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  • Writer's pictureAsk the Lady in the Hard Hat

A Manufacturer, Princess, or a Teacher?

As a child I did not set up my dolls in a circle and say, “Let’s play Manufacturing Plant”. No, I played school. I played school because that was what I knew, I was familiar with school; I knew what the teacher looked like, the props and the expectations. In adulthood, I still did not dream of being in Manufacturing – why would I? I did not know anyone who looked like me in Manufacturing. How can I dream of something I cannot describe or see in action? So, I did the next most natural thing – I fell backwards into the world of Manufacturing. I entered into a world that was foreign to me with promises of financial security, career advancement and an incredible opportunity to learn to adapt creativity into a mechanical process. I loved Manufacturing from day 1. The processes, the people, the results driven culture and the hard work were attributes I had been looking for in a career without knowing. My role was Marketing and Sales. I am a people person who loves process! The world of Manufacturing allowed me to develop an aptitude for achieving amazing financial results and exploring connection with the production and scheduling teams to create processes, and continuous improvement systems that made the entire operation more successful.

A life working in a historically male dominated field was exciting – I was blazing a path for women to follow. Things happened that were strange, but I accepted that there would be challenges. For example, the team meeting announcing me as incoming employee indicated, “well gents, imagine it seems the best man for a job is a woman!” I was proud of this proclamation! There were many other examples as my tenure extended. Mostly good but occasionally strange. Only 3 women at a National event of 400 was an honour, right? Walking on the shop floor as the only woman as all heads turned builds character, right? What happens though if you want to climb the ladder and lead beyond the middle level traditional role? How do you find a Mentor to see what it’s like to support your family and grow in the workplace? Being a trailblazer matched my life choice of leading with resilience and courage, but these traits were lonely, I felt alone.

After 25+ years as a Woman in Manufacturing, I have learnt that connection matters. Sharing our experiences, lessons learned and having a network of available resources, including Mentors makes Manufacturing more diverse and inclusive.

This realistic life blog will use humour and real examples to find a connection with Women who have chosen to live a successful Manufacturing life. Future blog topics; Imposter Syndrome, Work life balance, Princess Problems, Should I bake cookies, Pardon? I don’t care if your wife wears a bra, Mentorship and career exploration. I am open to suggestions and topics of conversation. Drop me a note and let’s explore!

Stronger together - lead thru example – fuel a generation!

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clare mitchell
clare mitchell

Love this! First paragraph really resonated with me - although I am not in manufacturing my guidance counsellor didn't offer it as an option (or many other amazing and rewarding careers!) - let alone the one I am hanging my hat on for now! I look forward to future posts!


Shannon Leppky
Shannon Leppky

Congratulations on starting to share your story Pam! Your voice is important. I look forward to seeing more. Shannon


Robin Parsons
Robin Parsons

I look forward to future issues! This could be a great space for connection.

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