Nurture and Value Your Relationships: You Never Know Who is Working Behind the Scenes to Support You – An Interview with Dr. Aleta Richards

Aleta has spent her entire career at the same organization, but it’s not what you think. She has been able to carve out a career that is both broad and deep because she was (1) open to opportunity (2) worked to prove her capability/reliability and (3) had both supporters and sponsors working on her behalf. Listen to her guidance on how to build a career where you are…if you are willing to say ‘yes’ to opportunities that may seem farfetched.


About the Guest:

Aleta Richards is head of the Coatings, Adhesives & Specialties (CAS) sales and market development business unit for Covestro LLC. In her role, Richards leads the North American CAS business and serves as a member of the Covestro U.S. Country Council.

Having started her career at Covestro (then part of Bayer) in 1990, Aleta is well acquainted with the organization and brings to the role more than 25 years’ experience in marketing, sales, product management, human resources and general management. She has held various leadership positions throughout the company, including time spent in the Polyurethanes and Inorganic Basic Chemicals businesses. Aleta also served as head of the Bayer U.S. HR/Services organization, which provided HR administrative services for roughly 14,000 Bayer employees. Most recently, Aleta served as head of regional product management for the North American Polycarbonates business.

Aleta supports two employee resource groups – ACCESS, an internal network for African American employees, and CHAMPS, another employee resource group for employees, who are serving or have served in the military.  She also co-hosts leadership and cultural exploration sessions for multiple employee groups throughout the global organization.

In recognition for her efforts, Aleta recently joined the class of 2018 Women of Excellence award recipients by the New Pittsburgh Courier, received the Pittsburgh Most Powerful and Influential Women Award by the National Diversity Council and a Minority Achievers Award from Talk Minority Advocacy Group.

A Pittsburgh native, Aleta received both her bachelor’s degree and M.B.A. in marketing and international business from the University of Pittsburgh. She has also just received a Doctorate in Business Administration from Georgia State University. She continues to support the PITT Community as the Vice President of Operations for the PBAN Board of Directors, a group dedicated to ensuring diversity within the Katz Business School MBA Program and as a Board member of the Pittsburgh Promise.

Aleta and her husband, Frank, currently reside in Robinson Township, Pennsylvania.


Personal Links:

About the Host:

Laurel Rutledge’s human-centered approach, empathy, and understanding of individual needs make her a top-notch personal advisor and women’s leadership coach.

Her care and compassion have made her an indispensable guide for countless women navigating the next phases of their lives and careers. Add to that her intimate knowledge of the HR landscape, and it becomes clear why her HR clients have had such transformative experiences. Just as Rutledge has helped countless others get out of their rut and off of the ledge, so too can she help you.

After receiving her MBA, Laurel moved from accounting and consulting to human resources, driven by a desire to do good in a business environment. It quickly became apparent that the switch had been a good choice — she flourished professionally and became happier, satisfied with the difference she could make through her work.

After a 30-year career, she left the corporate world, but her passion for HR and helping others has only grown. Now, she works one-on-one with clients, leveraging her experience in leadership and personal development to help them get the most of out their lives and careers.

From her beginnings as a consultant at Deloitte to her time as VP of HR at Covestro, Laurel has seen more sides of the business world than most. She’s achieved technical mastery of HR, with a deep knowledge of the rules and regulations that must be followed.

She’s also a people person, perceptive and outgoing, with a sixth sense for helping others to see the difference between what they want and what they need. The culmination of this is in her personal philosophy: “lead with your heart, act with your head.”

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