Throughout the month of March, WQP is sharing Q&A’s with outstanding women in the water quality industry in honor of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day. Get to know fabulous women in water as they share their background, accomplishments, passions and more, and join us in celebration of their voices. Meet Jennifer Diener, group president for Pentair Residential Filtration.
Read other 2022 Women in Water Q&As:
- Meet Blanca Salgado of DuPont
- Meet Emily Watkins of Jason’s Water Systems
- Meet Nichole Pennisi of Graver Technologies
How did you become involved in the water industry?
My first job out of college was working for Ametek Water Treatment in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, as a technical writer and marketing manager. The business was sold to Culligan while I was working there, so in addition to the American Plumber and Ametek brands, I also helped to launch a Culligan-branded POU filtration portfolio to the retail/DIY market. The division was later sold to Pentair, and the products manufactured there form the core of the Pentek filtration line that is part of the Residential Water Treatment business that I manage today. I actually work with several of the same team members that I started with in Sheboygan … it’s a small world!
After leaving Culligan, I worked for the Kohler Company for 17 years in a variety of product management, brand, and general management roles within their plumbing business, before returning to the water industry to work for Pentair in 2019. At Kohler, I was fortunate to learn and grow with a company that understood the importance of design, brand, product innovation and omni-channel marketing to deliver great consumer experiences. I’m happy to be able to leverage what I learned to drive the residential water business at Pentair. So I’ve really spent my entire career working in the water industry — from bathtubs and showers to water softeners and filtration.
What are some of your accomplishments you are most proud of?
I was recently appointed group president of Pentair’s Residential Water Business Unit. I am excited to bring all of our categories and channels together under one talented team — from our core components product lines to our complete softening and conditioning portfolio. This month, we are excited to introduce the Pentair Rocean Reservoir, our exciting Red-Dot Award winning countertop filtration solution.
Outside of work, I have an amazing daughter. She is 14, and she made the varsity tennis team and delivered straight A’s in her first semester of high school. Those are really her accomplishments, but I’ll brag on her anyway. As board president of the Sheboygan Family Resource Center, I helped the organization introduce a county-wide program that provides every first-time parent in the county with resources and support to help their child develop in the first 3-years of life, which are critical to healthy emotional and physical development. Early child development is a passion for me. I also have 100% success rate in solving Wordles (so far).
How can mentorship play a role in elevating women in leadership? Has mentorship influenced you?
I think mentorship is important in leadership development of all kinds. I have had role models who are women, but my greatest mentors have actually been men. They presented me with stretch opportunities that leveraged my strengths but that also pushed me out of my comfort zone — and outside your comfort zone is where growth really happens. I think it is important to have mentors who push you and pat you on the back.
What's your "why water"? What drives you about your work?
My “why water” is all about the intimate role that water plays in our lives. Our bodies are 98% water. Our personal care routines — from hygiene to relaxation — revolve around water. Water is centric to dining and drinking, which is the center of our celebrations with friends and family. So by improving water in the home, we are also improving all of those things that make us who we are. That is inspiring!
Who are you when you close the laptop? A hidden talent or hobby when not working?
I love to travel. For our anniversary in September, my husband and I chartered a sailboat around the Greek Islands for a week, which was an amazing adventure. Then we spent Thanksgiving in San Francisco with my brother and his family, and we traveled to New Orleans for Christmas. I am definitely planning to make up for lost travel time in 2022.
What piece of media (books, TV shows, movies, games, podcasts, etc.) has had the greatest impact on you in the past 12 months?
When I travel, I try to pick a book about my destination, to learn something about the culture or history of the region I am visiting. Before traveling to New Orleans, I read the book "Zeitoun" by Dave Eggers, which recounted the story of a Muslim family displaced during Hurricane Katrina. It was a really harrowing story that highlighted the horrible conditions that followed the floods, but also the resilience of the residents and their passion for their city. It put the challenges we have all faced during the last year in proper perspective.