Crisis Management Specialist - Sheah Hilton


This article is from the “Cummins: All Access” series, a compilation of unique, reality-based stories featuring Cummins employees. The series is designed to give a behind-the-scenes perspective of Cummins employees as they develop their careers.

Each day around the world, Cummins faces the challenge of reducing risk and threats to the corporation.  Some threats are unpreventable, such as natural disasters.  Other threats are preventable - if the right employees with the proper experience are on the case.  Sheah Hilton is the type of high-potential employee who is consistently challenged with executing during times of great exposure to the Company.
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Sheah, a graduate of DePauw University, started working with Cummins in 2011. Her role has evolved into a Crisis Management Specialist, handling large-scale, global security events that affect employees, facilities and surrounding communities. Sheah’s team-based approach succeeds by simultaneously connecting the functions of the company to information and process.
Sheah’s day begins earlier than normal this morning with an unscheduled call to the security director in a region impacted by an overnight typhoon.  The purpose of the call is to bring together a response team to discuss what happened, who was impacted and what the team’s next steps are. 
“Our cross-functional team has been trained to execute in times of distress.  We begin with understanding the details and formulating communication to the leadership team.  It’s important that everyone understands the impact a crisis might have on our employees as well as our community.”
As the call proceeds, it becomes apparent that Cummins business was not directly affected, but unfortunately the community was. Sheah’s team begins gathering information for what will become the action plan for responding to employees’ questions and concerns, and coordinating Corporate Responsibility resources.  The goal is to quickly gather as many details as possible and effectively communicate with concerned employees.
“I’m able to work with every department and every region around the world. It empowers you to make decisions and think strategically about the support we’re entrusted with at Cummins. We have a network of people empowering our success. Even though I manage the process, I’m thankful to work with a team who is really good at what we do.”
After the call, Sheah works with the various team members through phone calls and email to confirm the communication strategy. Sheah realizes every detail is important since Cummins employees will use the communication as a guide to get involved in the recovery efforts.
After a fast-paced morning, the department goes out to lunch together.  It’s a network of camaraderie and support where she can bounce ideas off of her colleagues or simply laugh and enjoy each other’s company.
As the afternoon returns to a more normal pace, Sheah leads a strategy call with the United Kingdom Health & Safety team.  The conversation involves aligning crisis management processes with other safety procedures to ensure a safe working environment for employees.  She appreciates the diversity of the company and enjoys connecting with employees around the world.
“My role is unique because most everything we do is global and cross-functional, so we’re using collaborative technology and video conferencing. In any given week, I’m talking with people from different cultures and countries around the world.”
Next, Sheah has a Six Sigma meeting with a project team responsible for aligning corporate jet travel processes with Cummins security capabilities. The team is refining the process of providing intelligence to employees when traveling on the corporate jet, especially to high risk locations. 
“The Six Sigma tools help us stimulate ideas from the team. You’re collaborating on important strategic decisions that affect many people, which is real world career development and I enjoy that.  It pushes you to analyse the problem from all angles of our business.”
Late in the afternoon, Sheah has an impromptu conversation and reconnects with members of her team about the morning typhoon situation.  Once everyone is in alignment, she returns to her desk for free time to work on upcoming projects.  She puts on her headphones and practices Spanish through her online training program in preparation for an upcoming business trip to Mexico.
“There’s a lot of exposure to different regions at Cummins. You’re encouraged to gain diverse experiences and it makes me want to learn about my teams and their culture. I feel good about growing and trying new things to connect with my colleagues.”
As she leaves the office, Sheah is off to meet her Little Sister from a local Big Brothers Big Sisters program.  She appreciates Cummins value of corporate responsibility and the time away to give back to local underprivileged youth.  Sheah’s Little Sister is very excited about spending time with her at a local professional basketball game.
“It is great working at Cummins.  I honestly can’t imagine working anywhere else.”