It’s no surprise that IWIM believes women get stuff done. Honoring and sharing the stories of women leading change in manufacturing is what we’re all about, and we’re proud to share that commitment to uplifting women with leaders such as Empowering Women in Industry director Charli Matthews.
To continue to introduce women to manufacturing and other STEM fields, it is important to build community. This is a goal of both IWIM and Empowering Women in Industry.
Empowering Women in Industry’s website states: “We need to shine a light on women in [STEM] fields, on their accomplishments, and their character so we can learn from them.”
Women in industry are undervalued and underrepresented, says Matthews, who’s the founder of both Empowering Women in Industry and EmpoweringPumps.com, the latter for professionals in the pump industry. Empowering Women in Industry seeks to act as a megaphone for women in the industry to help further the reach of their accomplishments and work, Matthews notes, and IWIM is excited to participate in Empowering Women in Industry’s conference and gala on Sept. 26. The accomplishments of women in the field will also be honored at the 2019 Influential Women in Manufacturing awards luncheon at Chicago’s MxD on Oct. 4.
Matthews notes the value of collaborative efforts to elevate the accomplishments and visibility of women creating change in industry.
“It’s important to share those [success] stories online,” Matthews says. “A lot of people are hesitant to share women’s stories, especially in this space … Engineers don’t want to take risks a lot of the time and be in the spotlight—they don’t want to brag on themselves. I say, ‘That’s my job. I will brag on you. You’re awesome. You’re doing some of the coolest stuff I’ve ever seen.’ Going through that and sharing this is important, to be in the spotlight so that we can have role models and can build better industry.”
The first step to highlighting the work of women in industry is to create a community of women in industry, Matthews says. Men still hold around 70% of U.S. manufacturing jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Matthews says she has found that face-to-face interactions at conferences and events are the most beneficial and successful way to connect with other women.
A large part of building this community is achieved through networking, Matthews indicates, and creating connections means creating relationships with others who share a mission similar to your own. Matthews sees great benefits in networking, and says that without it she would not have the business she has today.
“Networking should be connecting for purpose,” Matthews said. “We should go into every networking opportunity and see how we can help someone.”
To Matthews, confidence is key. Success and building relationships is all about having confidence in yourself and your personal business mission.
“I think the biggest struggle that we have is overcoming limiting beliefs,” Matthews says. “Sometimes, we hesitate to make the ask. I would just encourage people if they have an idea that they go ahead and make that ask. What’s the worst that could happen?”
To learn more about Empowering Women in Industry, please visit: https://www.empoweringwomeninindustry.com/