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Meet Lori Heino-Royer
Meet Lori Heino-Royer

“Much of what I have accomplished started with me accepting that I am different than everyone around me, and I’m not afraid to act on it.”

The accomplishments Lori Heino-Royer is referring to make up an impressive list. She currently drives business innovation and the Program Management Office at Daimler Trucks North America, a role she built on her track record of intrapreneurial successes, including the company’s first iPad sales app, an internal incubator, and a strategic foresight team.

Along her unconventional career path, Lori has also reinvented her own professional identity multiple times.

Working as an order intake clerk after graduating high school, the owner told her she’d never earn a higher salary as a woman in his small company. Lori saw the situation differently. The real hurdle, she determined, was that she had not yet acquired a degree or otherwise demonstrable skill set. To overcome it, Lori decided to pursue an academic program in accounting – while parenting her baby with little support as her family was on the other side of the country. “It was my first act of bravery, and it was hard,“ she recalls. “After that, every challenge seemed manageable in comparison.”

A few years later, education was again the catalyst Lori leveraged to advance her career in a new direction beyond accounting. “I went for my MBA at Portland State and got hired at Daimler, at that time a single mom. I knew I had to get through, because I wanted to diversify myself out of being seen as just a finance person.”

Her tenacity paid off. With the credentials to back up her insights, Lori moved into sales and then project management before being promoted to her current role, where she leads a team of 25 and reports directly to the CEO.

Lori’s success in developing three distinct careers in her 15 years at Daimler also exemplifies the company’s enthusiasm for internal innovation – a facet many might not expect from an organization the size of North America’s leading commercial truck manufacturer.

As an innovator, Daimler benefits from a diversity of perspectives among its leadership. “I really don’t get excited about trucks,” Lori says, “but I find it absolutely fascinating that they represent the backbone of our entire economy.”

Rather than trying to blend in, Lori uses her unique vantage point to envision what’s next for the company.

Now she also champions others who have to forge non-traditional paths toward their educational goals. “I am a huge advocate for education, in my own department and beyond. It’s the one thing nobody can take away from you. And it gives you confidence to move forward.”

At Portland State, Lori contributes her expertise on the Center for Entrepreneurship’s Advisory Board and the PSU Alumni Board. She serves as a compelling example of what’s possible when students discover that what makes them different can become their career superpower.

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