Featured Employee: Lily Bembenek

Lily Bembenek and Professional Club

One of A. O. Smith’s longest-serving employees, Lily Bembenek, has more than 47 years of stories, compassion, and vast knowledge of A. O. Smith. Having worked in a number of various departments to her present position as Executive Assistant in Human Resources, Public Affairs, IT and Corporate Planning, she has been a key player in the success of A. O. Smith.  

Get to know Lily…

Q: Where are you originally from?
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Q: When did you start working for A. O. Smith?
June 17, 1968. Eight years later, my son was born on June 17, 1976. 

Q: A little known fact about yourself.
I try to always be happy and positive! I’m known to be a happy person and I truly enjoy making others happy; it makes for a great day.  
Q: What hobbies do you have outside of A. O. Smith?
I like to sew, bake cookies, cakes or any dessert. Although my children are both adults now and have their own lives, I always enjoy spending time with them and my granddaughter. 

Q: What do you like best about working here?
A. O. Smith gives me the opportunity to work with the best of the best people who are all enthused about working together to contribute to the success of the organization.

Q: What’s the most interesting part of your job?
I make meetings happen! But not only meetings, a part of my job that I enjoy the most is event planning. I’ve been able to plan trips and events for internal and external people, and it’s always so exciting to see an event or meeting unfold and become a success. 

Q: What is your key motivation?
Something that gets me to come to work every day is the people and the projects I’ve been fortunate enough to work on. The projects I am involved with allow me to have constant exposure to all of A. O. Smith and all of the people from across the globe. I can’t say this enough, but the people within the organization really help make my job so much better. 

Q: Tell me about an accomplishment(s) you’re most proud of while working at A. O. Smith.
I am proud of the longevity of my career with A. O. Smith. I’ve been given countless opportunities to personally advance myself within the company, from obtaining a Bachelor’s degree through the tuition reimbursement program, to being able to work with a lot of departments across the organization. My ultimate goal while working at A. O. Smith is to celebrate 50 years of service

Q: Which of the A. O. Smith Values do you identify most closely with?

I’ve always been about taking care of one another. In my current role I report to three senior level executives, and I assist in helping them make travel arrangements, plan meetings, and ultimately help make their job easier. Walking into A. O. Smith, you notice that everyone takes care of one another – it truly is a great environment a company can have. 

Q: Who inspires you inside or outside of the company?
Rather than being inspired, I always want to inspire others to try to always be happy, try to have a positive attitude, and try to be the best that they can be. 

Q: Have you participated in any training or development programs you felt were useful?
To keep a mind active, one has to challenge oneself to learn new things. One of the many opportunities of working at A. O. Smith is the opportunity to learn new skills.  Recently, I signed up for a Mandarin class which meets once a week during the noon hour. Although I am fluent in speaking a branch of Cantonese, the ability to learn Mandarin was going beyond my comfort zone.  The difference between Cantonese and Mandarin is comparable to the difference between French and Spanish. This development program has been one of the most rewarding experiences, which will help me in my role as a meeting planner.

Q: What is the wisest thing anyone has ever told you and how has it helped you?
My former boss (when I was working in Public Relations with A. O. Smith) told me, “…if plan A goes horribly wrong, then go to plan B.” These words have resonated with me throughout my career to help me be successful in my roles with A. O. Smith. 

Q: If you could meet any person, dead or alive, who would it be?
I have always been intrigued by short, meaningful words to enlighten my life, so one famous person I would like to have met would have been Confucius. He was an influential Chinese philosopher, teacher and political figure known for his popular aphorisms and for his models of social interaction. One of his famous sayings is why I’ve been with A. O. Smith for as long as I have:

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” - Confucius