A skills gap is on the horizon in the manufacturing industry—and women are a rich, under-utilized source of talented workers. Key to bridging the impending chasm is the ability for organizations to engage and promote women, an idea wholly supported by one of the industry’s leading networking groups, Women in Manufacturing (WiM).
The work of influencers to effect positive change could be seen and experienced this month at the 8th Annual WiM Summit, where sponsors such as Dassault Systèmes helped to provide a platform to expand women’s participation and influence in the industry. Held this year in Indianapolis, Indiana, the summit changes location every year, moving around the country to maximize participants’ opportunities to develop a diverse and broad network in manufacturing.
According to Angela Regan, Dassault Systèmes’ Global Director of Business Development for the DELMIA brand and chairperson of the Massachusetts chapter of WiM, the summit is a highly motivating experience that happens at the end of the summer, after a traditionally busy and exhausting season in manufacturing. “Women go to this event to get the wind beneath their wings. We get re-energized.” Regan has seen firsthand how the workforce gap will affect the industry in the near future. “This is a critical issue. A significant amount of effort must be made in order to shore up and expand the pool of talent available to our industry.”
Making an Impact
This year, one theme dominated at the summit: Making an Impact. From keynote presentations to breakout sessions and plant tours, presenters covered a broad spectrum of topics that spurred attendees to ask themselves: In what way do I want to make an impact in my career? How can I accomplish those goals?
Among the unique and practical ways to explore these questions were sessions on crisis management and how to recover from significant business interruptions and professional goal-setting. Ellen Van Ousten, a professor at Case Western University and instructor of the WiM leadership certification program considered the role of emotions and how to leverage them in leadership and life. Another session led by Betsy Berkhemer-Credaire, CEO, 2020 Women on Boards encouraged women to spur change by serving on corporate and non-profit boards where they have the power to make or influence decisions.
Dassault Systèmes’ Sponsorship
Dassault Systèmes participated in this year’s summit by providing transportation to and from the plant tours. Participants from the summit visited Praxair Surface Technologies, Major Tool & Machine, Fastenal Company, Crown Equipment, Rolls Royce and Salesforce.
As an MC for the break-out sessions, Regan introduced various speakers, including Cindy Bolt, Senior Vice President for Salesforce Industries, who leads a global industry strategy team for the Manufacturing, Automotive, and Energy sectors and discussed the important role that women play in the fourth industrial revolution. Other influential speakers included Molly Ford, Senior Director of Global Equality Programs at Salesforce, who inspired attendees with her recommendations for millennials looking to take on the world: first, do your job well and succeed, then people will listen to you.
WiM at Work
A frequent and enthusiastic attendee at WiM events, Regan reminisces about what she’s learned through her participation with the organization over time—important ideas she needed to hear and learn in order to grow at different points in her career.
“When I was first asked to come to this event, I found myself sitting in a conference room listening to women who, in addition to being Dassault Systèmes’ customers, quickly became incredible role models for me.” Regan’s relationship to WiM has grown to where she now participates on panels to inspire new recruits and works alongside members to promote each other’s manufacturing careers.
At WiM events, Regan wears two hats, as a representative of Dassault Systèmes, and a promoter of Women in Manufacturing. “With my Dassault Systèmes hat on, I’m always interested in discovering where our customers are in implementing a digital journey for their organization. That said, the nature of WiM events—in which women are there to support each other in their careers—allows me to have a more bonded interaction with people who happen to be prospects or customers. We’re all there to help each other. I’m there to create an ongoing relationship with a network of women I’ll be connected with throughout my career.”
Creating New Opportunities
In her role at Dassault Systèmes, Regan has created opportunities for WiM to share specific ideas and strategies for engaging women by leveraging and reaching out to the company’s network of customers.
Through Regan’s efforts, WiM President and founder Alison Grealis will speak at COExperience in New Orleans in 2019, an event created by an independent community group utilizing the Dassault Systèmes suite of solutions. Grealis will identify specific ways women can help to fill the skills gap in manufacturing for these active and engaged users and customers. Grealis will also serve on a panel to discuss women’s roles in digital manufacturing at Dassault Systèmes’ upcoming Digital Manufacturing Symposium. At both events, Grealis will have the opportunity to introduce her organization to the many Dassault Systèmes’ customers in attendance, while showing how they can get women to take on important manufacturing roles at their own organizations.
Now that you’ve read about the platform and resources WiM provides, take a deeper dive by exploring the other articles in our series on Women in Manufacturing. Learn the perils of the coming skills gap and read a fascinating interview with Alison Grealis, President and Founder of WiM.
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