Kate Bachman Kate Bachman
Contributing Editor

Women of Excellence Qualifications a Handbook for Stellar Staff

November 28, 2023

It was not so long ago that the only place I didn’t have to wait in line for the women’s bathroom was a manufacturing trade show or event. Times have changed. 

I was delighted for the opportunity to review this year’s Women of Excellence entries, and take part in editing the selections for publication. I felt an overwhelming sense of admiration, awe even, while reading the accomplishments and qualities of the women being nominated. (I also had to ask myself, “What the heck have I been doing with my time?”)

Common Threads

I could not help but notice some striking similarities in the nominators’ appreciative applications: willingness to help wherever needed; initiative; profound knowhow and capabilities; dependability; and compassion for others.

Willing Flexibility. In small or medium-sized companies, employees who are willing to take on multiple roles and help wherever needed are crucial, especially as companies grow and with continually changing customers and needs. Some of the remarks explaining why the woman they nominated is valuable to the company include: “She never has a ‘That’s-not-my-job’ attitude;” “She will jump in to assist without any hesitation;” and “She is always willing to help wherever she is needed.”

Strong Initiative. An extension of helpfulness is recognizing what needs to be done and acting before having to be asked. Initiative was pointed to as a key leadership indicator. “She takes the time to find root causes and solve problems;” and “She always exhibits a proactive approach to task execution, often taking the initiative without the need for explicit direction,” the nominators wrote.

Knowledgeability, Capability. Nominators also noted how important it is that the women they recognized have made it their business to be deeply knowledgeable about their product or field, and to excel at their jobs. “Her unyielding work ethic has set a standard for excellence;” “She consistently exhibited excellence in her work;” and “Her expertise and unwavering commitment to quality contributes to our company’s success,” some wrote.

Consistent Dependability. A manufacturer’s ability to achieve on-time delivery and a quality product depends heavily on having staff who perform reliably. After all, an employee’s work is an extension of a manufacturer’s promises to customers. Plant managers have told me that, at times, the pool of employee candidates has been such that they’re just happy to find someone who will consistently show up. “Her managers and co-workers know that they can count on her every day;” “She has become a needed resource in most, if not all project teams across all of our manufacturing,” submitters offered.

Compassion. Production of inanimate objects still requires interaction with humans. “Her willingness to help everyone is a valuable trait that is much appreciated;” “Caring for others is obviously so important to her;” and “She demonstrated her compassionate side when a colleague’s spouse fell ill by assuming additional responsibilities and assisting with some of their tasks,” nominators said.

Company Benefits. Significantly, the nominations often pointed out that the nominees’ efforts and qualifications had brought improvement—and profits—to the companies. “She has helped the company grow;” “I cannot count the times over the years that she has helped our company avoid shutdowns;” “She has helped drive our company’s productivity and success;” and “Her meticulous attention to detail, innovative thinking, and ability to streamline processes not only have increased efficiency but also improved the overall quality of our products.”

Hats Off to the Nominators

A person’s light can only shine if it is allowed to do so without cover. I found the nominating narratives heartwarming because the nominators recognized the women’s attributes and showed appreciation for them—a credit to the nominators. They should be lauded, as should their employers, for offering opportunities and promotions to the deserving women.

The best company leaders are not intimidated by their staffs’ excellence; rather, they are inspired by it and amplify it. I have no doubt that the winners’ accomplishments were buoyed by that appreciation and recognition. And, that could be the opening chapter in the employer’s handbook.

Recruit, Retain, Train

To those of you wistful about having such stellar employees, I invite you to join me as I host PMA’s “Recruit, Retain, Train” MetalForming Live panel discussion on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024, at 2 p.m. ET.  I’ll interview PTM Corp. CEO Donna Kuhr, Talan Products CEO Steve Peplin, and All Metals Fabricating CEO Lance Thrailkill as they reveal their winning strategies for culling and developing great employees in their workplaces. What do they know that you could use? 

Have thoughts? I’d love to hear from you at kbachman@pma.org. MF

Technologies: Management


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