Sales Operations & Finance Management
An experienced professional, Diane Kaern has divided her career between Hewlett-Packard and Siemens AG. Most recently the global sales compensation analytics and reporting manager at Hewlett-Packard, she launched her career with Siemens as a staff accountant. Diane Kaern quickly moved up in the company and accepted new positions in different branches of the Siemens family every few years. Finally, in 2003, she began her four-year tenure as finance manager of the ultrasound division of Siemens Medical Systems in Mountain View, California. In this capacity, Kaern oversaw the department’s worldwide sales and marketing expenses, reported on the division’s assets, and analyzed mergers and acquisitions data.
After leaving Siemens AG in 2007, Diane Kaern joined Hewlett-Packard as its worldwide strategic alliances sales operations manager. Here, she handled the reporting for several of the company’s major worldwide sales alliances, implemented a sales pipeline measurement tool, and fulfilled a variety of additional department responsibilities.
Traits of Effective Communicators
Diane Kaern, a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, is an experienced sales operations and financial management professional. Having won several awards for her work over the years, she has worked for such multinational companies as Siemens AG and Hewlett-Packard Company. In the various positions she has held, Diane Kaern has clearly demonstrated her strong communication skills.
Effective communicators share a number of traits that promote their success when it comes to talking to others. One such trait is their ability to deliver a clear message without rambling or over-complicating the main point. This ensures their audience understands what they are saying and helps the presentation continue moving smoothly. One of the keys to success in this area is understanding the audience. Communication style changes depending on each individual person or group, and effective communicators can recognize this and adjust their communication accordingly. If the style does not fit the audience, the recipients may become confused about the point and communication becomes lost.
Presenting factual information is another key point for effective communication. Rather than discussing assumptions, communicators verify their information and ensure that what they convey to others stays true to the facts. Further, receiving information is as much a part of communication as presenting it is, so effective communicators must also know how to become an effective audience. In order to ensure they have all the correct information about a subject, effective communicators must be good listeners and not be afraid to ask for clarification if it is needed. Fully understanding the information makes it easier for communicators to effectively present later.
Finance Professionals Should Build Strong Communication Skills
Throughout her professional career, Diane Kaern has worked in finance and sales operations for several major multinational corporations.
As today’s finance operations take on broader responsibilities, team members must develop essential non-finance skills to help position their department and organization for success. For example, in addition to solid analytical capabilities, finance professionals need to have strong communication skills to convey the meaning behind the calculations and reports they produce. When communicating to others without a financial background, finance professionals should avoid complex language or technical jargon.
Often, finance teams must engage with a wide range of individuals across the organization. To develop strong relationships with various departments, finance professionals should improve their listening and consensus-building skills. Moreover, finance experts should understand their audience needs and adapt their reporting styles accordingly. For example, a C-level executive may need only a one-page brief on a proposed capital investment, while a line manager may require a thorough report with explanations of each major line item.
Making Better Business Decisions
Diane Kaern has built a successful career in the field of sales compensation and operations through her positions at both Siemens AG and the Hewlett-Packard Company. A proven leader, Diane Kaern is a highly effective communicator and capable of effectively working with executive management and providing unique perspectives for business decision-making.
When it comes to decision-making in business, mistakes are common at all levels of organizations. Fortunately, there are several ways you can improve your decision-making skills and reduce the number of mistakes that occur. Part of making better business decisions is accepting responsibility for mistakes you previously made. Admitting a mistake and resolving it instead of blaming allows you to look at what may have gone wrong and correct it in the future. At the same time, don’t focus too much on finding perfection. Perfection is difficult to achieve and in some situations making a decision that is more efficient than perfect is the best choice.
Defining the problem about which you need to make a decision helps you get a clear idea of the ultimate goal and promotes better choices. Still, keep in mind that not all problems are solved by a single decision, so focus more on making an actual decision. Make sure you are familiar with the strategic agenda for the company and think of a few different solutions rather than focusing all your energy on one. Being collaboratively independent also improves your decision-making because it allows you to get important information from others while still being able to act quickly without guidance from slow-moving committees.
Tips for Creating Compelling PowerPoint Presentations
An MBA graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, Diane Kaern formerly led worldwide sales compensation operations in her role as analytics and reporting manager at Hewlett-Packard. In addition to financial proficiency, Diane Kaern has cultivated professional knowledge of several computer programs, such as PowerPoint.
A staple of many business presentations today, PowerPoint slideshows provide a simple and effective means of communicating your ideas and data to your audience. However, you must ensure that you create visuals that increase the impact of your presentation instead of hindering it. There are a number of ways in which you can avoid the pitfalls that result in a boring PowerPoint presentation.
Avoid using too much text
A good presentation should act as an interesting and illustrative supplement to your ideas. Quotes, paragraphs, and full sentences force your listeners to do unnecessary reading when you will be verbally supplying crucial information. As such, you should not use more than five lines of simple text per slide to help your audience better understand and remember what you are sharing with them.
Use interesting fonts
Pay careful attention to the fonts you use in your slideshow. You can include basic sans serif fonts to easily convey your message, or make use of more interesting typefaces such as Fertigo and Veneer to increase the impact of your slides. Maintain your audience’s interest by mixing and matching up to three different fonts per presentation.
PowerPoint typically provides a wide variety of stock templates to help you create slideshows, but these can hinder both your creativity and the overall effectiveness of your presentation. Instead, design an original template using your own colors, formatting, and design aesthetics. Make your presentation even more memorable by including your company logo in the corner of each slide.
What Makes a Good Sales Leader?
A former California-based sales operations professional within the technology industry, Diane Kaern has experience working with companies such as Hewlett-Packard and Siemens. Sales operations leaders like Diane Kaern often have a set of traits that prepare them to efficiently manage sales operations, increasing revenue as well as the growth of the company.
Efficient sales leaders understand the value of positive thinking and encouragement. Being an optimistic role model for team members can go a long way toward earning company loyalty, as well as motivating employees to achieve higher sales numbers. Additionally, good sales leaders have an ability to see the bigger picture and communicate strategic plans to their teams in order to accomplish goals on a wider scale.
Lastly, an accomplished sales leader spends time getting to know his or her team so that he or she can empower them on an individual level. The sales force within a business functions through the concentrated effort of a large group of people, and the team benefits from the coaching of a leader who uniquely empowers each employee to accomplish his or her goals.
HUD's 2015 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress Statistics
When not working in the area of sales and finance, Diane Kaern focuses her philanthropic efforts toward assisting those who lack reliable housing or shelter. Homelessness affects hundreds of thousands of people in the United States each year, and the efforts of people like Diane Kaern can help ameliorate these issues.
According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) 2015 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, in January of 2015, more than 550,000 people lacked shelter on any given night. More than a third of these people were homeless alongside other family members, while the remaining 350,000 were homeless alone.
The National Alliance to End Homelessness attributes homelessness in large part to a lack of affordable housing in the United States. When homelessness happens to a family, it usually results from a death in the family, car accident, or other major crisis that causes a substantial loss of income. These families primarily require one-time help rather than sustained assistance. Homelessness also frequently affects veterans, due to mental health issues, such as posttraumatic stress disorder, or physical disabilities, both of which can affect income. Per HUD’s 2015 assessment report, veterans comprised 8 percent of the country’s homeless population. Young people who find themselves without homes usually do so due to family conflict or abuse in the household.
Individuals who face chronic homelessness account for approximately 15 percent of the country’s homeless population. High rates of mental health and substance abuse problems occur among those characterized as chronically homeless.
Cost-Effective Marketing Strategies
Diane Kaern has built a successful career as a financial management and sales compensation specialist through her work with a number of worldwide companies. A former finance manager for Siemens Medical Systems, Diane Kaern possesses extensive knowledge of sales and marketing expense management.
Every company needs an efficient marketing strategy to drive business and increase its roster of clients. Firms often designate a large portion of their annual budget to marketing efforts, but you can implement a number of cost-effective strategies without weakening your overall marketing strategy. Here are a few ways to increase awareness of your firm on a small budget:
1. Relocate to an online platform. In general, advertising makes up the majority of a firm's annual marketing budget. You can curb these costs by establishing a search engine optimization (SEO)-improved website to help potential customers find your services. Additionally, you should engage with your audience through social media accounts such as Twitter and Facebook to further increase online awareness of your company and products.
2. Reuse your content. Make the most out of the content you create by using it across several platforms. Take the same message from a particular advertising campaign and implement it in blog posts, newsletters, and videos. This saves you money while maximizing your online audience.
3. Use reviews to your benefit. You can expand your company’s presence by taking advantage of several free review sites, including Yahoo Local and Yelp. These tools will allow you to both manage and respond to your reviews. Never ignore negative reviews, as they provide a unique opportunity for you to display your adaptability and customer relation skills.
Digital Literacy and Computer Skills the Key to Modern Jobs
Years of experience in sales and finance with multi-national corporations have allowed Diane Kaern to develop a wide range of versatile job skills. As the former worldwide sales compensation analytics and reporting manager for Hewlett-Packard, Diane Kaern understands the value of computer skills in the modern workplace.
Digital literacy and proficient computer skills have become a default expectation for candidates in today’s job market. According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, at least 62 percent of Americans use the internet to perform primary job functions at work. In addition, at least 50 percent of jobs available in the United States require technology skills, and that number is expected to increase by 27 percent over the next ten years.
However, the modern job candidate requires more than a basic understanding of the internet in order to be considered a competitive prospect in the modern market. Digitization is leading companies into a new era dominated by big data and cloud computing, and the need for employees who understand social media is greater than ever.
Pundits suggest that today’s job seekers look for ways to develop more refined technology skills that will help differentiate them from their peers. At the same time, classic job skills like effective communication skills, the ability to work in teams, and a talent for leadership are still in demand.
Three Must-know Shortcuts in Microsoft Excel
Over the course of her career in sales operations, Diane Kaern has established herself as a dedicated business leader in California and beyond. A former analytics and reporting manager with Hewlett-Packard, Diane Kaern stresses the importance of strong computer skills in the modern workplace.
Perhaps no computer platform is more ubiquitous across all sectors than Microsoft Excel. Here are three shortcuts to help you handle Excel spreadsheets more quickly and efficiently:
Ctrl+PageDown to switch worksheets: use this shortcut to move between worksheets without clicking or scrolling through a long list. Conversely, Ctrl+PageUp lets you move in the opposite direction as you scroll through worksheets.
Ctrl+Arrow to find end of data: use this trick to quickly access the last row in your data set. Note that this will take you to the last occupied cell in a column, so be sure you don’t have any blank cells in your data set.
Shift+F10 to right-click: if you are using your mouse on another part of the screen, simply use Shift+F10 to open up the regular right-click menu. Use the arrow keys to find the option you want and hit Enter to select it.
Risk Management - A Vital Component of a Company’s Long-Range Strategy
Experienced manager Diane Kaern has contributed her talents to the success of a number of major corporations, including Siemens AG. During her tenure as finance manager for Siemens Medical Systems’ ultrasound division in Mountain View, California, she oversaw key metrics involved in productivity, cost-cutting, and general business operational processes. Diane Kaern’s contributions to her team assisted the company in achieving close to $800 million in sales for fiscal year 2006.
Any individual charged with optimizing a company’s profitability needs to develop a basic understanding of risk management. Simply put, risk management involves executive-level identification and assessment of risks, and the development of a plan for mitigating them. A business manager charged with risk management tries to quantify the possibility of loss in an objective way, and to create an ongoing strategy in line with the executive team’s tolerance for such risks.
Each industry, and often each company, experiences risks that are particular to its line of business. So any management plan will need to work from a global understanding of an individual company’s situation and operations.
A solid risk management plan can help a company not only to weather difficult economic times, but often to profit from them. On the other hand, neglect of this essential component of business strategy can bring serious consequences. One well-known example is the global recession of 2008, exacerbated by inadequate management of the risks inherent in loose credit.
Why Data Analytics is Important to Businesses
Diane Kaern is a graduate of the MBA program of the University of Pittsburgh and a business professional with sales operations and financial management experience. Diane Kaern has been awarded several outstanding achievement awards during her business career including from Hewlett-Packard, where she served most recently as Data Analytics and Reporting Manager.
Data analytics is generally defined as the analysis of qualitative and quantitative data to improve an organization. Businesses also use a variant of data analytics known as business analytics, which is the use of statistical processes to measure the performance of organizational programs and products. These analytics often measure business-wide profitability and sales as well.
Data analytics are important to businesses for many reasons. For instance, in addition to allowing real-time analysis of data to make faster and more accurate business decisions, analytics allow the needs of customers and consumer trends to be recognized and acted on. Today, multiple data analysis programs are available that store information in cloud-computing environments, providing cost savings over traditional data storage solutions.
The Importance of Effective Communication in the Workplace
Diane Kaern possesses more than two decades of experience in sales operations and financial management. Over the course of her career, Diane Kaern has held several leadership positions at companies such as Siemens and Hewlett-Packard. Individuals in a leadership position must possess a number of common skills to remain successful, which includes a strong understanding of the importance of communication.
Ensuring efficient communication in the workplace yields a multitude of benefits, such as building and maintaining employee relations. Positive encounters help build relationships, and communication plays a crucial role in fostering productive relationships. Good communication skills also enable employees to effectively share their ideas and opinions, which contributes to innovation and team creativity. Furthermore, happy employees tend to work more productively and express more satisfaction in their positions. Making employees feel as if their voice makes a difference contributes towards positive employee relations.
The importance of open communication applies to management and employees alike. Open communication for management means performing regular check-ins with employees, effectively communicating goals and expectations, and recognizing achievements. Furthermore, open communication means better relations between management and employees and reduced stress in the workplace.
The Master of Business Administration Programs at Katz Graduate School
Diane Kaern is a former sales compensation analytics and reporting manager for the Hewlett-Packard Company in Palo Alto, California, and her history consists of more than 25 years of experience in business. A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, Diane Kaern studied with the university’s Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business to earn her master of business administration (MBA).
Katz Graduate School of Business allows business graduate students to pursue their master’s degree through a number of versatile MBA programs. Each of the university’s programs use a rigorous, experience-based learning curriculum that provides students with the necessary skills and knowledge to thrive in the business world. Furthermore, its five MBA programs deliver the business agility required to succeed in an environment defined by volatility and speed while presenting multiple avenues that cater to student’s academic and situational needs.
Students with particular time considerations or balancing needs can select from three options: a one-year program, a two-year program, and a part-time program for working professionals balancing school and a career. The first of its kind, the one-year MBA program allows students to receive a quicker return on their investment and covers the same ground as a traditional MBA track. Students without time constraints may add internships and networking experience to their education through the two-year program.
In addition, students with broader ambitions may also enroll in the executive MBA program or seek a joint and dual degree in a number of areas. Available joint and dual degrees include engineering, law, international business, international development, information systems, and public and international affairs.
For additional information about MBA programs offered by Katz, visit business.pitt.edu/katz/mba.