Indiana 250: Jennifer Rumsey

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(Photo courtesy of Jennifer Rumsey)

Jennifer Rumsey is president and CEO of Cummins Inc., the world’s largest independent maker of engines and related technologies, and is on the company’s board. She has served Cummins in several leadership positions, including most recently as chief operating officer and before that as president of components and vice president and chief technical officer. Rumsey co-authored Cummins’ Destination Zero strategy, which seeks to go further, faster to reduce the greenhouse-gas and air-quality impacts of the company’s products and reach zero emissions by 2050.

First job

I worked at Baskin-Robbins as a teenager. It taught me how to make some great cakes for my daughters!

Job swap

One of my favorite parts of the job is using our products, and I love driving and fast cars. This past summer, I visited our older daughter, who was doing an internship and participating in a Society of Automotive Engineers event where they designed a small, Formula-style race car. I think I would really enjoy being a racecar driver or race engineer.

Favorite thing about being a leader

Making a real impact through our products and on our people is what drives me as a leader. At Cummins, I am committed to providing opportunities for all of our current and future employees to enhance their skills and grow their careers. We have an exciting future ahead as we navigate the energy transition, and our people are truly our engines of innovation and creativity.

Something surprising

I like dressing in ways that feel authentic to me and express my personality. As a female engineer and CEO, I already stand out in a male-dominated crowd, and I don’t want to dress a certain way just to blend in.

Favorite gadget

My treadmill desk. Exercise is important to my physical and mental well-being. It’s sometimes difficult to fit into my schedule, so I work it in throughout my day by walking on my treadmill during meetings. I also appreciate the example it sets and empowers other Cummins employees to take care of their own health and well-being.

Toughest challenge

Being a woman in a male-dominated field is a challenging, and sometimes isolating, experience. I often felt like I had to prove myself, and my worth, so I worked twice as hard and aspired to be superwoman. When a colleague asked me once why just being myself wasn’t enough, I realized that was detrimental to me and also not the role modeling I wanted to do for others, including my daughters. By leading as a real person and talking openly about what’s important to me and where I face challenges, I’m better able to balance a demanding career and the people and things in my personal life I value most.•

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