The 3rd Quarter Issue of The MHEDA Journal is online now. This issue was really interesting work on because we really tried something different. We eschewed our traditional “Member Profile” that appears in every issue in favor of an article called “A Seat at the Table.” In this article, we spoke with ten women executives from MHEDA member companies about the strides women have made in our industry in the last 60 years. We’ve talked in the magazine and online all year about the changes that our industry has seen since MHEDA was formed in 1954 and the increase in women executives is one of the largest.
One thing that stuck out to me when putting this article together is just how much work there still is to do. In going through MHEDA’s membership database, we found that there were 30 women with an executive title, which, for the purposes of this article, we defined as President, CEO, Partner or Owner. That represents about 5 percent of MHEDA’s total membership (Note, this didn’t include the MHEDA staff which is comprised of nine women including EVP Liz Richards.) As I spoke with the ten women gracious enough to take the time to help with this article, many of them said something like, “Wow, that many?” And that was my reaction as well. To me, 30 seemed like a lot but when I stepped back and really thought about it, it really isn’t.
We have spent a lot of time talking about the struggle to attract young talent to our industry. That was a popular topic of conversation during this article as well. Material handling, as readers of this blog know, is a great career choice with lots of upwards mobility and earning potential. I will be curious if we revisit this article in 10 years how many women millennials have joined the work force and moved into executive positions at their companies. One quote that I thought was especially poignant came from Alicia Nyborg. She said, “I would advise any young woman that has an interest in this industry to go for it, even if it’s in a mechanical or repair field. There seems to be so few young people coming into this industry that are interested in actually working on the equipment that there is huge potential, especially in that aspect of the business.”
Each of the women we interviewed for this piece have had to work their way up through a male-dominated industry to claim their spot as company executives. It was such an interesting article to put together and probably one of my favorite articles to have been a part of since I started writing for MHEDA. What did you think? We would love to hear your feedback on twitter @MHEDA_Journal