As proud members of Women in Manufacturing (WIM), a group of Augurians were on hand for the 12th annual WIM Summit last month in Atlanta. The three-day networking and educational event attracted over 1,000 manufacturing professionals from around the world. It was rated as WIM’s largest event to date.
“I went there thinking I was representing all the women working at Augury,” says Courtney Levin, an Enterprise Sales Executive at Augury. “I assumed I would learn things from the keynotes and discussions and then share this with the rest of Augury,” says Courtney, “Yes, that happened. But there was also a lot more going on. It really felt like everyone there was part of the same team.”
The Power Of Mentorship
Courtney sort of fell into manufacturing. “Six or seven years ago, I was working at a tech company in their software division and a random recruiter reached out to me and asked if I wanted to move into manufacturing. I bit. And I never looked back.”
It helped having a strong role model. “My first manager KCat was just a badass – for lack of a better word. There are so few women in manufacturing and she really paved the way at our company for women in leadership roles. Our team had a lot of women – and this showed me the potential.”
Courtney is now a mentor herself and sees WIM as an organization that can broaden and amplify the benefits of mentorship. “It’s just so valuable to get support from people who are higher up in an organization – and they don’t have to belong to the same minority group, or be from the same department or even the same company.”
Another aspect of the summit that stood out for Courtney was the quality of all the keynotes. “Usually when you go to a conference, you don’t come out of every session inspired. But here were all these powerful, intelligent and innovative women sharing their experiences and positive messages.” One talk stood out particularly: ‘Amplify Your Impact: Effective Everyday Advocacy’ by Kathryn Bardi, a renowned expert in Applied Neuroscience and DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion).
“She really gave me a lightbulb moment. She talked about that feeling you get when you as a female enter a meeting with only men – which happens a lot in our field. She explained what was happening in your brain and it helped validate experiences we’ve had numerous times as women.
Womanhood In The House
One of the things that surprised Courtney most about the summit was how easy it was to talk to everyone. “I was there to learn but then lead-gen came naturally since everyone was interested in helping one another ,” she says.
On one level this was because it was an industry event. “Everyone there knows the importance of avoiding downtime. They understand the implications of a solution that can warn you before something happens: a solution that tells you what the issue is and how to fix it. They understand what that means in terms of efficiency, costs and safety.”
But on another level, there was an ingrained sense of camaraderie. “I would be talking with someone about Augury and they would stop me to say ‘Hey, let me grab my VP here because they really need to hear this’. One person even said, ‘Shut up and take my money’. Everybody was really out to help everybody.”
“A casual conversation during breakfast would lead to people giving me their card – and then chasing me down when I didn’t email them quickly enough. This level of immediate interest doesn’t happen normally! Not to point fingers at a particular gender, but usually VPs run away when they see me coming,” laughs Courtney.
More Diversity Please!
It’s a fact that when teams are more diverse, they are more successful. And now is certainly a time when manufacturing needs more success stories. “Our industry must work harder to embrace diversity. We’re all going to be better for it. I know this is such an obvious thing, but it’s still not very pervasive at the moment,” says Courtney.
“The main theme across all discussions during the summit – not just during keynotes but also breakouts – was that the number one issue facing manufacturing is people. And the answer is diversity: not just women, but being inclusive for everybody.”
“We’ll definitely be back next year and meanwhile trying to attend as many regional events as possible. And I’ll be trying to drag every woman working at Augury with us.“
Further related reading:
‘Women In STEM: Operations Manager Amanda Reineck and Maintenance Engineer Shelby Gagliardi From GAF’
‘Women In STEM: Corinne Nielsen, Reliability Success Manager at Augury’
‘Women In STEM: Elise Morse, Vibration Analyst at Augury’