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Women Leaving Their Mark

By Liz Richards, MHEDA Executive Vice President

My husband and I recently had lunch at a local restaurant and were served by a gracious young woman. She made a comment which led us to believe she was the owner and when we asked her she replied, “No, I just care.” Wow! What a great response. Wouldn’t you want every employee to convey that same sense of ownership and pride? I predict this young woman has a bright future ahead.

Speaking of women, we are thankful to the women who agreed to be profiled in this issue of The MHEDA Journal. As you know, we are celebrating 60 years of MHEDA this year and as we look back and realize how few women were in leadership positions back in 1954, it’s refreshing to meet the women who are making great strides in this industry. I was 33 years old when MHEDA hired me in 1995 (you can do the math), still very early in my career path (not material handling, by the way) and a woman to boot, in what was a very male-dominated industry. The MHEDA Board of Directors took a chance on me and I will be forever grateful to have been given that opportunity.

The women profiled in this feature are making an indelible mark in leadership positions and showing how their natural problem solving abilities are a perfect fit when it comes to material handling distribution, engineering and supply chain management. Over the past decade, MHEDA has established valuable relationships with schools and universities that offer curriculum germane to our industry and we are seeing more and more young women enter this field. One of the professors from Texas A&M commented a few years back on what an ideal field this is for a woman – and she is right on target.

It’s refreshing to see how the number of female students has grown when we host Classroom Day at ProMat and MODEX and by the number of female students who have attended MHEDA’s convention. Please keep an eye out for the students we feature in the journal and MHEDA Connection Newsletter. They are ripe for hiring! Also, check out the article on page XX about two members who hired students from last year’s Convention.

I hope you were able to attend this year’s MHEDA Convention. We were absolutely thrilled to welcome more than 700 attendees and when we asked our members to describe their Convention experience in one word we heard words like: “Inspiring”; “Exceptional”; “Motivational”; “Heroic”; “Meaningful”; “Engaging”; “Encouraging” and the list goes on. If you didn’t make it to the Convention, you can sample one of the General Sessions presented by Alan Beaulieu, renowned economist from ITR Economics who has great insight about the business environment and particularly the material handling industry. Check it out on MHEDA-TV! And please plan on joining us at next year’s Convention in the beautiful San Antonio Hill Country at the JW Marriott, April 18-22.

Another outstanding event planned for this summer is MHEDA’s Emerging Leaders Conference, scheduled for July 31, in downtown Chicago. The event, co-sponsored with MHI, will give emerging leaders the opportunity to hone their interpersonal skills, lead by example, overcome resistance, explore innovations in digital marketing and network with their peers. All with a bit of fun and humor sprinkled in. Please plan on attending and/or encourage your associates to consider attending this fast paced, insightful and educational experience.

Thank you for your ongoing support of MHEDA and as always, please feel free to contact me anytime at lrichards@mheda.org or follow me on Twitter @MHEDAOffice.

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Liz Richards Bio