#WiMHearHerStory with Jessica Bloor, Inside Sales Manager, Trans-Matic
Jessica Bloor, Inside Sales Manager, Trans-Matic
#WiMHearHerStory | @WomeninMFG
At Women in Manufacturing, we are committed to supporting women in the manufacturing sector. We firmly believe that mentorship and community-building will help attract and retain women in manufacturing. As part of our mission, we feature on our blog the stories of women we admire who are currently working in manufacturing. The following is the latest installment of our "Hear Her Story" series.
Please tell our readers a little bit about your job and what your work looks like every day.
My role as inside sales manager gives me the ability to wear many hats in my department. I manage a handful of customer accounts, our sales process and systems, and a small team of two other individuals. I work in this role because I enjoy helping people, and I feel that I am able to do exactly that. I work to train and develop my employees, I try hard to go out of my way for my customers, and I enjoy building relationships with fellow coworkers.
How did you arrive at your current position? What attracted you to a career in manufacturing?
Throughout college I always told myself there was no way I'd work for a manufacturing company. I was stubborn and had these ideas in my head of what a manufacturing environment was. When it came time to interview however, I found myself speaking almost exclusively with manufacturing companies including a small job shop, a nuclear power plant, and a food manufacturing plant. I was offered a position with a bread manufacturer and thought it was a good opportunity to open my mind and try something new. Unfortunately, this first job did not convince me that manufacturing was for me. It wasn't until working for Trans-Matic that I learned that manufacturing companies can be great places to work and, in my opinion, can be a more rewarding and challenging atmosphere than other workplaces. Manufacturing isn’t just a desk job, and it doesn’t have to be just a floor job, there’s a variety of opportunities that can attract many different kinds of people and talents.
At WiM, much of our work is dedicated to refuting outdated stereotypes about the manufacturing sector: stereotypes like the workplaces are dirty and dangerous and that the field and skills required are a better fit for men. Have you encountered stereotypes like these in your education or career and how did you overcome them?
I graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering. I unfortunately did face some stereotypes through my educational career, such as you’re too pretty to be an engineer, you’re not an engineer – you’re a woman, and they only got worse when I entered the workforce. When you face adversity and stereotypes, it’s important to keep yourself grounded and have a support system of people you can rely on. When you have people in your court that can root you on through these moments, it makes all the difference – and that’s what my family and friends do for me. My stubbornness and desire to always be true to myself is what moved me past these broad generalizations. I was determined to show people I could be an engineer and work in manufacturing even though I don’t “look the part.” What the world needs to realize is that manufacturing is changing quickly, even if mindsets aren’t, and women are going to be a part of this change now and in the future.
Research shows that women, especially women in STEM fields, do better if they have a mentor. Has mentorship played any role in your career?
I have not had the privilege of formal mentorship, but I have had the advantage of having workplace sponsors and supportive coworkers. I have a boss that roots for me and helps develop my skillsets for leadership and success. I have coworkers that I look up to as leaders and have helped me through challenging times. Mentors are a great resource, especially if you can find one educated enough to know what it means to be a coach.
One of the key findings in WiM’s survey is that there is significant overlap between what young women want in careers and the attributes of careers in manufacturing today. But the survey also found that, too often, young women are not aware of the opportunities available in manufacturing. What do you think can be done to spread the word to women about career options in modern manufacturing?
From my experience, women don’t find out about opportunities in manufacturing unless they happen across these companies at career fairs like I did. It’s important to start educating children sooner in their educational careers – middle school, even elementary school. The best way to do this is for manufacturing companies to partner with schools to show real-life applications and jobs available for women in manufacturing.
Our survey also found that the majority of women in manufacturing today would recommend the sector to young women considering career options. Would you recommend a career in manufacturing? And, if so, why?
Absolutely! Manufacturing is such a rewarding environment to work in. I think it offers a lot of daily challenges that help with personal growth. Manufacturing was not what I expected for so many reasons, but it’s made me who I am today. It’s thickened my skin, taught me valuable lessons in perseverance and hard work, and opened my mind to what a career can look like other than the traditional corporate path.
Why did you decide to join Women in Manufacturing? How do you personally find value in WiM membership?
I wanted to join a network of women that could relate to my work experiences. When management proposed I attend my first WiM event three years ago, I was so excited. This past SUMMIT was even more rewarding for me because I was able to connect with the Western Michigan Chapter, and I am looking forward to getting more involved in their events.
To learn more about Trans-Matic, please visit their website here.