This past week dozens of women for gathered – virtually – for MHEDA’s first online Women in Industry Conference. MHEDA (Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association) is an industry organization that provides business resources networking and training opportunities to its member companies throughout the year.
This week-long event was presented in five 2-hour sessions, with speakers covering topics such as workplace diversity, marketing in challenging times and leading with confidence. Presentations were followed by interactive groups in which women could connect with their counterparts from material handling companies from around the country to get the “boots on the ground” perspective of what’s working or what’s not.
The theme for the final session of the conference was “resilience,” certainly a fitting message in this year of uncertainty and adaptation. Speaker Dr. Elaine Dembe shared her perspective on finding joy while overcoming challenges and embracing change.
Indeed, this year’s pivot to a digital format did not put a damper on the networking and idea exchange that is the hallmark of MHEDA’s Women in Industry events.
While women now account for more than half of the American workforce, they remain underrepresented in the manufacturing industry, and MHEDA’s annual women’s event addresses some of the additional challenges that this presents.
“Material Handling Industry is a very male dominated industry,” shared one attendee. “So, to get in a room filled with other women that are making their way in the industry is very inspirational.”
Steel King was represented by four attendees, each attending one session. Stacy Atherton, who attended the Workplace Diversity and Inclusion session, shared one of her take-aways. “It’s not just about recruiting diverse talent (and diversity comes in many forms),” said Stacy, “but also about keeping the people you have. A lot of that comes from creating a culture of inclusion and belonging, where people feel like they can bring their whole selves to work and be valued for their unique perspective and contributions.”