STEP Ahead Awards Showcase Women in Manufacturing

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Last night, The Manufacturing Institute hosted the 2020 STEP Ahead Awards, honoring 130 women in manufacturing for their leadership within the industry and the example they set for other women in manufacturing. Though it was a virtual event, the upbeat spirit of these women, who are helping the industry support America through the pandemic, was fully on display—with a massive crowd tuning in online.

Here are a few key quotes from the speakers:

  • STEP Chair Erika Peterman, BASF senior vice president for chemical intermediates North America, said, “[In the future], women will continue to be key contributors to our economy. . . . Manufacturing in the future may not look like it does today, but it will be around, and there will be opportunities for professional growth for all workers. And lastly, STEP Ahead will continue to provide programs and forums that foster and encourage females to enter the world of manufacturing and pursue their careers.”
  • Manufacturing Institute Executive Director Carolyn Lee: “The most famous symbol of manufacturing in America is a woman, Rosie the Riveter. Rosie inspired women to work in America’s arsenal of democracy during WWII. Today, manufacturers have mobilized to fight a new war, against COVID-19. . . . And that wouldn’t be possible without a dedicated, talented, innovative and diverse workforce. And that includes the women we honor here tonight, who will inspire a new generation.”
  • NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons: “I couldn’t wait to raise a glass to all of you tonight. . . . I can’t think of anyone I’d rather toast than the women of manufacturing, because you are the backbone. . . . Our industry will rise to any challenge, so long as talented and driven and heroic women are leading the charge. That’s our past, that’s our present, and there is no doubt that’s our future.”

And there was more . . . The program also featured an appearance by STEP Vice Chair Kathy Wengel (Johnson & Johnson executive vice president and chief global supply chain officer), a cameo from Olympic gold medalist and WNBA MVP Lisa Leslie and a musical performance by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. The gala’s hosts were NAM Senior Vice President of Communications and Brand Strategy Erin Streeter and PROCEPT BioRobotics Director of Manufacturing Akhila Bhiman, who was also a 2018 STEP Ahead honoree.

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