Earlier today, @Serena Wong and I flew to St. Louis to team up with Eaton Corporation, a global leader in the electrical and industrial power industries, to host another installment of our STEP Forward series.
STEP Forward is a part of the Institute's national initiative: STEP Ahead, which recognizes the potential of the female workforce to bridge the serious skills gap that currently afflicts manufacturing.
The Institute's STEP Forward events provide manufacturers in local communities the opportunity to learn best practices on attracting and retaining women in the industry. It also gives women the opportunity to connect with others in science, technology, engineering, and production (STEP) roles. By highlighting female role models in the industry, STEP Forward aims to showcase manufacturing as an exciting field with tangible rewards for women.
At our St. Louis event, we began the evening with a networking reception, providing attendees the chance to discuss their unique experiences and share the actions their companies have taken to encourage women in manufacturing. We then heard from a panel of female industry leaders – Laura Loepker, Financial Operations Controller at Eaton's B-Line Business, Juni Myers, Process Engineer at Brewer Science, and Vicki Dawkins, President of Hermetic Motor, Emerson – who shared their personal journeys into their manufacturing careers. Their stories were phenomenal and their advice, including being willing to take risks, embrace change management, and find informal mentors, was tangible.
At the end of the evening, participants in the event were asked to sign the STEP Pledge to make a concrete commitment to action in order to continue inspiring other women to pursue manufacturing. The commitments made by these women attest to the Manufacturing Institute's philosophy that one person can inspire many, generating positive momentum toward closing the gender gap in the next generation of manufacturers.