Our new series, “Let’s get technical: Meet the Outstanding Women in Manufacturing & Technology” kicks off with a discussion on the international consortium, “Women in Manufacturing.”
Our new podcast series focuses on extraordinary women in manufacturing and technology. Each episode will feature their aspirations, accomplishments and inspiration for other women. DELMIA is honored to work with a variety of women in the manufacturing and technology fields--both as employees and clients alike -- and showcase their achievements. Enjoy this new series as we highlight outstanding women and how they’re paving the way for others.
Our series kickoffs with Angela Grigonis Regan, Director of Business Development, Dassault Systemes. Angela will be discussing her role beyond the workplace and involvement in Women in Manufacturing, an international foundation that works to empower women workers and strengthen the manufacturing sector. Listen in to her incredible story!
To learn about WiM:
Visit the Women in Manufacturing foundation website: https://www.womeninmanufacturing.org/
Angela Grigonis Regan
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00:05 Therese Snow
Welcome to our DELMIA podcast, Global Operations on the Go. Today we're starting a new series that features women who are making a difference in the areas of manufacturing and technology. I'm happy to announce our first guest in the series, Angela Grigonis Regan, Director of Business Development at Dassault Systèmes. Angela will be discussing her role beyond the workplace and her involvement in Women in Manufacturing, an international foundation that really works to empower women workers and strengthen the manufacturing sector. Angela, welcome.
00:38 Angela Grigonis Regan
Thank you, Therese, for the opportunity to introduce myself and share the work we are doing at Women in Manufacturing where we support, promote and inspire women in manufacturing careers.
00:50 Therese Snow
Oh, absolutely. So glad you could join us. Angela, before we get started, can you please tell us a bit about your background?
00:59 Angela Grigonis Regan
My parents instilled a strong work ethic from a very young age. They emigrated from Lithuania, fleeing the Soviet Union. They worked hard achieving the American dream; my mother, a teacher, an active Lithuanian Girl Scout leader and dad an aeronautics engineer. They were strict with schoolwork. I participated in multiple Lithuanian community activities. They did not want us to forget our heritage, because during my childhood, Lithuania was still under Soviet regime.
Dad tutored me in math endlessly. I had to study the Reader's Digest vocabulary words every month, and Lithuania was my schedule, very busy with Saturday school, bands and Girl Scouts. My undergrad degree was in English at UCLA and I completed my MBA here in Boston at Northeastern University. As a university student, I was very active with Girl Scouts. And when I graduated, my career started in high tech within the telecom industry. I never planned to have a manufacturing career. I worked for AT&T, Lucent Technologies.
But once the telecom bubble burst, I found myself in process manufacturing. My induction was entering a whole hog sausage manufacturing facility in Tennessee. I have always had a penchant for how things were made, and I still remember dad’s tutorial, his sketches explaining how a plane can fly. And here I am, 20 years later, still in manufacturing.
02:32 Therese Snow
Why, Angela that's really impressive. I could see where you’re a natural fit, not just in the workplace, but in all your outside involvement. So tell us, what exactly is the Women in Manufacturing and can you key in please on how you got involved?
02:47 Angela Grigonis Regan
Therese, five years ago, I was asked to represent Dassault Systèmes at a Women in Manufacturing leadership event out in Madison, Wisconsin. I had never participated in a venue that supported women. I was quite surprised. I found myself surrounded by like-minded women. These accomplished women were quite open, shared their challenges and were supportive of each other's work. It was not a competitive environment. The few days spent were not only professionally rewarding, but personally as well. From what I gained, I wanted to pay it forward and launch an effort to create the Massachusetts chapter for Women in Manufacturing, so that we can continue the work locally here in our state.
And last year, I helped found the Dassault Systèmes Women in Manufacturing community so that our Dassault Systèmes colleagues could leverage our corporate membership and participate in this phenomenal organization. Women in Manufacturing is the only national trade association dedicated to women who have chosen a career in the manufacturing industry. Now, our international organization is over 10,000 members strong and approximately, I'll say 2,000 plus manufacturing companies are represented. We support promoting and inspiring women at all levels and industries within manufacturing.
04:15 Therese Snow
Wow, that's really great to hear, especially the women in manufacturing aspect. Can you tell us why specifically women in manufacturing and how do they affect the status of the manufacturing workforce in general?
04:30 Angela Grigonis Regan
Well, as it turns out, the United States is the second largest manufacturer, after China, in the world. The United States manufacturing industry employs approximately 12 and a half million people as of December 2017. And what's facing America right now is that manufacturing has a perception problem. It is still being viewed as a dangerous and dirty career. In addition to that, there's a huge skills gap. We anticipate over a million open jobs in manufacturing. It's a record for the industry. But over 4 million jobs will need to be filled by the end of the decade. And so it's very important to close the gap in the manufacturing industry, because women do not realize that there are great opportunities here in this sector.
05:26 Therese Snow
Interesting, so can you give us in fact, some idea of the status of manufacturing today, how women are represented in this sector of the workforce?
05:37 Angela Grigonis Regan
Therese, it turns out only 29% of women make up the manufacturing workplace. And it's amazing, you know the gap because women constitute one of US manufacturing's largest pool of untapped talent. There are more than 2.3 million women left in the labor market since the beginning of pandemic, and one in four women are considering to leave the workforce. There are downshift in their careers due to COVID.
We see that, you know, there is a great opportunity for us to enter the manufacturing labor. Women earn more than half of associate’s, bachelor's and master's degrees. Women are advancing in their careers, holding more than half of all of the US managerial and professional positions. The majority of women outside of our industry are not aware of the available opportunities here in manufacturing. There are many qualified women to enter this workforce. And so we are looking to increase the number of women in manufacturing. We are trying to bridge this knowledge gap.
06:47 Therese Snow
I really like to hear that, you know, the more you talk, Angela, it seems the discrepancy is really becoming clear. So, how can Women in Manufacturing help? What exactly is their mission?
07:00 Angela Grigonis Regan
Therese, as I mentioned before, organization is now over 10,000 members strong, with over 2,000 manufacturing companies represented. Our members cover so many industry sectors such as aerospace, chemicals, automotive, life sciences, metal and medical device, high tech and industrial equipment. Women in Manufacturing provides year-round virtual learning, bi-annual virtual career fairs, executive networking group services. There's actually a WiM Works job board where you can find out ways to advance your career. WiM offers 20 meetings and conferences annually. A highlight of the year is the annual summit where we all come together. Last year it was a hybrid event, where 600 members participated on site and another 500 virtually.
This year, we will be celebrating our 12th annual summit in Atlanta, Georgia, October 10th through 12th. Plus, we have 30 local us chapters and four formal professional development programs. We provide a variety of events to support professionals at all levels of manufacturing organization––from production to the C-suite. Not only will you be able to enhance your careers, but you can also pay it forward by supporting others and getting involved, helping generate new activities and workshops. This is how we help to bridge the knowledge gap at WiM.
08:31 Therese Snow
Expand a little bit on how far women have come.
08:35 Angela Grigonis Regan
Yes, we've evolved a long way, Therese. In Massachusetts, our chapter’s home base is the Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation. This facility had been the first vertically integrated factory in the United States, then known as the Boston Manufacturing Company, in 1813. It helped develop the textile revolution. And this site employed the mill women, the first women manufacturers. We are so fortunate to have found this location and continue to be part of this history, showcasing how far women have evolved in manufacturing. From the mill women, who were manual laborers, to where we are now on the shop floor and production.
Manufacturing has gone high tech. We have women in manufacturing who are mechanical, industrial, electrical and chemical engineers. Some are in Lean, continuous improvement. Some have started their own companies or have inherited their family's manufacturing companies. But we still have a long way to go. At Women in Manufacturing, some of us have worked in STEM programs with middle school and high school students. Also, we have WiM colleagues involved in mentorship programs, guiding those already in the workforce to encourage interest in a manufacturing career. We have evolved greatly, but we need to continue educating and promoting.
10:05 Therese Snow
Angela, in addition to your STEM and mentorship programs, can you also share what other areas you participate in?
10:12 Angela Grigonis Regan
Yes, I have been involved in so many activities that encourage women in manufacturing careers. Now that we are finally able to begin meeting on site, see each other, I am organizing several plant tours here in Massachusetts. We are finalizing the details with Amazon robotics, very excited that Amazon is a WiM corporate sponsor. And they are opening doors to us as well as Waters Corporation, another corporate sponsor, that will be showcasing their brand new Precision Chemistry facility in June.
Speaking of chemistry, one of the most amazing experiences I had was being asked to be a guest speaker to introduce Women in Manufacturing in Europe, where I found myself with manufacturing colleagues during the tour of the LNG, liquefied natural gas floating storage and regasification barge. It's basically a floating factory on the Baltic Sea. On the other spectrum, we do workshops handling numerous topics from Lean manufacturing to leadership. The other day, I was involved in a leadership workshop to commemorate International Women's Day, we honored the women of manufacturing here in Massachusetts. It is very exciting to be so involved and promote how relevant manufacturing careers are.
11:32 Therese Snow
Absolutely, you know, the fact that you can get so many women gathered on a barge in the Baltic Sea really does show how women are such a great fit in this industry. So Angela, can you tell us how women can get involved specifically in Women in Manufacturing?
11:48 Angela Grigonis Regan
Well, please view our website womeninmanufacturing.org. There is a membership tab, you can sign up as an individual member or get your organization involved and become a corporate member. We also offer student memberships. I also recommend to view the event calendar on our website. There are virtual workshops, plant tours and conferences. As an option, you can participate at a virtual event or in-person event as a non-member. Another way to get involved is by reaching out to your local chapter and connect with a chapter leader. There is a chapter tab on the website. Once you get involved doors do open up for you. The networking is phenomenal. You become even more relevant in your industry by making these new associations and gaining additional knowledge in manufacturing and industry trends.
12:41 Therese Snow
All right, great. Well, thank you so much, Angela, for taking the time to discuss Women in Manufacturing today.
12:48 Angela Grigonis Regan
Oh Therese, I'm very grateful to have had this time speaking with you and introducing the audience to our world of Women in Manufacturing.
12:55 Therese Snow
Oh, perfect. I really enjoyed it. I'm sure they will too. So, right now I'd like to thank our listeners for tuning in. I'm your host Therese Snow, and you've been listening to DELMIA’s Global Operations on the Go.