Inspiring Women in Manufacturing part one

Posted on 10 Dec 2020 by Tom Lane

In the build up to the end of 2020 The Manufacturer and KTN have teamed up to bring you profiles on 30 Inspiring Women in Manufacturing.

NOMIS data shows approximately 24-25% female representation in manufacturing. 8% of professional Engineers are females, yet, 14% of first degrees in Engineering are awarded to females. We want to help inspire the next generation of female engineers, so with KTN, we will be profiling 30 inspiring women in the sector to get their backgrounds and words of wisdom.

Although gender diversity is just one aspect of broadening representation in manufacturing, we feel it’s a good place to start.

During Digital Manufacturing week, where we focus on technology innovations, we spoke with 30 inspiring women in manufacturing who have each enabled change and innovation. We celebrate their achievements and stories and ask them what advice they’d pass on to others following in their footsteps.

I hope you are inspired as we are!

Kate Barnett, Global Operations Director, ThermoFisher Scientific

 “No guts, no glory: nudge yourself out of your comfort zone and try things out safely by assembling a trusted team around you who can give you honest feedback. Aim high. Be authentic. Give credit where it is due.” 

Inspiring Women

As a qualified engineer, Kate leads as Global Operations Director in ThermoFisher Scientific, a $25Bn Medical Devices multinational that’s extremely busy contributing to the solution to the global pandemic. She runs plants in the UK, Europe and the US, specialising in transforming underperforming sites to dynamic businesses. As a strong advocate of Continuous Improvement/Kaizen/Lean Six Sigma Kate has been responsible for confidential high-security examination printing to worldwide markets, managing 700 staff in the commercial wing of Cambridge University. Previously she worked at Crown Holdings (CarnaudMetalbox plc) manufacturing a million tin cans a day for the food industry as the 1st female General Mgr in the company’s 75 year UK history. Kate has a patient husband whom she met at college in Oxford, two gorgeous teenage daughters and a fluffy kitten. In 2018 she completed the Global Executive MBA at INSEAD based in Paris and Singapore – highly recommended for lifelong learning!

Dolores Sanders, Co-Founder, Total Control Pro

“You are never too young, and you are never too old, or too female or too busy, don’t buy your own excuses or others, stay curious on the journey and open to opportunities.” 

Inspiring Women

Innovate UK Woman in Innovation Award winner, Dolores grew up in manufacturing, starting her own printing business at 18. Overcoming obstacles as a single mother at 21 Dolores graduated in Psychology, trained in direct sales, founded Ground Bass Limited, resulting in award-winning technology. Dolores raised funds to value the company circa £2mill. Boom and bust period post 2001, while raising 2 children, Dolores worked part time, built a network of health coaches, became a fitness leader and nutrition coach for Northampton FC, imported wine and built a rental property business. In short, she has a breadth of experience in many areas of industry and business. 2013 returning to the executive board room at Total Control Pro Ltd bringing skills and experiences together to serve manufacturers’ by joining the dots between the state-of-the-art technologies and creating solutions that make a difference.

Dr Lee Caroline Kenny, CEO, Chase Research Cryogenics

“Reflecting back on my own career, being the only woman in a team feels lonely and isolating. It’s important for women to stick together and to support each other to secure the changes we need.” 

Inspiring Women

I am a physicist and began my career as a research leader in aerosol science, just five years after the Equal Pay Act was passed (yes, I really am that old). During my time in aerosol science I published widely and led many multi-partner collaborative projects, including EU and international projects. I have been lucky to work with many diverse and enlightened colleagues both in the UK and abroad, people who mentored me, valued my skills and respected my contribution. Now, as CEO of a manufacturing company I am determined to ensure that our women engineers, scientists and crafts people feel valued, stretched, and are given the right opportunities to grow into our top team.

Jillian MacBryde, Professor of Innovation and Operations Management, University of Strathclyde

“Be yourself, be honest, be respectful of others and finally be confident in your own abilities” 

Inspiring Women

Jill has been involved in manufacturing research and education for more than 20 years. Jill is delighted to have been involved in the education of many of today’s leaders in industry and academia. Today her research focus is around innovation, performance and improvement. Much of Jill’s academic career has involved researching and supporting manufacturing firms in periods of change. Having recently completed a project funded through the Productivity Insights Network looking at productivity in manufacturing firms in the UK, she is currently starting a new project seeking to understand the impact that the Covid-19 crisis has had on UK manufacturing and to identify priorities for renewal through innovation. Jill has enjoyed senior leadership roles within UK universities including being Director of Research for the Department of Design, Manufacturing and Engineering Management at Strathclyde, Deputy Dean at The York Management School, and Vice-Dean of Strathclyde Business School, responsible for Knowledge Exchange.

Sarah Black-Smith, Head of Factory Operations, Siemens

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, then you’re right’ (Henry Ford) – Believe in yourself” 

Inspiring Women

Sarah Black-Smith is passionate about Manufacturing and has led the Factory Operations at the Siemens Digital Industries factory in Congleton since December 2016, having previously been Head of Manufacturing. Sarah has worked for Siemens for 18 years and has held several Operational positions within the Siemens Energy business. Sarah graduated from Loughborough University in Manufacturing Engineering and Management. Sarah completed an MSc in Operations Excellence from Cranfield University in 2016 and will begin a Global MBA at Alliance Manchester Business School in 2021. Sarah loves Manufacturing and working with people. She is passionate about manufacturing in the UK and believes that diversity is key to unlocking our potential in Engineering and Manufacturing industries in order to drive new ideas and ways of doing things.