Hear  Her Story


Hear
Her Story

#WiMHearHerStory

At WiM, are committed to supporting women in the manufacturing sector and firmly believe that mentorship and community-building will help attract and retain female talent. As a part of our mission, we feature the stories of WiM members we admire who are currently working in manufacturing.

 

Our Last 12 Issues

APR
04
#WiMHearHerStory with Veronica Braker, Vice President of Operations for Performance Materials, BASF Corporation
 
Veronica Braker, Vice President of Operations for Performance Materials, BASF Corporation
#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.
I am currently the vice president of operations for performance materials at BASF.  I have operational responsibility for 18 facilities.  I have strategic oversight to ensure that the facilities run safely and efficiently. This includes capital planning, asset effectiveness and people development. Like most folks in manufacturing roles, there is rarely a day that looks the same.  Process safety is a key focus for us, so I have daily process safety discussions which include incident investigations, project reviews and plant walkthroughs.  I also spend a lot of time with our cross-functional leadership team to collaborate on product performance, growth opportunities and operational opportunities to keep us competitive.


How did you arrive at your current position?  What attracted you to a career in manufacturing?

I received my degree in Chemical Engineering.  During my studies, I had the opportunity to intern with several manufacturing companies.  I worked with Shell during my sophomore year, Proctor and Gamble my junior year, and Quaker Oaks Chemical during my senior year.  I simply fell in love with manufacturing plants and the environment.  I love the fast pace.  I like to make changes and see the results very quickly. I have had the opportunity to learn and work with some amazing teams and people. There is nothing more energizing than working through an urgent and immediate issue with a group of highly motivated folks, or finally making a process improvement that addresses a decade-long performance issue.


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?
Absolutely.  In my first job out of school, I had an operator tell me that the plant was no place for a woman, and that he would never allow his wife, mother or daughter to work in a plant.  I was honestly in shock.  After that day, I made it my mission to spend as much time with him as possible.  I would put him on my project teams, and I would join his plant audit teams.  I drove him crazy.  It took almost a year, but he eventually came to me on his own and apologized for his comment.  He explained to me that he was just protective of women.  I found that, as long as I was comfortable and confident, I was accepted.


Research shows that women, especially women in STEM fields, do better if they have a mentor.  Has mentorship played any role in your career?
 
Yes.  I always tell people to get a mentor and be a mentor.  Mentorship is so important.  I have had multiple mentors throughout my career, formal and informal.  They provide feedback, coaching, encouragement, challenge and support.  They keep you stretching!


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?
 
It is critical to start a lot earlier than we have in the past.  We need to be present and active in STEM programs from the elementary school level. We need to support programs that train our science teachers, as they are one of the first and most critical introduction to STEM.    We need to be present in branding at conferences and career fairs.  We should be encouraging our companies to have active programs that target women specifically for internships and other opportunities to have rich experiences.


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? 
Yes, I absolutely recommend a career in manufacturing.  It’s challenging, rewarding and the skills you exercise day in and day out prepare you to successfully take on complex problems.  You learn to communicate and collaborate with people at all levels of the organization. You become comfortable in making decisions and using data to drive results.


Why did you decide to join Women in Manufacturing? How do you personally find value in WiM membership?

I decided to join for the networking, and the opportunity for continuous learning.  The industry trends are always changing, and we are most effective when we understand how to predict and navigate.  It also focuses on personal and professional development, which is important for continued growth. Sometimes, you just need a sounding board and the comfort of knowing that you’re not alone.

APR 04, 2018
APR
04
#WiMHearHerStory with Cindy Logan, Senior Manager of Tobacco Processing, John Middleton Company, an Altria Co.
 
Cindy Logan, Senior Manager of Tobacco Processing, John Middleton Company, an Altria Co.
#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.
I am the senior manager of tobacco processing for John Middleton Company, an Altria Co. I lead and manage a team of about 60 hourly and salaried employees to responsibly process tobaccos for the manufacture of Black and Mild brand products. My job responsibilities range anywhere from counseling employees on personal decisions to developing employees on reaching their maximum capability, to assuring the thought processes and actions are compliant with our company’s policies from the water we use to the tobacco we bring in and the handling of our waste products. A very large portion of my job and the piece I probably enjoy the most is looking for opportunities to continue to engage the employees in better understanding the business, appreciating the work we do and positively impacting the bottom line.


How did you arrive at your current position? What attracted you to a career in manufacturing?

More than 28 years ago, I started at Philip Morris USA as a front line supervisor. I have had many leadership opportunities in production, quality and production support. After about 20 years at Philip Morris and following the acquisition of John Middleton Inc., I was afforded the opportunity to start up the Quality Assurance and Records Management Department for JMI (now known as JMC) company. I performed those duties for approximately 1.5 years and was then promoted to plant manager of the King of Prussia Tobacco Processing plant. As a child, I always liked “putting things together,” hence wanting to get a degree in engineering. A few friends and mentors mentioned to me that manufacturing would be a great career for a woman with my personality and background. I looked into it and lo and behold I’ve never left it and have been truly blessed and rewarded in all aspects of my life.


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?

Coming into manufacturing over 25 years ago there were many stereotypes and obstacles to overcome. The safe workplace requirements are more stringent now and ergonomically safer to help all body types, man or woman. My parents raised me and my siblings to give it your all, no matter what you were doing so at the end of the day you could look yourself in the mirror and say I did my best. There were many situations I faced, be it if I was not selected to be groomed for the next level (because I was a woman) or if my fear of heights creeped in as I had to climb on equipment to perform checks. I refused to give up and/or give in. I didn’t get that opportunity I thought I wanted at the next level, but I was promoted to the manager (three levels up) of that department. Maybe the promotion came because I was a woman, (some people have said that), but I proved to my management that I had the stamina, the perseverance, the leadership, the personality, and the known how to do the job.


Research shows that women, especially women in STEM fields, do better if they have a mentor. Has mentorship played any role in your career?

Yes, I’ve been fortunate to have many mentors to guide and coach me along my educational and professional career path. They not only served as mentors but in some cases as sponsors. I was very fortunate to have a college professor as well as a neighborhood friend care enough about me to assist me in getting valuable internships that provided me with real life experiences. During my tenure at Altria, I’ve experienced having both male and female mentors. I believe it’s important to get insight and guidance from both sides, the more diverse the thought process the more perspectives you have to draw from. Some of those mentors are retired or have moved on to other companies but I still share a closeness with them that is treasured. So in the end I also received a confidant and friend. I strongly believe that a mentoring partnership is two ways and it’s possible for both parties to benefit.


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?

We as women in manufacturing need to look for venues to explain and highlight the opportunities and rewards in the field of manufacturing. I think society as a whole is coming back to manufacturing, not the way it used to be but modern manufacturing. I’m hearing more about programs that are supporting STEM activities and events for girls. For example, the movement for Million Women Mentors is nationwide and is continually looking for groups to help support and mentor young ladies in STEM-related educational fields and careers. We as women in manufacturing see, sometimes even within our own companies, the opportunity to increase the talent in the pipeline. So I encourage all of us to expose our daughters, nieces, neighbors and cousins to the modern way of manufacturing and show them what a terrific and rewarding place it is to work.


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?

Yes, I would recommend manufacturing as a career option. I’ve been afforded a lifestyle that I may not otherwise have had. I’ve had opportunities to travel overseas with my company and be involved in leadership initiatives to help further develop and engage our employees. It was this type of involvement that led me to what I know and understand to be my passion. Yes, I have to understand process flows, equipment and product requirements, but I also am involved in developing and coaching employees. There are so many different aspects to manufacturing (analytical sciences, quality control, marketing, logistics, procurement, continuous improvement, research and development, regulatory affairs, community affairs, government affairs, etc.) that any young lady could find her niche in manufacturing and be very happy.


Why did you decide to join Women in Manufacturing? How do you personally find value in WiM membership?

Our company Employee Resource Group (ERG) is also called Women in Manufacturing (WiM) and as the Program Lead I was looking for resources to assist us in quality programming. I was elated to find WiM and its many resources. Our company is a corporate member and has been for the last two years. It’s been a pleasure becoming more involved with the organization and the people who run it. We utilize some of the programming to gain insights into the marketplace as well as to introduce our members to networking outside of our organization.
APR 04, 2018
SEP
25
#WiMHearHerStory with Sasha Cubero, Trainee at West-Conn Tool, Inc.
 
Sasha Cubero, Trainee at West-Conn Tool, Inc.
#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 job at West Conn Tool is a part-time position as a trainee. I am starting off in quality control as an inspector to gain a better understanding and appreciation of how important it is to maintain quality in all jobs for every customer. I inspect various parts in numerous ways such as: micrometer, comparator, caliper, gage pins, CMM machine, height gage, etc. My job is to make sure that each part I inspect reaches blueprint requirements for that particular job. If the part fails to reach the requirements (be out of tolerance), it is my job to inform the machine operator(s) of the issue. Quality control is typically seen as the backliner, because it is the last department to ensure that the parts meet customer specifications before being shipped out.


How did you arrive at your current position?  What attracted you to a career in manufacturing?
I attended a program at Housatonic Community College named Advanced Manufacturing of Technology Center (AMTC for short). It is an intensive 9-month program that provides an entry level understanding of manufacturing and what it encompasses going to a field that is very involved with machinery and instruments used to measure parts. It provides classroom learning and hands-on training on various machines. I learned about manufacturing through two people I know from my personal life who have also attended the program, and they both came out with jobs right after they graduated. Within a couple of months, they managed to get their own places, and this inspired me to try out manufacturing in the hopes of getting a better job.


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?
The stereotypes are indeed outdated and untrue. Most if not all manufacturing companies are very clean and are required to maintain OSHA law. A manufacturing company would not survive for too long if it failed to comply with OSHA requirements. Factories are clean and the work areas are separated with yellow lines on the floor to make a nicer looking workspace. No horseplay is allowed, and machines and tools are to be maintained and clean at all times. Workers are required to wear protective gloves and steel-toed boots. Loose clothing and untied hair are violations and consequences will follow if the worker does not comply with safety rules. Lockout/tagout is another in-depth safety rule with machines. Both men and women can learn the skills necessary for this career field. It involves a basic understanding of math and how to operate a machine. I have never encountered these stereotypes, and I am the first female to work on the manufacturing floor at West Conn Tool. I am treated no differently than any man.


Research shows that women, especially women in STEM fields, do better if they have a mentor.  Has mentorship played any role in your career? 
Yes, I definitely had a mentor who played a significant role in my manufacturing training. Her name is Paula Chapla, and she is the strongest woman I have encountered in my educational experience, especially in my manufacturing program. She was my teacher for the AMTC program, and she taught me milling alongside Michael Gugger on the operating floor. As a woman who has worked at Sikorsky and has vast experience and knowledge surrounding manufacturing, Ms. Chapla taught me how important it is to be confident in yourself. I learned not to be intimidated working alongside men. Ms. Chapla has told me stories where she encountered many struggles in the manufacturing field that could bring a tear to anyone's eye. She is very happy to see how times have changed from when she first started to now seeing women starting to enter this career field. I have great admiration and respect for Ms. Chapla, not only as a woman, but as a person who surpassed many struggles and someone who demonstrates how to be head-strong.


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?
Women should really look into their local colleges to see what the school has to offer. A lot of the times, those programs have the right connections and resources to get anyone into those jobs and opportunities.


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? 
One key phrase I have learned working in manufacturing is "It depends." And I say this because it really depends on whether the person wants to do manufacturing. I chose this field to have a better job to support my passion, which happens to be art. Each person has a different story or circumstance that would need to be taken into account. If anyone desires a stable career that pays a good wage, I would recommend it.


Why did you decide to join Women in Manufacturing? How do you personally find value in WiM membership?
Women in Manufacturing is an amazing association that is dedicated to supporting women in the industry. It is valuable to me in the sense that I get to learn and read about other women who are in the same career field as me. It is great to know that support is always there when needed.
SEP 25, 2017
JUN
29
#WiMHearHerStory with Aneesa Muthana, President at Pioneer Service Inc.
 

Aneesa Muthana, President at Pioneer Service Inc.
#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.
As the president and owner of a manufacturing company, every day I get to help people succeed. I spend my time building relationships with my team, listening to their concerns and trying to find the best way to give them the tools and resources they need. I’m frequently in meetings getting updates and providing direction as needed on a wide range of subjects from production to quality, sales and much more. When there are a few quiet moments, I read emails and review reports that help me understand how my business is doing and highlight areas that could use improvements. On the shop floor, I listen to concerns and support the decisions of my senior management team. My conversations range from very technical, such as discussing the types of tooling and cycle times that could go into a part we’re quoting, to providing general direction, discussing the values that are central to us as a company.

I see my role as a bridge builder, filling in gaps and helping people to work better as a team. I’m always trying to balance the immediate demands with the proactive opportunities and relationships that will help my people and Pioneer Service. I enjoy mentoring women both inside and outside the company and frequently am responding to ladies that are reaching out to me for advice. I’m in regular communication with various associations helping with both practical needs as well as connecting people with each other for advice and expertise. I love what I do and feel fulfilled each day when I see people taking advantage of the resources and bettering themselves. It’s my goal to develop each team member to their fullest potential which will make us a better company.

How did you arrive at your current position?  What attracted you to a career in manufacturing?
I was only 11 years old when my parents started a bar-grinding business. At first it was only my brothers, parents and I working at the company. I was anxious to contribute as much as I could and was not satisfied with staying in the safety of the office. I pestered my dad and wanted to learn how to operate equipment. When the phone would ring, I would run back to the office, jumping over bundles of steel, in order to answer it. I thought it was a lot of fun to actually make things and was thrilled when my dad made me responsible for my own centerless grinder. As I grew, I assumed more responsibilities by asking questions and just doing what needed to be done. Soon I was not only running equipment, but paying bills, talking with customers and vendors and checking the status on production jobs.

My golden opportunity came when I was a recently divorced mother, only 23 years old, itching to do something big with my life. I wanted to be more than just the “girl” in the shop that everyone depended on. I knew I had to leave my parents’ business to truly tap my potential. My uncle had bought a small machining company and he needed help with his new venture. He offered for me to come work for him, but I wanted more. I wanted a chance to prove myself, so I asked him for a partnership as well as the authority to run the company as the president. He agreed to give me that chance, so I took the helm of Pioneer Service.

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?
As a young lady in a shop I frequently heard comments and saw the faces of men who questioned my presence in their environment. I was internally motivated to succeed and would not let their looks and actions deter me from doing what I loved. It’s not that I didn’t notice their judgements of my choice to work with my hands (and eventually run a company) in this male-dominated field, it’s just that I chose not to be a victim. Both then and today, I persevere and do what I know is right for me and my company and let the results speak for themselves.

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’ve been most inspired by my mother, who has overcome great adversity to succeed and become prosperous in manufacturing. My mother came to the US 48 years ago.  When she first got here, she took a job in a machine shop where no one spoke her language. Never held a pen, let alone got an education - spoke no English yet she was able to help my father support their family. Her boss was so impressed with her work ethic, she was promoted and received raises without her ever asking. She took the bus and took care of my sick father, yet every day we had a home-cooked meal. For me, she is THE “Woman in Manufacturing.”  Today, as an owner of the manufacturing company she helped found with my father, she reaps the benefits of her hard work. It takes resilience and tenacity to push through barriers. She inspired me to work hard and believe that I can succeed, no matter what the odds.

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?
Awareness of opportunities in manufacturing is built one conversation, one presentation, one publication at time. The most powerful influencers take the time to hear what an individual young woman is looking for and share their own stories with passion. Because there’s way too much to communicate in sound-bites, I think that the desire to pursue a career in manufacturing has to be “caught” more than “taught.”

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?
I absolutely would recommend manufacturing to women and I try to hire women in all roles in my company when given the opportunity. We need the diversity of thought and passion for a healthy workplace. I want to have a work place that people love to come to every day. In real-life men and women interact with each other side-by-side and balance each other out. Why shouldn’t that be the norm at a manufacturing company as well?

Why did you decide to join Women in Manufacturing? How do you personally find value in WiM membership?
WiM gives me an opportunity to meet other women from all walks of life who have chosen to make manufacturing their career path. Hearing their stories inspires me. I never know, but the next woman I meet at a WiM event may be my next business partner, vendor, mentor, mentee or employee. WiM provides that opportunity for networking so we can share our wealth of expertise, experiences and knowledge with one another.
JUN 29, 2017
MAR
16
#WiMHearHerStory with Mary Fitzgerald, President at Acme Wire Products
 
Mary Fitzgerald, President at Acme Wire Products
#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 readers a little bit about your job and what your work looks like every day.
My two brothers and I run a job shop specializing in custom tooled wire and metal components called Acme Wire Products in Mystic, CT. Acme Wire Products is a second generation family business started by our father in 1970. The company forms, stamps, bends, machines, welds and assembles parts as diverse as a simple wire form which might be used as a handle or hold down, to a welded fan guard or face masks for sporting goods.  We also manufacture material handling baskets for automation equipment. I have been with the company since 1985 and handle marketing, office administration and management. Most days I am working with customers and prospects on new and existing projects, handling contracts, employee issues, training and any other issues that arise.


How did you arrive at your current position?  What attracted you to a career in manufacturing?
I was familiar with working in a manufacturing environment since I had worked for the company during my high school and college breaks. My dad would bring the kids in to assist with various tasks (there are seven siblings) and we would break the work down into smaller units for operations such as finishing, inspection, kitting and packaging. My first job professionally after college was working at another wire company, Durable Wire, which processed round and shaped wire.  It taught me other facets of the industry and how to work with many different types of people.  I always liked to learn how things were made and to see how there could be different methods to make the same item. After working several years at Durable Wire, I joined Acme Wire Products as the Sales & Marketing Manager. After more than 30 years with the company there are still new challenges, new product applications and new technologies.


Have you encountered stereotypes like these in your education or career and how did you overcome them?
I studied English and Science in college and most of my classes were mixed genders. I went to school with many smart, motivated people and there didn’t seem to be any barriers to what you could succeed. I didn’t have a plan to go into manufacturing but I also didn’t think that it was a career that was closed to me since I felt comfortable in a factory setting.  I didn’t see any barriers or boundaries, just possibilities. When I began my career in manufacturing though, I realized that there were not many young women peers. When I encountered people who didn’t like/want to see women succeed in manufacturing roles I felt that those were views that they would have to change. 


Has mentorship played any role in your career?
My own father was very encouraging in showing me different career paths but not pushing me in one direction. Some of my mentors/guides were the fathers of my college classmates who, like my father, ran small manufacturing companies and owners of other family businesses. They were very encouraging to me, especially when I questioned whether having a career in manufacturing and raising a family would be compatible.  


What do you think can be done to spread the word to women about career options in modern manufacturing?
I think that the more frequently that girls see women in different types of careers then they can start envisioning themselves in those situations/careers as well.  For instance, television shows, movies, commercials, ads, etc. showing women working in a variety of manufacturing fields can help change the view of what manufacturing is like and the viability of those careers.  

A manufacturing group I belong to hosts a program that links groups of high school students with manufacturing partners to create videos to educate fellow students and the community about careers in manufacturing.  Sometimes the message has to be heard and seen many times before it makes an impact.

I have also worked with elementary, middle and high school classes to provide manufacturing career awareness and show how the skills that students learn in the classroom apply to the work world. As a Girl Scout leader, I coordinated career workshops for my daughter’s troops and participated in Camp CEO for two years. Our company also hosts open houses and tours for high school students to show them different manufacturing processes.


Would you recommend a career in manufacturing?  And, if so, why?
There are so many diverse skills needed in manufacturing from marketing and finance to human resources to quality to production planning to purchasing and logistics to engineering and technical programming. Manufacturing jobs pay well and provide an opportunity to be creative problem solvers.  Every day brings new challenges. It is never boring!


Why did you decide to join Women in Manufacturing?  How do you personally find value in WiM membership?
I joined Women in Manufacturing last year after participating in the events for several years as a nonmember.  There was a local (state) chapter forming that I wanted to become more involved with and membership was a good way to continue my engagement and involvement.  Membership also allowed me to take advantage of the discount when attending the National SUMMIT. I have enjoyed each of the SUMMITs I have attended and look forward to the 2017 SUMMIT in my home state of Connecticut!
MAR 16, 2017
DEC
28
#WiMHearHerStory with Carla Enzinger, Human Resource Manager at Batesville Tool & Die, Inc. (BTD)
 

Carla Enzinger, Human Resource Manager at
Batesville Tool & Die, Inc. (BTD)
#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 current position is the human resource manager at Batesville Tool & Die, Inc. (BTD). I have the privilege to assist our employees in many avenues.  My activities include: implementation and administration of our benefit plans, employee relations, manage on-site health clinic, community involvement/boards, department budget, planning company events and activities, compliance, overseeing and supporting company training, the hiring and terminations, evaluation process and payroll, etc.

How did you arrive at your current position?  What attracted you to a career in manufacturing? 
I needed a change from the accounting field.  My sister, who at the time was already employed by BTD, recommended I apply for the Human Resource Manager position at BTD.  My sister was having a very successful career in manufacturing at BTD, starting in entry-level accounting and moving up, eventually becoming VP of Finance.  Also, my father was in manufacturing so this was what I grew up knowing. I was not a natural “people person” and when accepting this position that was my largest fear. I had a great boss, Mary, who worked with me and coached me through many "firsts" in my life.  She took a risk with hiring me, (no HR experience) and because of hard work, dedication and great leadership from the company it has turned into a successful career for me. BTD, through the Fledderman family, have instilled within the company and its employees a family atmosphere. This caring, personal touch that I've had the privilege to partake in is an added attraction to manufacturing and my desire to work at BTD.  I have been in this position for 27 years and have a strong desire to help others.  My current position not only allows me to help our employees, it allows me to work within our community, region and state to help others which fulfills my dream of giving back.

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? 
This is a constant issue and remains a work in progress. For me personally, I had a great male mentor who pushed me to stand up for myself against the stereotyping.  He was quick to ask me my opinion, never leaving me out where others might have. He reminded me to grow by thinking of both sides of every situation, to think big and to speak up even when looked over by others. Having the complete opposite opinion at the table was a challenge he instilled in me to help me grow my knowledge and experience which in turn, helps make the most beneficial decisions. This mentor knew that it took all sorts of people to make a business a true success and that included those with different thinking patterns, values and personalities. 

Research shows that women, especially women in STEM fields, do better if they have a mentor.  Has mentorship played any role in your career? 
Yes it has. As I entered the area of manufacturing, the president of BTD was Mary Stock. Mary helped me greatly get acclimated to manufacturing and was patient during the transition. She is the one I mentioned above that introduced a lot of "firsts" and helped to push me through my uncomfortable zones.  She had so much background in finance and understanding of manufacturing that she transferred this to whomever wanted it. Mary was my first true contact who had many travels and she opened up the world outside of Indiana to me which enlarged my ability to dream big. Mary has since retired and now I connect with friends through various business associations to help keep me in check and seek advice. PMA (Precision Metalforming Association) and WiM are two of the great associations that provide that opportunity. The networking and support is outstanding and I am so ever grateful to be a part of these organizations.

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?
BTD has started to work with the local schools on this exact topic. We have sponsored Teacher Externships which has opened the eyes of those who are teaching and preparing our young women for the workforce. BTD participates in Fearless Female which is a career awareness fair for females to explore "non-traditional" careers. Our company is also hoping to get into the lower middle school class rooms to talk to students about these great career opportunities. Our community business partners sponsor a manufacturing camp and we are working on ideas to recruit more females to this camp to include a "female only" manufacturing camp.  On my wish list for the very near future, I would like to see a mentoring program developed between our community business partners and schools on this particular topic. One of the keys is getting to the parents and our community is tossing ideas around to change the past perception of manufacturing (dirty, dingy, dark place to work).

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? 
Yes, manufacturing has provided for my family. It has been extremely enjoyable and fulfilling. I have reaped many professional and personal rewards working in the manufacturing world. I have been able to travel to various states as well as MX and build great working relationships with other local community businesses as well as many across the United States which in turn have become great, long-lasting friendships. 

Why did you decide to join Women in Manufacturing? How do you personally find value in WiM membership? 
I attended a couple of WiM's conferences. These conferences were very inspiring and motivational and built up my own personal confidence. Listening to the real stories of other women's struggles and their triumphs helped me realize there is a team working on improving the stereotype.  I want to be a part of that. I enjoy the communication pieces and the on line posts. Also, being part of PMA and knowing of my personal successes with PMA, I knew WiM would be able to take that even further and help broaden my growth and development. In addition, I hope to be a role model and give support in helping others in manufacturing succeed above their expectations.  DEC 28, 2016
DEC
07
#WiMHearHerStory with Amanda Reel, Welder at TRUMPF
 
 
Amanda Reel, Welder at TRUMPF
#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.
I am a welder at TRUMPF, but I also handle a number of other tasks in the Sheet Metal Department. Some days I weld, some days I cover drill press and other days I run the laser cutting machines. I also cover for my supervisor or lead man when they are out. Every day I come into work and do a different job, so it’s always interesting. When I am welding, I have to read prints and fabricate parts, which means I have to be able to read and understand blueprints. Then I assemble the parts and weld them together. My department makes laser cutting machines for TRUMPF, our most popular product.

How did you arrive at your current position?  What attracted you to a career in manufacturing?
When I was just about to turn 18, TRUMPF called my high school, Howell Cheney Technical High School, and asked if they had any welders with a good welding skill set and my teacher asked me if I would be interested in an interview. I took the opportunity in a heartbeat. Within one week they contacted me and set up my initial interview. The interviewer asked me to read a blueprint and tell them everything I knew about every type of welding.  I was also asked to outline my skills. I would say it went very well. I was immediately offered an in-the-field interview, to demonstrate my physical welding skills. In the field interview, I welded MIG (gas metal arc welding, or metal inert gas welding) and TIG (gas tungsten arc welding, or tungsten inert gas welding) both vertical and flat. They told me that was all they needed to see and that I would be contacted soon with my start date. I have been a welder for TRUMPF ever since.

When I was 14, I chose welding as the trade I would study through high school. My junior year I decided to make welding my career because it’s not often you get to turn your passion into a career. Also, I like the challenge of manufacturing—something about making things from scratch entices me.

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?
My whole career has been full of encounters with these stereotypes. One comment I hear far too often, when someone asks me what I do and I explain to them that I am a welder, is “Wow, I’ve never met a pretty welder…actually I’ve never met a female welder!” I am TRUMPF’s first woman welder, but I will not be the last! It is not true that women can’t be welders. Unfortunately, many are steered away by the awful stereotypes that exist about welding such as it being a man’s job, a dirty job, or a hard job. It is also untrue that welding is only performed in a very dirty environment. That is not the case at my job and at many other manufacturing companies. In fact, many facilities are cleaner than you can ever imagine! Most of the ones I’ve seen look like picture-perfect factories.

Research shows that women, especially women in STEM fields, do better if they have a mentor.  Has mentorship played any role in your career? 
Mentorship has definitely played a huge rolle in my career. I would not be where I am today without the help of my mentors. My two welding teachers, Kathy McGirr and Bob Cullen, in were my first mentors and they helped me to learn almost everything I know about welding. My mentor at my current position is our lead man, Dave Reynolds. Dave has helped me learn new skills, like repair work and time management, through hands-on training. He has also demonstrated great work ethic, leadership skills and brainstorming to make even the most difficult problem seem easy. I try to emulate these skills as I grow in my career.

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?
Certainly organizations (like WiM) that make it their mission to support women in manufacturing go a long way towards raising awareness about manufacturing. Local WiM chapters have a strong impact here as well. For example, the WiM Connecticut chapter was established just over a year ago and has really created a buzz in the community. Promoting manufacturing as a career to middle and high school students – and not just the boys – is crucial. Teachers, guidance counselors and parents are instrumental in communicating the opportunities manufacturing presents. Many kids, especially girls, don’t even know these good, high-paying, rewarding jobs exist. I’m sure if young women knew what an interesting, well paying career they could have in manufacturing they would give it a closer look.


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? 
I would definitely recommend that young women choose a career in manufacturing! There are so many opportunities out there. You can have any kind of job you want:; machine operator, engineer, sales and marketing, finance, even CEO. There is literally something for everyone in the field of manufacturing—, the possibilities are endless!

Why did you decide to join Women in Manufacturing? How do you personally find value in WiM membership?
I decided to join Women in Manufacturing because I believe it will expose me to the wide variety of opportunities that exist in manufacturing. In addition, it is a very inspiring group to be a part of! It gives me the opportunity to see first-hand that I am not the only woman in manufacturing, even though it may feel like it sometimes. And, WiM is here to support its members and help them grow. I also want to be part of a group that has a positive influence on the way the world views women in manufacturing! DEC 07, 2016
SEP
30
#WiMHearHerStory with Talea Lund, Industrial Engineer at Harley-Davidson
 

Talea Lund, Industrial Engineer at Harley-Davidson Powertrain Operations
#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.
I am an Industrial Engineer at Harley-Davidson Powertrain Operations in Menomonee Falls, WI. Our group focuses on capital investment projects and supporting the operations group within the powertrain manufacturing facility. My work ranges widely, from supporting my co-workers’ projects, to systems support, capacity planning, workplace standards, ergonomic initiatives and process improvement projects. The best part of my job is that I support the entire plant, so I get to learn a lot every day.

How did you arrive at your current position?  What attracted you to a career in manufacturing?
As I was working toward my Bachelors of Science degree in Industrial Engineering I obtained an internship at Harley-Davidson, and ended up working part time my senior year of college.  Shortly before I graduated, I interviewed for a full-time Manufacturing Engineer position within the assembly department and got it. I moved around within assembly for two years and then took a position within the project group, which covers the entire plant.


My interest in manufacturing mostly stemmed from my childhood. My mother worked in manufacturing and it greatly increased our quality of life after my parents’ divorce. It showed me the impact manufacturing jobs have on the community. I also love being where things are made, and working in a fast-paced environment. In manufacturing, you can have direct hands-on experience and learn so much.


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?
The facts are the facts, there are more men in this industry, and I saw that immediately when I entered engineering school. I never thought that it is a “better fit” for men versus women, but I do understand that it can be intimidating for a female to enter a male-dominated industry. 


Manufacturing has evolved so much when it comes to keeping employees safe and providing quality work. In most cases, it is highly automated, clean and safe. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the private manufacturing industry actually had a lower safety incident rate than the private health care industry in 2014. This shows the perception of danger in manufacturing is outdated.


One of the ways I work to overcome those stereotypes is by being involved in an event the local chamber of commerce organizes, the Manufacturing Career Expo. This event is aimed at educating junior high and high school students on the career possibilities within manufacturing.


Research shows that women, especially women in STEM fields, do better if they have a mentor.  Has mentorship played any role in your career? 
Formal mentorship has not played a role in my career. That being said, I have been beyond blessed to have many informal mentors/coaches who have helped me (and still do) along the way. This has been through informal meetings, career advice and helping me manage difficult situations. One of the key things to always keep in mind is that everyone knows something you do not, so you have the opportunity to constantly learn through others. 



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? 
Events like the Manufacturing Career Expo help tell women about their career opportunities. While this isn’t just focused on young women, it is focused on young people in general, and organizations should have a strong focus on reaching out to this next generation of employees.

I also think it is critical that organizations stay involved in their communities. Attending career days and supporting tech-ed programs are ways to help correct the perception of manufacturing and promote all of the wonderful opportunities. Many schools do not have well-developed tech-ed programs, so organizations should be focusing on sponsoring them to increase awareness of manufacturing.


We need to focus on parents! The reason many young women may not know about the opportunities is because their parents do not know, or their parents have an outdated perception of what manufacturing is and what it offers. There should be a focus on educating parents, because they have a tremendous influence on their children’s interests and what they are exposed to.


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? 
Manufacturing careers are such a solid foundation for anyone, and I would argue all of the skills you learn in manufacturing are very transferable. Many manufacturing employers provide benefits like tuition reimbursement programs, generous paid time off and healthcare benefits. 


Manufacturing is also very rewarding. Being around where things are made and where you can directly affect processes gives you information you may not get elsewhere. 


Why did you decide to join Women in Manufacturing? How do you personally find value in WiM membership?
I decided to join Women in Manufacturing because it is an organization that does not focus on any one role within the industry; it’s for all roles that fall within manufacturing. I can network with anyone from human resource professionals to machinists. It’s the diversity within WiM that makes it so incredibly valuable. WiM’s publications and webinars significantly help me with my development.



SEP 30, 2016
SEP
02
#WiMHearHerStory with Sherrika Sanders, R&D Director at Authentix, Inc.
 
Sherrika Sanders, R&D Director at Authentix, Inc.
#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.
I am currently the R&D Director at Authentix, Inc. located in Dallas, TX.  In this role, I manage development, formulation, scale-up, quality and commercialization of markers for authentication solutions.  I also lead the environmental, health and safety function for our company.  Given the breadth of my role, no two days are the same.  Each day is exciting and provides a unique opportunity to make a difference within the company and the customers we serve.

How did you arrive at your current position?  What attracted you to a career in manufacturing?
After receiving a PhD in Inorganic Chemistry and completing postdoctoral research, I enjoyed a nine-year career as a senior scientist, technical services scientist and group leader for one of the largest integrated chemical and manufacturing companies in the world.  This experience had a huge impact in preparing me for my current role at Authentix, Inc. While I was exposed to chemistry in high school through summer camps, teachers and mentors, it was my industrial research experience that solidified a passion in me to continue to use my skills and knowledge to deliver value to our customers through manufacturing.

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?
In corporate America, I have certainly noticed that men are typically viewed as a better fit for certain jobs over women.  I overcame this bias by first changing my own mentality about these jobs, and subsequently planting the seeds of change with everyone I interact with.  Regardless of my gender, my focus has always been on performing well in my current role because this is what best positions you for future opportunities.

Research shows that women, especially women in STEM fields, do better if they have a mentor.  Has mentorship played any role in your career?
Absolutely!  I have had many mentors at all levels of the organization throughout my career.  I would not be where I am today without their support. They have provided advice/guidance/feedback, acted as a sounding board for ideas and concerns, provided insight into opportunities and served as a champion when needed.

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?
First, we should take advantage of unique opportunities to introduce and expose girls to career options in STEM and modern manufacturing earlier in the pipeline.  As I mentioned, it was a high school science camp that sealed the deal for me early on.  Secondly, success breeds success.  As simple as it may seem, we should look for opportunities to make those women who have been successful in manufacturing more visible to other young women.

 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? 
I would certainly recommend a career in the manufacturing sector to young women.  I believe my story, and the stories of so many other WiM members, is a testament to the fact that this can be a very rewarding and fulfilling career option.  Aside from the tangible benefits, a career in modern manufacturing provides interesting and challenging work, the opportunity to be highly innovative and the ability to “see” your work product.

Why did you decide to join Women in Manufacturing? How do you personally find value in WiM membership?
I originally decided to join WiM on the recommendation of a senior leader in my company.  I am so glad I did! The connections and support provided by this organization have been absolutely phenomenal.  I am able to connect with other women of like backgrounds and learn from and seek advice from those who have more career longevity.

SEP 02, 2016
JUL
21
#WiMHearHerStory with Taryn West, Vice President at K.R. West Company
 
Taryn West, Vice President at K.R. West Company
#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.
Being in a small family business, my day is influenced by the company’s current needs. My job currently consists of hydraulic power unit documentation. This means I quote/design power units, process orders, build bill of materials, create schematics, track parts for assembly and when required create drawings. I also do some marketing and am responsible for our web presence. I started in bookkeeping and now manage the accounts payable and receivables. When needed, I deal with customer and supplier issues, and help in insides sales and purchasing.

How did you arrive at your current position?  What attracted you to a career in manufacturing?
The company was started by my grandfather 36 years ago and has been run by my father since I was little. I gained an interest in hydraulics when I built hydraulic lube panels for cranes. I thought it was so cool that I was able to build panels that were used on cranes and looked into other applications. I started working in the office in high school and worked hard to gain my current position of vice president. 

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 have definitely encountered the stereotypes in this male-dominated field. I often get asked if I have any male siblings or an older brother who are in the business. I do have an older brother that is not interested and I often share this information. Being a young female, I feel I have had to work harder in situations to gain respect. I try not to let this bother me and face the challenge head on. 

In school, I fell into the “hidden curriculum.” Since I was little I excelled at math, science and even language. When I was in middle school, I was friends with other girls that did not excel in these fields and I stopped trying as hard in math. I also stopped reading, which looking back was so unlike me. I had teachers in high school who helped me see my potential and professors in college that inspired me. 

Research shows that women, especially women in STEM fields, do better if they have a mentor.  Has mentorship played any role in your career? 
Definitely! My dad is my mentor and even though he is a male, he has taught me a lot about our company and our industry. Recently, I have gained a female mentor who is president of a similar organization through the FPDA (Fluid Power Distribution Association). I am excited to get another female perspective from a very talented woman.   

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?
I am a big believer in STEM programs and believe there needs to be a push to get more girls involved at a young age. Recently I started helping at the local Boys and Girls Club in the STEM program. The teen girls were unaware of the STEM careers they could pursue, but did not take enough interest in the program (because I believe they have all been heavily influenced by the hidden curriculum that STEM is a “boys club”). We found it was much easier to get the younger girls excited in STEM programs.

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? 
I would highly recommend manufacturing to young women. Manufacturing can provide very rewarding opportunities and there are many good jobs available that can appeal to different mindsets. Many of these manufacturers care for their employees and provide great pay and benefits. Manufacturing also has great educational options. Along with my business degree, I have Electro-Mechanical certificates from FVTC. I really enjoyed my program at the Tech.  

Why did you decide to join Women in Manufacturing? How do you personally find value in WiM membership?
I decided to join Women in Manufacturing after attending a presentation at the Manufacturing First event in Green Bay. I met members of WiM and saw value in networking with these women. I have attended professional women’s groups before and found there were no members in my field. I have also found value in the forum on WiM’s website. When I was looking for ideas to get girls interested in STEM, I had multiple women respond with helpful insights.


JUL 21, 2016
JUN
30
#WiMHearHerStory with Philicia Weaver, Director Global Initiatives at Blount International, Inc.
 
Philicia Weaver, Director Global Initiatives at Blount International
#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.
I work at Blount International, Inc., a global manufacturer and marketer of replacement parts, equipment and accessories for consumers and professionals operating primarily in forestry, lawn and garden, and farming. We have more than 4,000 team members worldwide and sell products in more than 115 countries. 

As Director, Global Initiatives, I’m responsible for project management, change management and strategic workforce planning.  My job offers a lot of variety, which I love.  On any given day, I might be working on one of the company’s initiatives, facilitating a talent review, or training a team on change management. 


How did you arrive at your current position?  What attracted you to a career in manufacturing?
I had worked primarily in the service industry up until about five years ago when someone I used to work with recommended that I apply for a position at Blount.  I started as the organizational development manager.  Two years into the position, I pitched the idea of creating a project management office (PMO) to accelerate the execution of our projects.  Blount’s CEO, Josh Collins, and president, David Willmott, agreed and created my current role.  I really appreciate working at a company where leaders listen to and support the ideas of team members.


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?
Seeing is believing. I probably had the same stereotypes you mentioned before working at Blount, but it was only because I hadn’t experienced a manufacturing environment before.  I’ve been really impressed with the consistency of cleanliness at all of our locations.  Leaders want a safe, clean working environment for team members, and it shows. 

Although women are less represented in manufacturing than in the service industry, they hold positions in every part of our business.  In fact, when I pulled the data in 2014, I found that the largest number of female leaders at Blount were in these traditionally male-led departments: 1) Supply chain, 2) Finance, and 3) Manufacturing (HR was fourth).


Research shows that women, especially women in STEM fields, do better if they have a mentor.  Has mentorship played any role in your career? 
Absolutely—I’m a strong believer in mentoring programs. In addition to participating in several of them, I’ve built mentoring programs at some of the companies I’ve worked at.  I’m also really interested in sponsorship programs and informal mentoring. 

In a sponsorship program, the higher-level person takes a more active role in the junior person’s career by creating developmental opportunities (e.g. attending key meetings, stretch assignments).  At Blount, we’re in the process of creating a sponsorship program for female leaders.  Our executive team are strong advocates for inclusion and developing talent, and this is just one way they live that value.

I use informal mentoring to learn about specific subjects.  For example, I’m currently interested in mindfulness in the workplace because the research on it is so compelling.  To learn more, I’ve been talking to people who have implemented it at their companies to see what works, what doesn’t, and the different forms it can take.


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?
If you’re in a leadership position, you should always be recruiting.  Finding and nurturing future talent is the best long-term investment that leaders can make.  Here are some ideas:

·        Professional organizations—Whether you’re in engineering, finance, supply chain, HR, etc., there are several professional organizations in your field.  Going to events and networking not only builds your skills, but also gives you the opportunity to spread the word about career opportunities at your company.
 
·        Expand searches to the untapped job market—If your candidate pool for a job opening only includes those people who are actively seeking a job, you’re missing out on a very large population of great people.  Use social media (e.g. LinkedIn) and your network to find the best people for the job and encourage them to apply.  In the 2010 Harvard Business Review article, “Are You a High Potential?” a study found that “1 in 4 high potential employees believe they will be working for another company in a year.”  It usually only takes a nudge to encourage someone to apply for a job at your company.

·        Extend your recruiting timeline—If you wait for a job opening to recruit, you’re too late.  Building relationships with people, professional organizations, community partnerships and educational institutions takes time, but pays off with a much better candidate pool, including more female candidates.   

·        Signal your interest—Companies can attract more women by their actions.  For example, set up scholarships for women with schools in the communities you work in, have female employees make recommendations on company policies, show images and videos of female employees in your company materials (especially your career site), etc.  The McKinsey & Company study, Women in the Workplace, is also a great resource.


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? 
Yes, 100%.  The biggest reason is that manufacturing is a great field for women.  But there’s also another reason—I’ve done a lot of career coaching over the years, and one piece of advice I’ve given is to consider going “against the grain” to stand out.  For example, if someone’s Myers Briggs type is ISTJ (quiet, serious, thorough, and dependable), the typical careers they gravitate to are accounting, information services, etc., but what if this type went into sales?  Their customers might appreciate their listening skills and attention to details.  In other words, if they’re good at what they do, they could really stand out in a group of extroverts.  Likewise, women can stand out in a male-dominated environments because of the skills and perspective they bring.


Why did you decide to join Women in Manufacturing? How do you personally find value in WiM membership?
Blount strives to be an employer-of-choice for high performers and our senior leadership team has been steadfast advocates of attracting, retaining and developing women.  I have recently been asked to contribute to some of the work they’re doing, so I’m learning as much as possible about the topic.  When I was doing my research, Women in Manufacturing quickly came to the forefront for its data, education and networking opportunities.  I joined just last year, and I’ve already learned a lot.  I’m grateful to have an organization like Women in Manufacturing as a resource, and I’m looking forward to having greater involvement in the future.

JUN 30, 2016
JUN
16
#WiMHearHerStory with Antonia Stone Purchasing & Facilities Manager at Busch Precision
 
Antonia Stone, Purchasing & Facilities Manager at Busch Precision
#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.
As the purchasing and facilities manager at Busch Precision, I work remotely three days a week and am in the office two days a week. Every day is different, which is the challenge that I love. The duties of this position include the purchasing of a wide variety of things—raw material, outside services, shop supplies, office supplies—as well as coordinating IT services, being a member of production management, and working as an ISO quality section leader.

How did you arrive at your current position?  What attracted you to a career in manufacturing?
I answered an ad for a “management trainee” at Busch Precision in 2000, and it was for purchasing, and learning how the entire company worked. This started my love of manufacturing, and learning everything about “making” and “doing.” I have had several other purchasing positions elsewhere, all in manufacturing, and came back to Busch after two years as a stay-at-home mom.

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?
There have been several obstacles and stereotypes, but I have found that perseverance and a positive attitude go a long way. With patience, you can show your capabilities and desire to be in manufacturing.

Research shows that women, especially women in STEM fields, do better if they have a mentor.  Has mentorship played any role in your career? 
Mentorship is key! I have been very fortunate to have had a mentor, and have been able to become a mentor. My current boss, Mike Mallwitz, the president of Busch Precision, has been instrumental in challenging and guiding me in different directions that I hadn’t previously considered. Through empoWer, WiM Wisconsin’s community outreach committee, I have been able to mentor several young ladies in the area and encourage them to consider careers in manufacturing.

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?
This is exactly what led me to WiM, having attended the WiM SUMMIT in Milwaukee, and looking for more of the same programming locally. Through the encouragement and support of Mike (Mallwitz), we started an exploratory committee called empoWer in 2013 as part of TDMAW (Tool, Die and Machining Association of Wisconsin), to encourage and support women choosing careers in manufacturing. Little did we know that several other manufacturers felt the same way we did, and at this time we were in the process of starting the WiM Wisconsin chapter. In January of 2015, WiM Wisconsin and empoWer joined forces to better serve the manufacturing community, using empoWer as a committee for community outreach and mentorship, working with the Granville BID as well as the Milwaukee Job Corps to provide mentorship to young ladies in the Milwaukee area.

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? 
I would absolutely recommend a career in manufacturing! It is an ever-changing career path with limitless opportunities in many industries. It has enabled me to find work, life balance and flexibility, and to enjoy time with my husband and two children, George (6) and Shelby (3).

Why did you decide to join Women in Manufacturing? How do you personally find value in WiM membership?
I joined WiM to be a part of the local Wisconsin chapter, and now I currently serve as the chairperson of this chapter. In this role, I work with an amazing team of manufacturing women to run this state-based support network. We host several events throughout the year, participate in community outreach programs, and raise awareness of WiM and the opportunities available to women in manufacturing. The Wisconsin chapter provides incredible value due to the numerous networking resources. I have found that being a part of this national association has been very helpful to me in my career.

JUN 16, 2016

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