Guest blog by Heidi Alderman, 2017 STEP Ahead Chairwoman and Senior Vice President, Intermediates North America, BASF Corporation
There is a place for us in manufacturing.
I have worked in the industry for more than 30 years and have seen an increasing number of women join the ranks. However, we still need more!
Manufacturers have difficulty recruiting women because many believe the jobs are physical, repetitive and boring—but none of this is true. Today’s manufacturing jobs are highly technical, well-paying and offer a variety of career options with bright futures.
Manufacturing allows women to use creativity to solve problems, contribute to society and connect with others. Women in manufacturing are given the chance to solve the world’s problems, something that not many can say of their jobs. My work gives me pride in knowing the difference BASF makes by creating chemistry that solves the world’s problems.
Growing up, I saw manufacturing become the backbone of the United States. I studied engineering in college because I excelled at math and science in high school. I didn’t quite know what engineering was, but as it turns out, I made the right choice.
For me, engineering isn’t just a job; it’s a mindset for solving problems, whether they are technical, commercial or life-related. I’ve had roles in research, manufacturing, purchasing, marketing and business management, and the work has always been challenging, exciting and fun. Science, technology, engineering and production (STEP) career fields require the unique skills that women bring to the workforce—a focus not only on achieving results, but also compassion for people, the desire to positively impact culture and the ability to motivate employees.
Although women in manufacturing have come a long way, I know we must work together to enhance the industry image and communicate the new opportunities in this age of change. Whether you’re interested in engineering, design or even marketing, there is a place for YOU in manufacturing.
In January 2008 Heidi became BASF’s Senior Vice President of Procurement in North America in Florham Park, NJ.