My Story

As one of six kids, I grew up without a dad. When I was just five years old, our father died in a tragic bus accident. It was a devastating loss for our family and my mother was left struggling to cope.

Our mother was a public high school teacher with a modest salary. She worked three jobs to make ends meet and at the same time, she went back to school to get her Ph.D. degree to advance her career. It took her 10 years to complete her education but she never complained about how hard life was. She was a strict disciplinarian but all of her six kids completed their college degree.

Despite the challenges we faced growing up, I’m grateful to have had such a strong and determined mother. She taught us that anything is possible if you set your mind to it and she instilled in us the importance of education and work ethics. Thanks to her, we were able to overcome any obstacle that came our way.

Life was tough, but our mother never gave up. She is my inspiration and I am very grateful for everything she has done for me.

Math and Me

I never liked math, but I was always good at memorizing. In elementary and high school, math was my least favorite subject. But I managed to get by by memorizing problems and its solution without understanding them. In high school, I memorized my entire geometry notes for the final exam. And it worked–I passed my geometry class!

But when I was in my second year in college pursuing an economic degree, I had an excellent professor in my first statistics course. That was my big AHA moment in math. I finally got it! I finally understood what math was all about, and it awakened the math genius in me.

From that time onwards, math was a breeze.

And unbelievable as it may seem, by the grace of God, a few years later, I was awarded an international scholarship to pursue my master’s degree in statistics!

Who would have thought that the girl who used to struggle with math would one day be getting a degree in it?

But I guess that just goes to show that anything is possible if you set your mind to it.

So never give up on your dreams, no matter how difficult they may seem. You never know what you might be capable of until you try.

Once a Teacher, Always a Teacher

It was a great feeling to be hired by my first statistics professor from college; he was also the Dean of the college. He hired me fresh out of college to teach at the university after I graduated.

I had always looked up to him, and it was an honor to work for him. He was a kind and great teacher. I learned a lot from him.

As a young teacher at the university, the first few years were tough, but I loved them. I was constantly learning new things and trying to improve my teaching skills. The students were great and I loved getting to know them.

Being quite a young teacher in a university, I sometimes pranked my first-year students by pretending to be a student before getting to the front to say I was the teacher.

I loved teaching economics, math, and statistics. It’s so fulfilling to see my students finally understand a concept after working on it for a while.

For 10 years I taught and loved every minute of it! Teaching is something I learned to love, and I’m so happy I got to do it at my alma mater.

Every day, I came to work and saw the faces of my students light up when they finally understood a concept or solved a problem. It’s such a joy to teach them and help them grow into successful adults. I am so thankful that I was given this opportunity to work with students and college faculty.

Statistical Quality Control

I was first introduced to statistical quality control during my master’s degree study. I thought the use of Statistics in manufacturing and the military was very interesting!

At that moment, I knew that this was what I wanted to do with my career.

Statistical quality control/statistical process control is a powerful tool that can be used to improve the quality of products and services. In my opinion, it is one of the most important aspects of quality management.

I am passionate about helping organizations to improve their quality through the use of statistics.

Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to help many organizations to achieve their quality goals. I am always excited to share my knowledge of statistical quality control with others and help them to realize the potential of this powerful tool.

Thus began my corporate career in continuous improvement for the next 20+ years.

Moving Around

It all started when I got my degree in statistics. I knew I wanted to help people solve problems and make improvements, so I started looking for jobs in the industry. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was lucky enough to get hired by a few different companies in different parts of the world.

At first, it was a bit challenging adjusting to new environments and cultures, but it was also really interesting learning about how different businesses operate.

And fortunately, I always had the opportunity to teach and mentor other engineers, employees, and management on how to use lean and statistical methods and tools to improve their processes and business.

I’ve now been working in various industries for years, and each experience has been unique and exciting.

I’ve met so many amazing people and learned new things that I never would have known otherwise.

Life threw me a Curveball...

I remember the day our company was sold out. It was a pretty big shock; we all knew things were tough, but nobody expected it to go that route.

I guess the writing had been on the wall for a while, and trying to find another job in a fast-declining post-dot-com burst economy was like looking for a needle in a haystack.

It was an incredibly stressful time for me and my young family; we didn’t know how we were going to make ends meet.

The Certification

But, fortunately, it was around this time that Six Sigma Certification was becoming more popular. And since I had a lot of experience with statistical process control, it was a perfect fit for me.

So there I was, studying like crazy for the ASQ Six Sigma Black Belt certification. It was a rigorous process, but it was all worth it in the end. The certification gave me the recognition of the skills and knowledge I needed to really make a difference in my career.

Since getting Black Belt certified in 2003, I’ve been hired by some of the biggest companies in the world and have had really exciting opportunities come my way. Honestly, I don’t know where I’d be without that initial Six Sigma Black Belt certification.

It’s been a real game-changer for me.

Coming a Long Way . . .

Today, I am President of my own consulting and training company, Variance Reduction International (VRI).

I love helping people. I want to help empower people to learn critical thinking skills that will last a lifetime. I want to help them solve their business and personal problems with confidence.

My company provides training and consulting services using Lean and Six Sigma methods, as well as Continuous Improvement techniques. We help people learn how to think critically and creatively so they can solve problems on their own with confidence.

I enjoy helping others, and I am passionate about teaching critical thinking skills in problem-solving. My company is a great way for me to share my knowledge and skills with others, and make a difference in their lives.

This Blog

I started this blog as a way to share my knowledge and experience with others. I want to help people learn about Lean and Six Sigma methods, and how they can be used to improve their businesses and lives.

I’ll be sharing tips, tricks, and techniques that I’ve learned over the years, as well as case studies of how Lean and Six Sigma, and Continuous Improvement have been used to improve businesses.

I will also be sharing tips and insights on how we can apply the principles of continuous improvement to our personal lives, so we can live happier and more fulfilled lives.

I hope you enjoy the blog, and I welcome your comments and feedback! 

Thank you for reading!

Sincerely yours,

MM Sig

Maria Milo