Women in Manufacturing Education Foundation board of directors announced

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The Women in Manufacturing Education Foundation's four education programs address core competencies for leaders in the manufacturing industry with a goal of increasing the number of women in leadership roles. PHOTO courtesy PLZ.

The Women in Manufacturing Education Foundation (WiMEF) has announced the election of 21 members to its 2024 Board of Directors, including Stacey Heidbrink from The Dow Chemical Company in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta.

The terms of the new board members begin on April 1, 2024.

The board is led by Chair Mary Ellen Grom, Executive Director, Customer Experience Solutions, AFL, Duncan, SC; Vice Chair Steve Speich, Operations Lead, John Deere, Fargo, ND; Secretary Laura Wilde, Vice President Quality, Ultra Maritime, Braintree, MA; and Past Chair/Treasurer Veronica Braker, Vice President of Operational Excellence, Southwire Company, Decatur, IL).

First-term members of the 2024 WiMEF board are:

  • Tara Ashcraft, Diversity and Inclusion Leader, Trane Technologies, Davidson, NC
  • Dr. Maja Durant, Senior HR Director, Greif, Delaware, OH
  • Kaytie Elder, IAM/Boeing Joint Apprenticeship Program Senior Manager, Boeing, Auburn, WA
  • Dr. Susan Emmerich, Manufacturing Talent Programs (DEI) Manager, BASF Corporation, Florham Park, NJ
  • Stacey Heidbrink, Senior Responsible Care Director, The Dow Chemical Company, Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, Canada
  • Lynn Kier, Senior Director Strategic Communications, Shaw Industries, Charlotte, NC
  • Kate Leiby, General Manager Power Generation, Donaldson Company Inc., Bloomington, MN
  • Danielle Schneider, Applications Engineer, Pridgeon & Clay, Grand Rapids, MI
  • Paula Timco, Associate Director, Sherwin Williams, Cleveland, OH

“I am pleased to welcome this distinguished group of industry leaders to the Board of Directors,” said WiMEF Executive Director Gretchen Moore. “We rely on our board to provide leadership and expertise during an exciting season of growth and innovation within both WiMEF and the manufacturing sector.”

The 21-member board of directors supports the organization’s work to advance women in the manufacturing workforce. WiMEF is the partner organization to the Women in Manufacturing Association (WiM), a national trade association dedicated to supporting, promoting and inspiring women in manufacturing.

“WiMEF is the driving force behind leadership development for women at all stages of their manufacturing careers,” said Allison Grealis, President and Founder of WiM and WiMEF. “This board brings diversity of experience and expertise to the work of the WiM Education Foundation, and I am grateful for their commitment to advancing women leaders throughout the manufacturing industry.”

WiMEF’s four education programs address core competencies for leaders in the manufacturing industry with a goal of increasing the number of women in leadership roles: The Leadership Institute for Women in STEM and Manufacturing, Management Development Program, and Empowering Women in Production Program, as well as a Virtual Learning Series that provides monthly webinars. Since 2017, nearly 900 women have graduated from the education programs and more than 15,000 have participated in the Virtual Learning Series.

Additional members of the WiMEF board who are continuing their service are:

•       Kori Carlson, President, Brooklyn Tool, Minneapolis, MN

•       Melissa DeTamble, Chief Human Resources Officer, Ascential Technologies, Ada, MI

•       Mani Khanuja, Senior Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Specialist Solutions Architect, Amazon Web Services, Seal Beach, CA

•       Shameka Lewis, Director Environment Health Safety, Kellanova, Fort Worth, TX

•       Vanessa Li, Program Manager – Advanced Technologies, Novelis, Kennesaw, GA

•       Joanna Perz, Global Sustainability Manager, Ingersoll Rand, Davidson, NC

•       Melissa Rocha, Vice President of Global Sourcing, Kymera International, Charlotte, NC

•       Catherine Ross, Director of Community Engagement, The Association for Manufacturing Technology, McLean, VA

Moore also thanked outgoing members of the WiMEF board for their outstanding service: Michel Conklin, BotsIQ; Sascha Harrel, Purdue University IN-MaC; Cara Herzog, Southwire; Danielle Lancianese, Shaw Industries; Leslie LeMair, Northern Contours; Jennifer Martin, Toyota North America; JoAnn Mitchell, Mitchell Management and Consulting; Shauna Smith, IDEX; and Carrie Uhl, Danaher.

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