Episode 40

40: Putting Women In the Driver's Seat

Read the article here: Empowering women in the construction equipment sector

Lori: Improving Economies for Stronger Communities is what the acronym stands for. So it's a non-profit organization that focuses on creating economic opportunity for people in communities, especially around like developing countries and whatnot. So I think that's fascinating and I love that mission.

So Komatsu India went with to this company to help get more women trained to operate excavators, and I thought that was interesting. So I thought, let's let's talk about that on the show because, you know, manufacturing and ladies.

Erin: And the future we'd like to talk about… the future is women. And this is a really, really strong example. I mean, just for our listeners, essentially, it's a really advanced training program. They put a lot of resources into training people up on these excavators, but with an eye towards the particular needs of women, given that they have not traditionally been part of this workforce.

And so looking for ways to welcome women into this industrial sector and give them the skills that they need to really thrive and do well in it. And so you can imagine why even in the U. S. that would be kind of a big deal, right? Like these things are massive monster machines and that sort of work is often considered “burly man work”. 

Lori: And why not give more women the opportunity? I mean, there's a need for this work to get done. So if women are interested in learning how to run the machinery and the equipment and fill some of these holes in the job market, then why not? 

Lori: I mean, my thinking is…  I'm going to say the word that I tried to avoid, but it's just a good word. It's pivot. When change is required or there's a need to be filled, then why not make an adjustment to the norms? I see your argument, but I also think that this is a smart move. If there's demand to fill holes, and you have people that are willing to learn something new to fill that void, then what's wrong with that? 

Erin: I don't think that anything's wrong with it. Where my concern lies is this real societal progress. Let's take for example, we're looking at automation, right? We're looking at a lot of these types of jobs in particular moving towards an automation or robotic space. I don't know enough about this industry, but I know that is happening. Who's the first to go? Partly seniority is going to be an issue. The women are new because this is a new initiative, but also when we're not looking at structural change that isn't just about filling a need or what's needed here, then the first step back is going to be letting those women return to lower paying, lower opportunity jobs because why not, you know? They're the easy one to let go. And what are the signals where we're making real lasting change where women, whatever the economic or the labor infrastructure is, maintain our opportunities going forward. What are those signs?


Women In Manufacturing - with Meaghan Ziemba


And so much more… 


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Connect with Lori on LinkedIn and visit www.keystoneclick.com for your strategic digital marketing needs!  

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Transcript
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You want to learn more about your host? Make sure to listen to episode one.

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[00:00:52] Erin Courtenay: I'm good. I'm feeling good. Yeah.

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[00:00:57] Erin Courtenay: I know.

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[00:01:01] Erin Courtenay: I know. We keep having, everybody's busy, but that's good. That's a good sign. I like it.

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[00:01:07] Erin Courtenay: It's good busy. That's right. But yeah, we'll get the, we'll get the home team back together just as soon as we can. In the meantime, let's rock this thing.

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[00:01:42] Erin Courtenay: No, I'm only chuckling because you're being so honest. I mean, You don't need to tell us. You just knew.

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But anyway, so Komatsu India went with to this company to help get more women trained to operate excavators, and, and I thought that was interesting. So I thought, let's let's talk about that on the show because, you know, manufacturing and ladies and you know.

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And so looking for ways to welcome women into this industrial sector and give them the skills that they need to really thrive and do well in it. And so you can imagine why even in the U. S. that would be kind of a big deal, right? Like these things are massive monster machines and that sort of work is often considered, you know, burly man work.

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[00:03:42] Erin Courtenay: Yeah. And that's where, that was something I started to kind of think about... it reminded me of Rosie. Rosie the Riveter. Remember we had a show where we, didn't we talk to Rosie's granddaughter? Remember that?

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[00:04:00] Erin Courtenay: Yeah, that was super. Go, we'll, we'll go back. We'll put it in the show notes so that people get to listen because I will always remember that conversation.

She actually met a lot of those women that were, you know, on the floor during World War II, making it happen. And we all love the posters and it's such an awesome period of, you know, female enlightenment, cause we, there was just a need and it was like, well, let's get the, the ladies can get it done. And guess what folks? We did. And then what happened? I don't know. What happened to Rosie? She got like early retirement. I guess I call that. So I, when I see these needs based, you know, achievements for women, it, it sort of puts me in two minds. I'm, I'm a pragmatist, you know, that's, that's what needs to happen. I'm not, you know, gonna protest that fact. But I also, when I read something like this, which I think the source may have been Komatsu in terms of, you know, the, the article itself and it's PR, like, well, good for you. Also, like, You're just getting it done, and I don't know. I have, I am, I'm a little skeptical of how much of an accomplishment that is for, for the hiring organization. Know what I'm saying?

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But at the same time, I mean, my thinking is. Every and I'm going to say the word that I tried to avoid, but it's just a good word.

Well, it's pivot. I mean, when there's, when, when change is required or there's a need to be filled, then why not make an adjustment to the norms? So I see your argument, but I also think that this is, it's a smart move. If there's demand to fill holes, and you have people that are willing to learn something new to, you know, fill that void, then what's wrong with that?

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I don't know enough about this industry, but I know that is happening. Who's the first to go? Partly seniority is going to be an issue. And these are, you know, the women are new because this is a new initiative, but also when we're not looking at, you know, structural change that isn't just about filling a need or what's needed here, then the first Step back is going to be letting those women return to, you know, lower paying, lower opportunity jobs because why not, you know? Like they're, they're the easy one to let go. And if we're, what are the signals where we're making real lasting change, where women, whatever the economic or the labor infrastructure is that we maintain our opportunities going forward, what are those signs? Again, I don't really know. I just... Hey, it's part of my it's part of my natural instinct to be skeptical and I'm not always right. But I do think that it's, it's worth, you know, poking the bear a little bit on this one.

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[00:08:43] Erin Courtenay: Well, and it also brought up, Lori, our favorite subject is AI. Cause I'm like, well. Did Chet GPT put this together and somebody just rolled it out on, you know, it's a big departure, but I think our entire, the consumption of our media landscape is just getting complicated.

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[00:09:03] Erin Courtenay: And I think that that critical thinking that I can, I can dive way too deep into that rabbit hole, but it's, it's, it's necessary now where you, and I don't know how to balance that skepticism. And I'm talking about bigger picture issues, but it's definitely relevant here. How do you balance a healthy skepticism with not just throwing out the baby with the bathwater? Like here we have a good, good news. You know, we have good jobs. For women in a country that is, you know, has a complicated history with equity and equality. So that's great. And then how do you balance that observation with like, well, what's the source and what do they want from me as a reader? Yeah, you know what I'm saying?

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[00:10:09] Erin Courtenay: Well, we don't have to go down. We don't have to go down. It's just, I think, in all areas of progress, there's, you know, you have to be, you have to be a discerning consumer of information.

And as females, as advocates for women in manufacturing, it's important to think about who's the source, what do they want from us, and to think about how can we, how can we be informed advocates. And I think, you know, this show hopefully provides one of the one of the points of consideration is people are, are thinking about the future and progress in manufacturing for women in the workforce.

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So I apologize for that. But at the same time I want to trust that leaning into I mean, Komatsu is a very well known brand in the manufacturing space. Absolutely. Assume if there's anything not in a positive light or misinformation about them, they would do their best to remove it, you know, or whatever, or, or put some information out there that says this isn't accurate, but yeah, that that trusting, verifying, validating the information is extremely important.

And I, I agree in that there's going to be greater concern with that validation. With the continued evolution of AI. I know there are sources. And tools being created to help you validate the information that is generated out of AI, which is great, but we also have to teach people how to use those and educate them to not always trust what's being generated.

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[00:12:51] Lori Highby: I just found online that it is a press release. But it's actually published on their website as well, which I think is great.

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You're, you're just not going to get that full range of Perspectives.

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[00:13:45] Erin Courtenay: There is, there is. And it's, and I think it's really important to be a discerning consumer Of media and because what we want, I think what we all want is progress and opportunity for everyone. I think that is, that is a shared value. Yeah. And to, to what happened, I recall, you know, early in the What was it, ozone and, and early on with greenhouse gases, something started to happen that was called greenwashing.

And we still talk about it a little bit today. And in, in what can happen when there is this sort of, you know, Oh, everything, you know, rose, rose colored glasses, did you become complacent? And that's just a concern that I have, especially when we talk to, you know, we had a guest recently and folks will probably have had a chance to listen to that show speaking with Dana and she was talking about how much things have improved since she became a female engineer and, you know, things are better, everything down from safety equipment to just like, you know, expectations of her colleagues.

And that's really good. She said there's still work to be done and I want to be sure that we all maintain the perspective of listen to the people on the ground because it's too easy to want to see the best and the brightest in what we're doing because, I mean, who needs more bad news, right? But listening to the people on the ground in the end, that's the, that's, that's our role, right?

That's our role to like, really share the stories of the people that are doing the work. And so when I, when I get the opportunity to see something from a source that isn't suspect, but has, you know, has a position, then I just want to know more, essentially. Yeah.

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Maybe it is newsworthy.

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[00:16:00] Lori Highby: It's a fantastic initiative that Kumatsu India has put into place and I appreciate that they are taking steps to be advocates for more women in the construction and manufacturing space.

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[00:16:16] Lori Highby: Wow. I don't know how many different loop de loops we went in and that conversation aired. We needed Chris here to like hold the fort down maybe. I don't know. Well, I don't remember this podcast ever being you know, A simple, a lesson, it's conversation. So here we go. Here we go.

This is the truth. All right. Well that was fun and exciting. We'll include all the links in the show notes here to make your life easier to, you know, read the article we want to hear from you, actually, that would be great to hear what you think about this article and your opinions on what's happening with putting more women in the manufacturing space.

All right. This. Is three broads bringing you stories, strategies exploring manufacturing topics that challenge the status quo while laying the foundations for future success. And I think that's exactly what we just did today. So great to have all of you listening, we want to hear from you. All right, have a good one.

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About the Podcast

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a BROADcast for Manufacturers
The purpose of this show is to share knowledge, have fun and bring diverse, yet important topics in the manufacturing space to the forefront.

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About your hosts

Profile picture for Lori Highby

Lori Highby

Lori Highby is a podcast host, speaker, educator, and founder of Keystone Click, a strategic digital marketing agency. Using her vast multi-industry knowledge – gained from experience and education, She has the ability to see the potential of greatness within the already established good of a business. Through strategic actionable moves, she has worked with Fortune 500 companies to micro-business owners, to achieve their marketing goals.
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Kristina Harrington

Kris Harrington is the President and Chief Operations Officer for GenAlpha Technologies. Kris joined GenAlpha in March of 2013 with the purpose to help B2B manufacturer’s grow revenue by implementing technologies that make it easier to do business.

Combined with the strength of her team, Kris is accountable for establishing customer relationships and engaging manufacturers in B2B commerce solutions that bring value to their organization and the customers they serve. Her discussions with manufacturing leaders tend to move into three different categories:

– Assessing the business for digital commerce readiness
– Finding ways to re-energize the sales channel by focusing on the customer experience
– Increasing options for managing the dealer vs direct sales strategy

Prior to joining GenAlpha, Kris worked for more than ten years in leadership positions with two large multinational manufacturing companies, Bucyrus International and Caterpillar, supporting the mining industry. In her various positions she had a responsibility to work with internal stakeholders, dealers, and customers to deliver business results both in aftermarket and equipment sales.
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Erin Courtenay

Erin Courtenay is VP of Digital Services at Earthling Interactive. Erin loves watching programmers work their magic, opening up the possibilities of the internet to small and medium businesses with powerful websites and custom software. Calling herself a “digital empathy practitioner”, Erin is determined to help clients move thoughtfully and compassionately into their digital future.