Employee Spotlight: Pina Vandersleen

Pina Vandersleen
Pina Vandersleen

Program Administrator, Sanmina Ottawa

Can you tell us about your career background and current responsibilities at Sanmina?

Ever since I was very young, I wanted to work in the high tech industry. My first job was at a data communications company called Gandalf Technologies, where I held roles across Purchasing, Customer Service and Marketing. Then I held roles in Account Management and Program Administration at networking communications companies Entrust and Filtran, prior to joining Sanmina.

I’ve been in my position as Program Administrator at Sanmina Ottawa for the past 15 years and it has evolved a great deal over that time, with increasing levels of responsibility. I currently work as the key Sanmina lead for two of our big customers, Ciena and Nokia, to ensure a healthy business relationship and to proactively resolve any customer care issues. In addition to maintaining consistent and open communications, I manage their contracts, book orders, handle shipments, validate purchase orders, manage forecast changes, develop corporate metrics and ensure payment.

Whenever our customers need assistance, I am here for them. If I don’t have the answer they need, I find the right the right people or resources to help them out. I also act as a key point person for colleagues at other Sanmina plants that are managing similar programs.

What do you enjoy most about working at Sanmina?

I love my job and the group of people that I work with. At times it can be challenging when you aren’t sure what resource to tap to resolve an issue, but I like tackling these situations and ensuring a good outcome for the customer.

The most gratifying aspect of my role is when a customer directly acknowledges my contributions. A few years ago, one of my customers had a last minute but very critical shipment that had to go out late at night. I made the extra effort to go back into the office and make all of the arrangements. The next day, the customer sent a message directly to Sanmina management, letting them know that I truly had gone above and beyond to meet their needs.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

I take pride in knowing our customers very well and being able to find the right solutions to their problems. It’s all about building trust by acting with honesty and integrity. They know they can count on me to help them get what they need, even if I have to put in some extra legwork to find the right solution. I’m also grateful for the excellent rapport I’ve built with many colleagues across Sanmina.

Another aspect I’m proud of is how I’ve been able to successfully collect money for our services. Accounts receivable activities can be very hard. I’ve managed to keep my customer AR accounts very clean by quickly resolving any discrepancies so that payments are always made on time. I’m super proactive with customers regarding the status of their shipments, making it easy for them to send payment.

Pina with her husband and Son
Pina with her son and husband.

What person has inspired you most?

My very first boss at Sanmina did an excellent job of providing me with the guidance and resources that I needed to build my confidence and to be successful. He gave me room to make mistakes so that I could learn from them. His strong belief in my character and decision making ability are a big part of why I’ve been able to excel in this role over the years.

What do you like doing outside of work?

I love spending time with my family, including my husband an my son. I also have extended family with five sisters and 15 nieces and nephews. Ironically, I met my husband at Sanmina and he’s currently the Warehouse Manager in Ottawa, so we’re keeping it in the family!

I also belong to a gourmet club with six girlfriends. We’ve been doing this activity for the past 10 years and absolutely love it. Once a month, we get together and make a themed dinner. It’s fun and relaxing. My other hobbies include gardening and aqua fitness.