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Women in Manufacturing is a community created by Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) members and designed exclusively for women who have chosen a career in the manufacturing industry, and want to share perspectives, gain cutting edge manufacturing information, improve leadership and communication skills, participate in sponsoring programs and network with industry peers. Visit the Women in Manufacturing website.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

#HearHerStory with Lyse Moreau President at International Sew Right


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.

Lyse Moreau, President at International Sew Right
#HearHerStory / @womeninmfg

Please tell our readers a little bit about your job and what your work looks like every day.
My position varies from an overall decision maker to a designer helping to create a safety-related item for a client.
 
How did you arrive at your current position?  What attracted you to a career in manufacturing?
I started at International Sew Right as an accountant and I eventually progressed into sales. In 2001, I purchased 50 percent of the company and by 2005, I was the sole owner.
 
I have always had a passion for helping people. Manufacturing and custom designing allows me to be flexible with customers to provide them with what they need to be safe and comfortable on the 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At WiM, much of our work is dedicated to refuting outdated stereotypes about the manufacturing sector: stereotypes like the workplaces are dirty and dangerous and that the field and skills required are a better fit for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?
I operate within the “Man’s World”! However, it is more acceptable today for women to be involved in the safety environment than it has been in previous years. To overcome stereotypes, I take the time to be specific and pay attention to detail, and I take pride in being knowledgeable and skilled in my work.
 
Research shows that women, especially women in STEM fields, do better if they have a mentor.  Has mentorship played any role in your career? 
Mentors keep me ahead of the curve and prepared for whatever comes my way. Being alert for unexpected challenges prevents confusion, and by having everyone on the same page, we can accomplish more and excel beyond expectations.
 
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?
What WiM is doing right now is great! By e-mailing, networking and speaking to others about manufacturing, we are spreading the word.
 
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 is a career path that expands your knowledge and ability to grow. If you can dedicate yourself 24/7 to your passion, you will always succeed.

Why did you decide to join Women in Manufacturing? How do you personally find value in WiM membership?
WIM is a wonderful avenue especially for women entrepreneurs. This organization can help with obtaining information that saves hours of research.


Monday, January 18, 2016

#HearHerStory with Molly Sletten Director of Marketing at Kern Laser Systems


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.
 
Molly Sletten, Director of Marketing at Kern Laser Systems
#HearHerStory / @womeninmfg
 
Please tell our readers a little bit about your job and what your work looks like every day.
I am the director of marketing at Kern Laser Systems, a manufacturer of industrial laser cutting and engraving systems.  I am in charge of all things marketing, which includes but is not limited to submitting advertisements for publications, writing editorials, checking online forums and blogs, managing all of our social media accounts, submitting press releases, printing out manuals for our systems, ordering literature and company clothing, keeping up-to-date on what our competitors are doing, emails blasts, planning company parties, etc. I am also in charge of set-up for all of the trade shows that we attend.  On occasion, I do actual projects on the lasers that we have to get a grasp of how our systems run, as well as have samples on hand for distributor kits, and visitors/possible prospects.  I also have experience in freight shipping, so I help out with that when needed.
 
How did you arrive at your current position?  What attracted you to a career in manufacturing?
My fiancĂ© lives in the Wadena area, so I was in search of a position in this area that correlated with my college degree.  I honestly wasn’t necessarily looking for a career in manufacturing. When I was offered my position, I realized that Kern Laser Systems is a great company, with a great family that owns it, so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity, and I haven’t regretted it since.
 
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 personally haven’t come across that. Everyone has always been very supportive and helpful on my journey through my manufacturing career. I pride myself on being a very quick learner with social skills, which I think helps me rise above this.  The most important thing is to always realize your own worth and competency and ignore the rest.  To an extent, I think in manufacturing there will probably always be a slight stereotype, but I also feel there has been a lot of progress in acceptance in this field.
 
Research shows that women, especially women in STEM fields, do better if they have a mentor.  Has mentorship played any role in your career?
As I mentioned before, Kern Laser Systems is such a great company.  From the beginning, everybody here has done what they could to make me comfortable, and has been more than willing to answer any questions that I have had, and also helped me whenever I needed it.  Since I was new to the industrial laser sector, I had a lot of questions and it was a big learning curve for me that was initially overwhelming.  I wouldn’t be where I’m at today without the help and support of my boss and co-workers, and I am so grateful for that.
 
WiM recently unveiled new survey results.  One of the key findings 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 feel like having an organization like Women in Manufacturing is a step in the right direction.  As a person who wants to further her career and achieve goals, you also have to have the initiative to explore and find these opportunities.  Having this support system of other women in manufacturing is a great thing to see, and helps start the conversations for others that might not be aware of the careers and opportunities available to them.
 
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? 
Given my positive experience, I definitely would.  The key point more than anything is to find a great company with a support system that is willing to accept and support you in your career path in manufacturing.  Once you find that, and establish yourself and your abilities, I feel that the level of respect is that much higher in manufacturing because of some of the stereotypes that you come across.
 
Why did you decide to join Women in Manufacturing? How do you personally find value in WiM membership?
Once I heard about Women in Manufacturing, I felt compelled to join because it is nice to be part of an organization that has other women in the same field.  Not only do you feel that you are a part of something valuable, but you also can gain knowledge from others that have had experience or education in things that you might not have yourself.  It’s also inspirational to hear others’ success stories and challenges.


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

#HearHerStory with Sarah Richards President and CEO at Jones Metal, Inc.

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.

Sarah Richards, President and CEO at Jones Metal, Inc.
#HearHerStory / @womeninmfg

Please tell our readers a little bit about your job and what your work looks like every day. 
I work very hard every day to pave a smooth road for my team and stay out of their way. From my seat, it is so easy to jump from one idea to another, but I have learned how hard that can be on my leaders. So, I research our industry and what is trending roughly 6-12 months out so I can focus on our strategy and investments. We have a meeting each week to specifically talk about hot issues, metrics and projects. I also work in sales. We did not become a real sales organization until 2014, so I am doing my best to talk about Jones Metal with anyone who may be interested in hearing about us.
 
In addition to Jones Metal, we have another company called Advanced Coil Technology (ACT), which is 40 miles away from Jones. As president of ACT, I work with their GM each week. This can be a challenge because ACT is smaller and a completely different industry, so I really have to shift gears. Finally, I have been dubbed by my family and team the “face of the franchise.” I am very involved in our community and other industry organizations. This can make for a hectic schedule, but it is an honor that is hard to describe. Honestly, I don’t sleep much at all because it’s hard to shut down the business mind, but I truly love the challenges.
 
 
How did you arrive at your current position?  What attracted you to a career in manufacturing? 
We have quite a family legacy in manufacturing. I grew up listening to my family members talk about it all the time. My maternal grandparents started companies that still employ over 1000 people in the Mankato/North Mankato communities, 90 years after the first one really got started. 
 
I truly wanted to be a part of this legacy when I graduated from college, but my father was convinced that manufacturing was on a downward spiral in the 1980’s and he sent me to find my own way. I stumbled around in education but found that it wasn’t for me.  While searching for my next move, I started working part-time at Keller Golf Course in St. Paul. I loved it and really enjoyed the golf business, which was natural for me since I had been playing golf for most of my life. I decided to pursue my PGA Class-A Golf Professional status while teaching and managing a local St. Paul ski school in the winter. I busted it out, working 70 hours a week in the summer and 50+ in the winter. Eventually, I earned a general manager and head professional position at Cannon Golf Club in MN.
 
After a 25-year career in golf, I was restless and looking for a change. My father had passed away and my mother was scrambling to understand the ins and outs of Jones Metal, a company that her mother founded in 1942. I sensed her struggle and asked her if she needed help. To my surprise, she said “yes.” I joined the family business in 2008. My sister (Jessica Richards-Palmquist), brother (David Richards) and I purchased the business from our mom in 2011. I took over as CEO in 2012 and here we are.
 
 
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? 
Oh boy, I think the golf business was even more gender biased! In the 1990’s, out of 300 head pros in MN, I was one of only three women included. Sometimes I regret the hard shell I developed over the years, which goes all the way back to when I tried out for little league baseball. Title 9 had just passed; I bullied my way onto the field and never looked back. I can’t explain why I’m wired that way, perhaps because my parents supported whatever I wanted to do or it’s just the grit I was born with.
 
Maybe it’s my thirst for an adrenaline rush, willingness to take risks and or my never-wavering pride in projecting my outward image of total self-confidence. Either way, sometimes over the years I have missed comments and behaviors that were derogatory towards women and girls pursuing their dreams. I had let too much of that sort of thing roll off my back that I simply wasn’t paying attention anymore. A friend of mine who holds a non-traditional position in education recently reminded me that I need to take a more responsible role in bringing women forward. After I thought about it for a few days, I agree. 
 
It’s not that I have ignored the issue, but more that I didn’t keep it front and center. I currently do a lot with helping develop my fellow women at Jones Metal, being a part of the conversation in my community and working closely with our local YWCA empowering women and girls. I have a long way to go and much to learn about walking in my peers’ shoes, but it is a very worthy cause. 
 
 
Research shows that women, especially women in STEM fields, do better if they have a mentor.  Has mentorship played any role in your career? 
I have always had a mentor. I love to coach and I love to be coached. My father was the first to observe this when I was very young.  He couldn’t understand why I was willing to put myself through intense drills on the tennis court or why I sought out ski instruction, different coaches with different opinions and tips. I believe you have to dig through a mountain of boulders to really build your own philosophy and values to be your best. Bits and pieces can lead to greatness and I will continue to dig. 
 
There is a part of me that believes girls and women have to want to succeed, have to have some grit and motivation to make it. Another part of me believes I need to show them a path, pull them towards the opportunities, coach and promote them. I have high expectations, but I also recognize that I have had a lot of help along the way. 
 
 
WiM recently unveiled new survey results.  One of the key findings 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 who are involved in manufacturing need to promote careers in manufacturing to everyone. Manufacturing still has a long comeback ahead after a long-term, subconscious marketing campaign in our country turning people away. We have to get into kids’ lives as early as possible. Our local Children’s Museum is a great example here in Mankato. Be the face of American manufacturing, get out there and tell anyone who will listen about the great opportunities. You can work in accounting, sales, engineering or you can be a front-line maker!
 
 
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 am passionate about manufacturing and humbled by the opportunity to be a third-generation owner of a company that has always been woman owned. Clearly, I have so much more work to do promoting this. I want to see the next game-changing innovations in manufacturing come from the minds and hands of women. 
 
 
 


Friday, December 18, 2015

#HearHerStory with Melissa Weimer Production Planner at SPI Lighting

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.

Melissa Weimer, Production Planner at SPI Lighting
#HearHerStory / @womeninmfg
Please tell our readers a little bit about your job and what your work looks like every day.
I am a production planner for the fabrication department at a lighting fixture manufacturing company.  My day begins with entering fabrication orders for upcoming customer orders.  I take care of the capacity planning for our fabrication department; I schedule work on our saw, lathe, CNC vertical machining center, CNC punch press, CNC brake press and CNC router, as well as our plastics department and metal finish area.  Our company does a great deal of custom jobs, so I also project manage the build-ahead orders to ensure fit and function before we run the main order.  I am also responsible for purchasing all raw sheet stock for our fabrication department. The majority of my day is spent ensuring that all machines are running at capacity and we have the material on hand to ensure on-time delivery to our internal customers.
 
How did you arrive at your current position?  What attracted you to a career in manufacturing?
I grew up on a dairy farm in MN, so I was always around machinery and helping my dad repair and restore machinery.  I believe this created the foundation of my technical and mechanical aptitude.  When I was 19, I found myself at a crossroads, and I decided to apply for a job at an exhaust manufacturer. This was where my true love for manufacturing started.  After five years of being a machine operator, I decided that I was ready to move into an office position. I went to work for a boiler manufacturer and I worked for them for 14 years.  After starting as an administrative assistant, I took a lot of chances, said “yes” to many opportunities and got my degrees. For the last 4 ½ years I was there, I was in sales and worked as a product manager.
 
Eventually, there was a change in direction regarding where they wanted my position located, and I was left without a job.  I did extensive soul searching at that time, looked back over the last 14 years and focused on what position in that company made me the happiest and most fulfilled. I realized I was happiest when I was planning for aftermarket parts orders.  I sought out a company that was looking for a manufacturing production planner and that is how I ended up where I am today.
 
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?
When I was 17 years old, I sat in my high school counselor’s office and stated to him that I wanted to go to Southeast Community College for John Deere parts.  He looked at me and said, “John Deere parts isn’t for girls, you are good with computers and accounting so you should be a computer programmer.” So I listened to his advice, and after six months of computer programming, I dropped out of college because I was failing in 80% of my classes. 
 
I knew I wanted to be in a manufacturing environment, so that is why I went to work at the exhaust factory.  I encountered stereotypes when I was a machine operator and even when I was in sales for the boiler manufacturer. I heard all of the time, “This is a man’s world and a girl doesn’t belong here.”  I have been a very strong-willed, independent person from a young age.  I let one person (my high school counselor) decide my fate in life and I vowed to never do it again.  I have worked extra hard to prove myself. I have said “yes” to opportunities that I may not have taken had I listened to those men that stated this wasn’t a place for women.  I learned what I needed to learn to excel in my career and went after whatever I put my mind to.
 
I am however, very fortunate now, because the company I work for encourages women to take the steps to further their careers and gives them opportunities to do so.
 
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 think it is very beneficial to have a mentor that you trust and respect.  I found myself in a new role and at times I felt like I was drowning, but having a mentor helped me see things differently and helped in the process of learning the role and making major decisions.
 
WiM recently unveiled new survey results.  One of the key findings 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?
My opinion is that most companies participate in job fairs at the college level, but more companies should participate at the high school level as well.  This would allow more young women to have exposure to the manufacturing opportunities available to them.
 
Our survey also found that the majority of women in manufacturing today would recommend the sector to young women considering career options.  Would you recommend a career in manufacturing?  And, if so, why? 
Absolutely, manufacturing is changing daily. For me, it’s exciting to see how products are made and assembled, and the impact they have in their new environment. When I worked for the boiler manufacturer, I always got a great sense of pride when I would see our equipment in use. To know that the company I worked for manufactured the equipment to produce steam to extract tar out of the ground at the tar sands site was so amazing. Manufacturing allows an individual to make a difference in the world, from designing a product that is more energy efficient to lifesaving equipment. To be a part of the process is so invigorating.  I have never once regretted the time I have spent in the manufacturing industry.


Friday, December 11, 2015

#HearHerStory with Amber Thomas Vice President of Advocacy at AMT

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.

Amber Thomas, Vice President of Advocacy at AMT
#HearHerStory / @womeninmfg
 
Please tell our readers a little bit about your job and what your work looks like every day.
I’m responsible for overseeing the Association for Manufacturing Technology’s (AMT) advocacy strategy. At AMT, advocacy encompasses both government relations and public affairs. Government relations focuses on garnering congressional support for initiatives that achieve three primary goals: level the global playing field, support R&D investment and innovation, and build a 21st century workforce (AMT calls it the “Smartforce”). Public affairs centers on using the media to change the perception of manufacturing and to urge action on important issues. A typical day is spent reviewing the state-of-play on key legislation; attending a coalition meeting or paying a visit to a Capitol Hill office; answering questions and giving updates to AMT members; issuing a press release on important news; writing a magazine article; doing a little social media, etc. All of these efforts are ultimately aimed at the same thing: improving American manufacturing competitiveness.
 
How did you arrive at your current position?  What attracted you to a career in manufacturing?
Some paths take unexpected turns. I always wanted a career in politics. After I graduated college, I moved straight to D.C. My first job wasn’t on Capitol Hill as I’d hoped, but it was in the vicinity and would pay the bills while I got settled. And so began my career in manufacturing – as a receptionist for the National Machine Tool Builders’ Association, now known as AMT. Thirty years later, I’m in my dream job advocating for an industry that is the backbone of this country.  Part of my job now is to urge lawmakers to support initiatives that attract young people to manufacturing careers.
 
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 woman in the business world, you always encounter stereotypes. But I have to admit, I had the same view of manufacturing growing up, coming from a western Pennsylvania town where steel, coal and rail were the major industries. I knew those jobs paid well, but they were too dirty and dangerous for me. Fast forward 40 years, and take a look inside today’s factories. Contrary to the stereotype, they are modern and loaded with high-tech equipment doing amazing things. Unfortunately, one thing obviously hasn’t changed; there are still very few women on the shop floor. Exposing young women and our elected officials, many of whom still hang on to the old stereotype, to the real world of manufacturing is critical for changing the outdated perception. Plant tours, open houses, events like MFG Day and shows like IMTS are great ways to begin the conversation that will eventually change the mindset.
 
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’ve had many mentors that made important contributions throughout my career. My first boss in government relations taught me things about the legislative process that aren’t written in text books. He also impressed upon me the importance of honesty and integrity in lobbying Congress. My current boss continues to show me manufacturing from a manufacturer’s perspective and encourages me to think outside of the box. All of my mentors taught me aspects of leadership, manufacturing and life that I would never know if not for them.
 
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?
You’ve touched on a few. Groups, like WiM and it’s partners, do a great job getting the word out. Mentors can play a big role in encouraging women to consider careers in manufacturing, and women currently working in manufacturing make great role models. Successful partnerships between businesses, community organizations and schools are reaching more and more students, parents and educators with information on careers in manufacturing. Are they reaching out to school-aged girls, sororities and women’s groups? I’m not sure, but I am sure that we need to make diversity more of a priority in some of these efforts.
 
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? 
You bet. Opportunities are abundant. The wages are excellent.  There’s access to the most advanced technology and innovative products in the world. All skill sets are welcome; from apprentices and community college graduates to those with 4-year degrees and PhDs. Training and education are often offered. And for those women who want to change the world, a career in manufacturing means making an impact in an industry that is key to U.S. economic growth, job creation and national security. In manufacturing, there is literally something for everybody.


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

#HearHerStory with Imelda Trevino-Ingman Engineering Group Manager at General Motors

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.

Imelda Trevino-Ingman, Engineering Group Manager at General Motors
#HearHerStory / @womeninmfg


Please tell our readers a little bit about your job and what your work looks like every day. 
I have global responsibility for the Body-in-White Build of Equipment (BOE) for all General Motors’ body shops.  I also manage the development of lean material strategies. Every day I work with a group of engineers to improve the efficiency of our BOE and lean material strategies by finding ways to innovate where it makes sense.
 
How did you arrive at your current position?  What attracted you to a career in manufacturing?  
I’ve always enjoyed taking things apart to understand how they work.  I also enjoy studying an object and finding different ways to make it better, faster or just overall more efficient.  This led me to pursing a degree in mechanical engineering.
 
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?
Early in my career, I encountered people who stereotyped manufacturing as dirty, dangerous and unsuitable for women. However, times are changing and we all need to break through this stereotype. In the workplace, this can be done by sincerely demonstrating your skills, being a part of the team and continuously building on foundational skills.  Manufacturing offers technology-based, high-skill positions for those who seek them.
 
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 played a big role in my career.  It started when I was in high school, with one of my teachers taking the time to guide me through my career goals and discussing the challenges I might face. This mentorship continued on through college.  In my professional role, I still believe mentors are key contributors to my career.  As a result, I mentor with a nonprofit organization at local high schools, encouraging young women to step out of the norm and consider classes in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.  
            
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?
Simply socialize it and say “women can be successful in manufacturing!”  One way to do so is through a mentoring program.  In the first session of the mentoring program I volunteer with, Winning Futures, I have to introduce myself and describe the details of my job. This experience is eye opening, not just for the mentees, but for the mentors as well. We learn from each other and what the industry has to offer.  Another way to socialize it is through an organization like WiM, which works to support women currently working in the industry. Another simple way is to participate in school career fairs, take the opportunity to speak out on behalf of manufacturing and let people know all it has to offer.
 
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 to women. Manufacturing is so diverse. It offers great opportunities for growth.  Daily, we are challenged to improve the technologies needed to make manufacturing more efficient.
 
 
 


Thursday, November 19, 2015

#HearHerStory with Annette Doyle Managing Director at TRUMPF Ltd.


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.

Annette Doyle, Managing Director at TRUMPF Ltd.
#HearHerStory / @womeninmfg
Please tell our readers a little bit about your job and what your work looks like every day.
I am the managing director for the British subsidiary of TRUMPF, the leading manufacturer of machine tools and industrial lasers. On a daily basis I interact with the employees of various sales and customer service functions and of course with our customers, traveling the country as well as conducting business in our office in Luton, near London.
 
How did you arrive at your current position?  What attracted you to a career in manufacturing?
I have worked in manufacturing my entire working life. After an apprenticeship with an automotive supplier and studies in business administration, I studied mechanical engineering and technology management. I started as a student intern at TRUMPF, and then worked as a manager of the Training Center at TRUMPF in the United States. My last job in the United States was as manager of the machine assembly, actually assembling, testing and shipping the machines TRUMPF sells worldwide. I decided early on that I could not work in a workplace where nothing was made. To be able to see, touch and interact with an actual product was always important to me, so a career in manufacturing was the obvious choice.
 
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?
When dealing with high-tech, the dirt and danger usually stays outside in the yard. At TRUMPF we deal with very high-tech machinery, where all possible dangers are safeguarded well. All TRUMPF locations that I have visited are clean, well lit, modern and a place any woman or man would be happy to work in. Our machines are shipped to a great variety of industries and companies of different sizes, many of which I have visited, and almost all of them pass my ultimate test question: would I let my daughters work here? And of course, TRUMPF itself breaks the main stereotype by having a female CEO and president in Germany who serves as a great role model.
 
Research shows that women, especially women in STEM fields, do better if they have a mentor.  Has mentorship played any role in your career? 
I have been very lucky in that I have always had skilled, friendly and smart people who were my mentors. Some were men, some were women, some worked in the same company and some were outside. These people made a huge impact on my career and helped me make the right decisions in critical situations. Everybody benefits from mentors. Now it is our job to become good mentors for the younger people joining our businesses.
 
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?
Looking at the fact that many companies have difficulties finding skilled employees in the fields of manufacturing and engineering on the one hand and young women choosing careers in other fields even though their skills would be well matched with positions in manufacturing, shows the root of the problem. The two groups need to be brought together early on. Let’s host tours for girl scouts, middle school groups, and let’s invite the top 10 female performers of a school in the STEM subjects and give them tours of exciting, clean and modern factories. Seeing is believing for young women as much as anybody else!
 
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? 
In my career, especially as a manager of a manufacturing department, I have led many tours of young women through TRUMPF and advocated a career in manufacturing for them. It has always made me happy to then see some of them show up later as students and employees in a manufacturing or engineering environment. I have always promoted and recommended manufacturing to young women, because it is a place where you can see an actual product being made, work in international and diverse teams and enjoy a lot of creative freedom. Young people should also understand that manufacturing skills are highly transferrable internationally, I personally have worked and studied in five countries, so, a career in manufacturing can really help you see the world!