights, so everyone has the tools to achieve their full potential together.

Uplifting Neurodivergent Professionals

Kate’s advocacy and mentorship extends beyond women to another group that is very personal to her. Growing up with ADHD, Kate remembers having high energy and found organization and time management challenging. "I had to work harder and study longer to achieve the goals and the education that I wanted," she recounts. "People with ADHD can make excellent sales professionals with the ability to connect with people on a different level and leverage their strengths of high energy, creativity, and multitasking.”

Kate is an advocate of the untapped potential within neurodivergent individuals. Understanding a broader societal shift towards acceptance, she applauds organizations like Henkel for providing resources for mental health and raising awareness of visible and invisible disabilities within the workplace. She hopes that sharing her story will contribute positively to the ongoing conversation surrounding neurodiversity and mental health.

Nurturing Community Beyond Henkel

Outside of work, Kate is a dedicated mother who fervently supports the accomplishments of her children. Her daughter is a junior at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, an environment with a low representation of women. Kate applies her leadership skills on a team of volunteers who help guide aspiring Naval Academy students and families through the application process.

Her volunteerism is anchored in the importance of encouraging allyship so everyone can excel. “If you can see it, you can be it," she stated, emphasizing the importance of representation for aspiring young women. "I want them to see that," she added. Moreover, she emphasized the significance of engaging young men. "I want to help them understand what it means to work alongside a woman, and respect her as an equal," she affirmed.

What it means to be a pioneer at heart for the good of generations is simple for Kate. “It is someone who forges ahead, overcoming obstacles and staying committed to doing the good work that is inevitably going to create a smoother, clearer path ahead for all generations that come next.”