Get in Where You Fit In-And Win

By Jeffers, Glenn | Black Enterprise, May 2001 | Go to article overview

Get in Where You Fit In-And Win


Jeffers, Glenn, Black Enterprise


Kodak's Paula Calloway proves persistence pays off

It took Paula P. Calloway four years to break into Eastman Kodak. In January 1989, a position as a chemical technician in research and development finally opened up. But, as luck would have it, there was a catch: It was a supplemental (temporary), six-month gig. But Calloway didn't mind. Six months would be all the time she needed to prove herself to the management team.

* Did it her way: Now, 12 years later, Calloway, a biological scientist by trade, is heading the corporate customer satisfaction department for a company that earned more than $14 billion in sales in 2000. "At the risk of sounding arrogant, I didn't think that it was too much of a risk," Calloway said of that first job. "I was committed to doing a good job, so coming in as a supplemental was no problem. [Eastman Kodak] was the place to excel in my career."

Eastman Kodak is the largest developer, manufacturer, and distributor of consumer, professional, health, and other imaging products and services. No wonder it took the then 23-year-old Calloway four years to break into the company. During those four years, she bided her time as a crisis counselor and worked at a local hospital until her big break in January 1989. But once she got in, the Jamaican-born Calloway soon discovered that staying in would be just as difficult.

* She's in ... now what? Shortly after she started at the company, Eastman Kodak laid off a huge number of people. But instead of writing a pink slip for Calloway, Kodak made her a permanent hire in June 1989 as a chemical technician within the digital and applied imaging division, where she was involved in the research and development of the chemicals used in the processing of photographic film. She eventually became the division's director in charge of health, safety, and the environment.

Calloway credits her success to her ability to bring new ideas and methods to each position she holds. "I never limited myself to the possible," she says. "If you're a hard worker and you're willing to think outside the box, then the opportunities are endless. …

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