Women in STEM unite . . . and give back!

The inaugural WOMEN IN STEM luncheon took place this past April during the Manufacturing & Technology event in Pittsburgh. The gathering brought together some of the industry’s most successful women and companies to discuss the challenges and opportunities they see in STEM today and to inspire a new generation of women and build a diverse workforce. The luncheon provided a forum for discussions on the most relevant industry topics and a setting for women to meet, exchange ideas and network.

“Empowering women in the manufacturing industry is vital. We’re excited to create a setting for women to meet, exchange ideas and network,” said Travis Hessman, Content Director, Manufacturing & Technology 2019. “Attendees will hear from inspiring speakers who are making a mark in our industry. These speakers discuss the vital role science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines play in the future of manufacturing.”

The event featured a keynote presentation from Cindy Bolt, Senior Vice President and General Manager, manufacturing, automotive and energy, an evangelist for industries at Salesforce. She presented “The Future of Equality Leadership.” One of the most profound shifts taking place in the industry has to do with people and the growing recognition that in order to be successful companies must move toward a more diverse workforce and equality in the workplace. She highlighted how female leaders can be trailblazers when it comes to their own careers and how women can take a leadership role in redefining industry norms. Bolt is a 30-year veteran in working in a STEM field.

Following the keynote, a panel discussion featuring STEM pioneers focused on the challenges and opportunities of diversity in the manufacturing workplace. The case for diversity and the positive benefits are clear. But with a looming shortage of skilled labor in the manufacturing sector, companies are hard pressed to find enough qualified workers at all, much less achieving the kind of workforce diversity that most acknowledge is an imperative today. Panelists explored the state of workforce diversity at all levels in manufacturing, the progress that’s been made and what today’s companies can do to overcome obstacles and help build a pipeline of qualified workers for the factories of the future.

The panel discussion was be led by Karen Field, Design and Electronics Executive Director of Content, Informa, Infrastructure Intelligence and former mechanical engineer at Texas Instruments. Panelists included Cindy Bolt, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Salesforce; Petra Mitchell, President, and CEO, Catalyst Connection; Suzy Teele, Head of Marketing & Communications, ARM Institute; and Buckley Brinkman, Executive Director/CEO, Wisconsin Center for Manufacturing and Productivity.

And the best part . . . half of the luncheon proceeds were donated towards scholarships to the STEM program at Carnegie Mellon University, Girls of Steel.

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