Women in Manufacturing Summit

Past Summits


335 industry professionals were “Unified in MFG” at the 7th annual Women in Manufacturing (WiM) SUMMIT in Hartford, CT, on September 13 – 15, 2017. This three-day networking and educational conference is the highlight of WiM’s event calendar, as it brings together members, who represent all different levels and industries within manufacturing, from around the country to participate.

The SUMMIT program theme was “Unified in MFG” and the events, speakers, and discussions emphasized the diverse nature of manufacturing and the women who make up its workforce. “The ‘Unified in MFG’ theme was inspired by our members––remarkable women from every part of the manufacturing industry and every rung on the leadership ladder,” said Allison Grealis, WiM’s founding president. “We are united under one common denominator: a passion for manufacturing.”

The conference kicked off with plant tours at some of Hartford’s most advanced manufacturing facilities, including TRUMPF Inc., CNC Software, Inc., Pratt & Whitney, and Kaman Corporation. Thought leaders representing some of the best in the business, including Oshkosh Defense LLC, Mary Kay, Inc., INTEL, and IBM, gave presentations and shared valuable insight with the audience. Attendees also participated in breakout sessions, which gave them an opportunity to receive in-depth information about specific subjects of interest.

More than 90 items were donated to this year’s Silent Auction and this component of the agenda was highly anticipated. Nearly $10,000 was raised on-site and all proceeds were given to the WiM Education Foundation – the 501(c)(3) arm of the association.

The 2017 SUMMIT had the largest turnout yet and a special thank you to our numerous sponsors for making the event possible. Mark your calendar for next year’s conference, which will take place on October 3 – 5, 2018, in Indianapolis, IN!

Event testimonials include:

The WiM SUMMIT ambience gave me a sense of belonging. I returned home feeling empowered, charged, energized, and ready to take on the manufacturing world with high self-efficacy topped with confidence."
This was my first time going and I absolutely loved it!"
I look forward to the SUMMIT each year. After I leave the SUMMIT, I am motivated to go into the world and be a better employee, a better leader and an advocate for all women in manufacturing."
I was concerned with taking three days away from work to attend the SUMMIT. However, by the end of the three days, I can say this was one of the most valuable career development experiences I’ve had. I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn from other women in manufacturing, and feel empowered to return to my business as a stronger leader who has a deeper understanding of the issues facing the manufacturing workforce."
GREAT event! I brought our company’s leaders and they were all inspired and motivated by the content. Thank you!"



We celebrated our 6th annual SUMMIT on September 19 – 21, 2016, in Nashville, TN and nearly 300 manufacturing professionals were in attendance. We heard from top-tier industry professionals representing Etsy Manufacturing, Coca-Cola Co., Kohler Co., Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Caterpillar, Inc. and more.

For the first time, we hosted the award-winning Minute Mentoring Workshop. Small groups of Mentees met with Mentors for rapid-fire advice sessions – akin to speed dating. Attendees also participated in hot-topic roundtable discussions, where they were given the opportunity to talk about the industry topics that matter most to them with their peers.

We visited some of Nashville’s most innovative manufacturing facilities for plant tours, including General Motors, Bridgestone Americas, Inc., Tennessee Bun Co., Nissan and Lochinvar. Our Silent Auction was an enormous success as nearly $10,000 was raised to further support our association’s efforts.

Our 2016 program theme was “MFGredefined” and the agenda spotlighted aspects of manufacturing that make it a top career choice for women.

Event testimonials include:

This was my first and I can't wait to get more involved and attend next year's. Very empowering for women of all ages and all levels of an organization. Loved it!"
Inspiring! It really makes me want to share everything from the SUMMIT with my colleagues and every single woman I know."
I was concerned with taking three days away from work to attend the SUMMIT. However, by the end of the three days I can say this was one of the most valuable career development experiences I've had and I am grateful for the opportunity to learn from other women in manufacturing. I feel empowered to return to my business as a stronger leader who has a deeper understanding of the issues facing the manufacturing workforce."
This was my first year attending and I have to say it was worth every penny. I am fourth generation to manufacturing business with my sister, and we both attended the event. It was eye opening and moving to see so many other women in the industry and to hear their stories. I was proud and humbled to be with women who have such passion and drive to not only better the industry, but themselves as well. Needless to say, this will be an event I hope to attend every year!"
It is the "go to" resource for the world of manufacturing with a group of people open to networking and sharing ideas."



From September 23-25, 2015, more than 300 women in the manufacturing sector came together in Minneapolis, MN for the 5th annual SUMMIT. New and returning attendees joined fellow women from around the country for keynote presentations, enlightening educational sessions, roundtable discussions, numerous networking opportunities and plant tours.

Among the attendees were powerful keynote speakers, such as co-founder and executive director of Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls, Meredith Walker; Generational guru Hannah Ubl of Bridgeworks; Sarah Krasley, founder and principal of Unreasonable Women; Cynthia Arnold, chief technology officer at Valspar Corporation; and Maureen Midgley, VP WW engineering, ACES and real estate at Amazon Fulfillment.

Plants tours of H.B. Fuller, Ultra Machining Company (UMC), Medtronic, Pentair and Caterpillar allowed for exclusive access inside each plant to learn industry best practices and gain cutting-edge manufacturing information.

Allison Grealis, founder and president of Women in Manufacturing, accepted a $100,000 educational grant from the General Electric Foundation. In addition, more than $10,000 was raised at the third annual Silent Auction. Attendees left Minneapolis feeling inspired, encouraged and eager to attend next year’s event.

Event testimonials include:

My experience and what I gained from participating in the WIM SUMMIT surpassed my already high expectations. The content was a great mix of trending and timeless information and applicable regardless of your career status, age or even whether you are male or female. I left with knowledge and passion to bring my career and team at work to its fullest potential.”
I cannot express the value of the WiM SUMMIT. I brought three women from my company and they were all blown away with the quality of speakers and the event as a whole.”
The WiM SUMMIT is an event I look forward to every year. Many of the contacts I've made have turned into friends and it's empowering to realize that many of us have the same problems to be solved. It's exciting to network and strategize with this strong group of leaders.”
This was my first WiM SUMMIT and I was very impressed with all the presenters, the "women helping women" spirit and the overall content of the conference. The material was very timely, relevant and delivered in a way that everyone could connect. I left excited and looking forward to Nashville!”
“I recommend that any woman, or for that matter any individual, involved in manufacturing attend this SUMMIT. It is a great venue for networking and learning best practices.”



More than 280 women in the manufacturing sector participated in the fourth annual WiM SUMMIT in Schaumburg, IL, September 29-October 1, 2014, making this year’s conference the best yet.

This annual networking and educational event featured manufacturing plant tours of Bag Makers, Inc., and S&C Electric; professional development tracks on topics ranging from lean manufacturing to negotiation skills; a best practices panel discussion on the attraction, retention and advancement of women in the industry; keynote presentations and social events to expand participants’ networks.

Keynote speakers included David Roszmann, chief operating officer at Chicken of the Sea; Chandra Brown, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing, U.S. Department of Commerce; Ginger Wange, manager of STEM development, PBS SciGirls; Christina McKenna, president of Bluestone Communications; and Jon Jordan, executive stylist and image consultant at Jon Jordan Media.

In addition, more than $9,000 was raised at the second annual Silent Auction, with proceeds supporting WiM’s mission to attract, retain and advance women in the manufacturing industry.

Event testimonials include:

The best source of information and learning experiences is from other individuals in your industry. The WIM Summit provides both along with educational events to help you do your job better. I would highly recommend this event to any woman who is in the manufacturing field in any role in their company."
The WIM Summit 2015 was an event like no other I have attend. Spending time with amazing professionals who blaze the way to empowering others is always an inspiration but to spend time with professionals like yourself and working together to learn and grow their professional careers was an amazing opportunity.”
I am a new WIM member and attended the Summit 2014. This was my first visit and wow, what a great experience! The overall atmosphere was very relaxed and enjoyable. I met so many wonderful and intelligent women and a few men! The first day I could not believe how inspired and energized I was by the experience as a whole. I felt like a new person with a new purpose! I would and will recommend this to my peers and friends. Thanks again for the opportunity to attend such an educational, informative, and memorable event! The organizers did a fantastic job so thank you for all your hard work.”
It was very inspiring to meet the brilliant women in manufacturing and to listen to excellent speakers at this well-organized summit. THANK YOU!”



Our 3rd annual SUMMIT took place in Dearborn, MI where more than 200 leading women manufacturing executives, managers and students joined us from across the country. SUMMIT attendees were thrilled to see U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, co-chair of the Senate Manufacturing Caucus, who spoke to the group about the importance of the manufacturing sector and engaging more women in the profession.

Other highlights of the SUMMIT were general session keynote presentations from:

  • Katy Breitenbach, Catalyst
  • Linda Hubbard, Carhartt
  • Robert Rasmussen, Rasmussen Consulting
  • Latondra Newton, Toyota
  • Gwenne Henricks, Caterpillar
  • Lori and Traci Tapani, Wyoming Machine
  • Alicia Boler-Davis, General Motors
The 2013 SUMMIT program was enhanced from years past to offer even more educational sessions and plant tour options. Nine learning sessions were offered this year on a range of topics from personal career development to company marketing for a manufacturing environment.  And four local manufacturing facilities - Daimler—Detroit Diesel, GM Detroit Hamtramck Assembly Plant, Kars Nuts and Jiffy Mix - opened their doors to SUMMIT attendees for tours. We also hosted a silent auction that raised more than $6,000 for women in manufacturing education  opportunities.

This year’s sponsors included the Alliance for American Manufacturing, Amazon Fulfillment, APPI Energy, the Association of Women in the Metal Industries, Century Metal Spinning, Epicor, EROWA, Hialeah Metal Spinning, Inc., The Manufacturing Institute, Mid West Fabricating Company, MSSC, Plante Moran, Plex Systems, Sandvik Coromant, Schuler, TRUMPF, UPS, Waukesha® Metal Products and Zierick Manufacturing Corporation.

Event testimonials include:

The speakers were very diverse in their backgrounds and positions, but they all had one thing in common - passion. There wasn't one speaker that I felt I didn't get something from. Great job on choosing these fabulous women!!"
Great speakers, inspirational with awesome stories and knowledge to share!"
I thought the entire conference was a great success. The organization was excellent, the accommodation was first class, great people - very impressed with it all."



Two hundred leading women manufacturing executives, managers and supervisors from across the country convened in Milwaukee, WI, October 29-30, 2012 for the second annual Women in Manufacturing Summit, hosted by the Precision Metalforming Association. The conference provided a unique opportunity for participants to share perspectives and network with colleagues and other female executives in the manufacturing sector.

Featured speakers included:

  • Gayle Tauber, entrepreneur and founder of Kashi Company
  • Gail Lione, former chief compliance officer, executive vice president, general counsel and secretary of Harley-Davidson
  • Rebecca Kleefisch, Lt. Governor of Wisconsin
  • Jennifer McNelly, president of The Manufacturing Institute
  • Laurie Harbour, president and CEO of Harbour Results
  • Jane Warner, Executive Vice President, Illinois Tool Works Inc.
  • Mary Scheibel, principal and founder of Trefoil Group
The 2012 summit featured roundtables led by top female leaders on professional development, leadership and mentoring, and marketing and creativity; four educational tracks on negotiation, talent attraction, project and risk management, and maintaining business in a tough economy; and plant tours of MillerCoors and Kohler.

Event testimonials include:

Great opportunity for networking and addressing concerns of women in manufacturing.”
It was great to have conversations about expanding opportunities for young girls and younger women to pursue careers in manufacturing.”
One of the most motivating conferences I’ve ever attended!”



Women in Manufacturing's first annual SUMMIT took place in Cleveland, OH in 2011 with 130 women in attendance. Hosted by the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA), this event was created exclusively for women who have chosen a career in manufacturing, this successful event attracted women leaders from around the country who gathered to discuss best practices in manufacturing, mentoring, communication strategies and leadership. The two day conference kicked off with a reception hosted by the Association of Women in the Metal Industries (AWMI) Cleveland, followed by a networking dinner and presentation by Jean White, Deloitte LLP, on attracting and retaining talented women in manufacturing

Other Featured Keynote Speakers included:

  • Moira Forbes, ForbesWoman magazine
  • Martha Mayhood Mertz, Athena International
  • Claire Scott Miller, Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University
The symposium also featured panel discussions on best practices in management and manufacturing and the importance of mentoring. Panelists included representatives from high-profile manufacturers such as Boeing, Ford Motor Co., General Motors, GE Appliances and American Greetings.

Event testimonials include:

What an amazing group of women!”
Sometimes I’m disappointed when I attend meetings where I’m the only woman in a room full of men. Seeing so many other women, especially in high positions, involved in the industry is empowering.”