Theresa L. Polachek
Theresa L. Polachek
Vice President, Corporate Communications
I’m naturally curious and always want to know more, and I think those characteristics have served me well in my career. Tell me more, tell me what you’ve done, tell me how we could do it differently. I love to hear new ideas and to dig deep, and I’m passionate about our work in corporate communications.
For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a writer. Specifically, I wanted to be a journalist—asking questions and learning more. Because I also loved sports, I planned on becoming a sports journalist. In fact, I was sports editor for John Carroll University’s newspaper for a time.
During my junior year of college, however, I started an internship at St. Vincent Charity Hospital in downtown Cleveland. While working for the director of public relations and communications, I fell in love with the profession. I loved being inside a business and working to tell its story—not only to the outside world, but also to the patients, doctors, nurses, and everyone who made the hospital run. I relied on my natural curiosity and my writing ability to develop research proposals, coordinate company events, and handle media relations. It was truly a phenomenal hands-on experience that led me on a new career path.
When I graduated, I accepted a job with a public relations agency, who I had worked with at the hospital. I knew this opportunity would give me a broad base of experience, and it did. I did plenty of writing and learned the importance of client services. I used the investigational skills that I learned in my journalism classes to get to know the clients and their challenges and used that information to create new solutions for them.
But I didn’t know that working at the agency would lead me to the next “aha moment” on my career path. It was here that I fell in love with business-to-business communications. The opportunity to get in, ask questions, and understand a manufacturing environment energized me. Knowing that I could take what I learned and make it real through storytelling, marketing materials, and events—it was like a whole new world had opened to me.
My love for the B2B world brought me to Swagelok as a writer and senior public relations specialist in 2007. I was entrusted with so many wonderful opportunities that helped me learn and grow. One of the most memorable was helping Swagelok apply for—and ultimately win—Industry Week’s Best Plant Award. There’s not one part of the organization that the application doesn’t ask you to represent, so I was literally set loose to network and gather information across the organization. It was the perfect assignment for someone who wanted to know more, and I learned so much. And it was so exciting when we won—it was such a moment for all associates to see that we are one of the top ten plants in North America. It was amazing to be a part of that process.
I’ve been fortunate to have opportunities to explore various aspects of the communications function—live events, marketing communications, corporate communications, and global brand strategy. We’ve done a lot of good foundational work to create a positive associate engagement experience, our digital experience is on track, and the customer experience is emerging. Now, we have an opportunity to ask questions and consider how these experiences converge. I’m excited to share my passion with the team so that we can all move forward together and take our good work to the next level.
Swagelok is a community anchor for manufacturing in this area, and as a member of the Swagelok Foundation, I’m excited to be involved in supporting the community. I also see an opportunity to tell more of Swagelok’s story. My vision is for our community and our customers to know Swagelok—and to want to know even more.
Outside of work, I enjoy reading, sewing, and most of all, spending time with my family. I have a wonderful husband, Steve, and two children, a daughter and a son. I don’t think you can excel in a career—let alone advance—if you don’t have a supportive partner. And Steve is truly a partner.