September 18, 2020
Get to Know: Nabila Rana, from English professor to HVAC leader
When Nabila Rana immigrated to the U.S. from Pakistan in 1999, she was two credits shy of earning her Master’s degree in English Literature. She planned on earning a Ph.D. and becoming a college professor. While she waited for her credits to transfer to a university in the U.S. – this was back in the snail mail days – she started working at a Trane independent wholesale distributor in inside sales. And she hasn’t looked back.
Now she’s general manager of Trane Supply’s Northeast district, and she can’t imagine doing anything else.
“Transferring my credits seemed to take forever,” Nabila said, “and by the time it was all straightened out, I liked my job in the HVAC industry so much that I wanted to stay.”
Her first job ever
This was Nabila’s first real job, and she was pretty new to HVAC at the time, too. Heating and air conditioning in her native country was limited to mini-split systems due to differences in construction, so she had a big learning curve ahead for ducted systems, furnaces and other types of HVAC. It was a small hurdle, and one her manager helped her over by recommending training sessions to get Nabila up to speed.
“I was so naïve that I had to ask what HVAC stands for,” she said. “But my manager took me under his wing and became my mentor. Just about everything I learned surprised me – I knew so little when I started – but I really enjoyed understanding how these systems work. I never want to assume anything. I think this quest for knowledge made me really good at my job.”
Fast forward 20 years
Nabila spent nearly 20 years working her way up in the HVAC industry, specializing in parts and supplies. She joined Trane Supply in January 2018 for the continued growth opportunities. She now oversees the 27 Trane Supply stores and three express warehouses in the Northeast district, and has 10 direct reports, with about 130 team members in all.
“The opportunity for growth at Trane Technologies is unbelievable,” Nabila said. “I’ve worked in several large HVAC companies over the years, and it’s clear that the industry is male-dominated. The way Trane Technologies foresters growth, encourages female leaders and strives for gender parity – I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Nabila completed training in sales excellence, retail management excellence and situational leadership. She’s now enrolled in Trane Technologies’ Women in Leadership program.
Learning is crucial for success
“I feel that, because I’m a woman, I’ve had to prove myself as a leader,” Nabila said, “and I constantly prove myself in order to keep succeeding. I do this by working hard, sharing the knowledge I’ve accumulated over the years and continuing to learn.
“It’s important to keep learning – I believe this is the only way to progress. Knowledge is always at our fingertips, and if you’re not learning, you’re missing out – bigtime.”