Anne Shybunko-Moore is the President and Owner or GSE Dynamics, a defense manufacturing company on Long Island, NY, supplying complex structural assemblies to the United States Army, Navy, and Air Force, as well as prime to Boeing, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Sikorsky. She is also a daughter, a wife and mother to four boys (ages 6,10,11, and 13).
What motivated you to start your business?
I am a second generation owner. GSE was founded in 1971 by my father Daniel who worked 25 years at Grumman. We then created a strategic plan to grow and expand the capabilities to enable GSE to sustain its position in the defense market.
What is the greatest barrier you faced in launching your business and how did you overcome it?
I had a change of career from physical therapist to manufacturing and many of the employees had known me since I was quite young. The obstacle was to learn the business and the products, while at the same time earn the respect of my employees. I surrounded myself by the most knowledgeable people and was not afraid to ask a lot of questions.
Do you have a mentor? How did you find him/her?
My father has been my mentor and role model for my entire life. The lessons started early as to what kind of person to be, and how to use your personal attributes to find happiness in your career. As a little girl, I went to GSE with my Dad every Saturday and would have special times with him learning about what he did at work and seeing all the machines and manufactured parts in the shop. Now I am fortunate enough to work with my Dad every day while he remains active in the operations of the company as the CEO. He is the epitome of a leader and an entrepreneur and has shown me what hard work and a positive attitude can do.
If you could go back in time to when you were first starting, what woudl you tell yourself, with the intention of avoiding mistakes and heart ache?
Be consistent in terms of establishing goals and expectations. Ensure that you have a process driven company with a clear path for action items and accountability. Corporate communication is critical at all phases of a company.
What does success look like for you?
From a career perspective I am happy to have a successful manufacturing company with employees that enjoy coming to work every day. Most importantly I value the ability to maintain a balance with my family and the business. Success for me is really about staying healthy, enjoying family, and enjoying what I do every day.
What do you do to recharge?
Although I do not have a lot of spare time, I do make time to decompress and allow myself to relax. I value the 30 minute car ride I have from work to home and take that time alone to reflect on the day and mentally change roles from President of a manufacturing company to wife and mother of four boys. Running has always been an outlet for me and a relaxing activity I enjoy alone or with company. I try to spend as much time with my husband, kids, and other family. I enjoy simple pleasures, going for walks, playing ball in the yard or snuggling up and reading books with the boys.
What’s your advice for a woman that’s considering starting her own business?
One thing I always tell people emerging in business is that every business owner needs the crucial triad of support – banker, accountant, and attorney. This team of support is critical, not only for the obvious skills they possess, but if there is a strong sense of trust and commitment with this team, one can feel confident in the decision making process if there are people to talk with. In addition to that support, nurture relationships with people in all different areas of focus to support you in any questions you have. For a woman starting her own business – be confident, but recognize your own strengths and weaknesses and structure your style around those to maximize good results.