EECO Asks Why Podcast

199. Women of Industry - The Skills Gap: What are we going to do?

March 28, 2022 Electrical Equipment Company Season 7
199. Women of Industry - The Skills Gap: What are we going to do?
EECO Asks Why Podcast
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EECO Asks Why Podcast
199. Women of Industry - The Skills Gap: What are we going to do?
Mar 28, 2022 Season 7
Electrical Equipment Company

The skills gap is a real issue in industry and there is a great opportunity to improve by encouraging and supporting women to join this sector.  To help explore this idea we brought in a power house panel of ladies to listen and learn from.  Mayuri Dahibhate, Alexus Hancock and Meaghan Ziemba are all EECO Asks Why Heroes and they brought a ton of wisdom and insight into what they see first hand and what should be considered in the future.  

They unpack many areas including:

  • Why this topic matters to them!
  • What can women do right now to make an impact in industry!
  • Some of the biggest moves forward that are moving the needle!
  • Advice for the next generation of ladies that will help them see the many different opportunities that exist and ways to start their journey!
  • So much more!

The reality is that to improve the skills gap in industry will be a collective effort of both men and women working together.  This is a powerful conversation that will serve industry leaders, advocates and the next generation as we strive to make an impact on the critical issue of skills gap in industry! 

Lean in, support others and keep asking why! 

Mayuri Dahibhate - Manufacturing Software Engineer at P&G
Alexus Hancock - Plant Support Engineer at Dominion Energy
Meaghan Ziemba - Creator and host of Mavens of Manufacturing

Host - Chris Grainger
Executive Producer - Adam Sheets
Podcast Editor - Andi Thrower

Industry War Story Submission: Send us a DM!

Show Notes Transcript

The skills gap is a real issue in industry and there is a great opportunity to improve by encouraging and supporting women to join this sector.  To help explore this idea we brought in a power house panel of ladies to listen and learn from.  Mayuri Dahibhate, Alexus Hancock and Meaghan Ziemba are all EECO Asks Why Heroes and they brought a ton of wisdom and insight into what they see first hand and what should be considered in the future.  

They unpack many areas including:

  • Why this topic matters to them!
  • What can women do right now to make an impact in industry!
  • Some of the biggest moves forward that are moving the needle!
  • Advice for the next generation of ladies that will help them see the many different opportunities that exist and ways to start their journey!
  • So much more!

The reality is that to improve the skills gap in industry will be a collective effort of both men and women working together.  This is a powerful conversation that will serve industry leaders, advocates and the next generation as we strive to make an impact on the critical issue of skills gap in industry! 

Lean in, support others and keep asking why! 

Mayuri Dahibhate - Manufacturing Software Engineer at P&G
Alexus Hancock - Plant Support Engineer at Dominion Energy
Meaghan Ziemba - Creator and host of Mavens of Manufacturing

Host - Chris Grainger
Executive Producer - Adam Sheets
Podcast Editor - Andi Thrower

Industry War Story Submission: Send us a DM!

00:00 Chris: 

Welcome to EECO Asks Why today we have the women and industry series, and we will be talking about the skills gap. I'm so excited with me today to have Mayuri back from the E technologies group. We have Alexus Hancock from Dominion Energy and Meaghan Ziemba from mavens and manufacturing and all you ladies have been on eco ass.

Why before so excited to have you back. Oh, yeah. Oh yeah. I'm so excited for this panel. The skills gap is a fun topic. And Meaghan, maybe kick us off. What jumped out to you when you saw this topic and I floated out several to you, what jumped out to make you want to jump on this panel? 

00:47 Meaghan: 

It's actually one of the main reasons I started maintenance a manufacturing back in December of last year. So I've been in manufacturing since 2008, and I've always noticed that there was a gender gap, just being one of the very few women. Anytime I went to an event, it was either me and one other, girl or just me as a woman.

But then as I started to dig deeper and learn more about the different disciplines within manufacturing, I started learning about the skills gap and how we're headed for. all of these available positions over the next five to 10 years. And I got curious as to why that was why the next generations were interested in joining engineering or manufacturing.

So I started listening to some of my daughter's conversations, cause she's actually graduating this year. And one of the things that she wants to do is get into the medical industry. And that's pretty typical, right? A lot of, girls, when they're graduating high school, they're either directed towards some type of marketing, career pathway or sales career pathway, or some teaching career pathway or healthcare pathway.

And I didn't understand. And I started to think back, okay, what was my pathway like? And how was I talked to in high school? And it was the same thing for me. I was good at English. So they're like, oh, you're going to be a writer. And I'm like, that doesn't seem very like financially stable, especially if I'm not really good at creative writing.

so I just happened to jump into like technical writing and, fell into manufacturing and engineering by accident. Yeah. with the skills gap. I understand some of the concerns from the older generations, because back in the late nineties or the two thousands, manufacturing fell apart a little bit in the United States.

02:34 Meaghan: 

And I think some of those older generations have PTSD from that and they don't want their kids to enter into a career pathway that might not have a successful future. So they're encouraging them to stay away from it. And we really need. Encourage them to come back to it because if we don't start filling up these positions, it can be detrimental to our economic stability here in the United States.

one of the main things that I'm trying to do is go to schools and get the next generation really excited and looking forward to some of these new and amazing opportunities that are coming up, especially with industrial internet of things, AI, automation, robotics, there are so many. Career pathways that haven't been discovered yet.

03:15 Meaghan: 

And I think they're going to start opening up with some of these new technologies. No 

03:20 Chris: doubt. Yeah, go ahead, Alexus. what got you excited? 

I was excited because she was basically talking about my childhood, especially with a daughter. you went by what you were exposed to. So I was exposed to a lot of female teachers.

03:33 Alexus: 

I was exposed to a lot of female doctors or pediatricians’ nurses, so I didn't hear anything. Engineering or anything? I was like, what is that? all I used to do is just tear up stuff in my mom's house and then try to fix it before she got back home. So they were like, we got to do something with this constructiveness that you got going on.

So I wasn't introduced to engineering until I was in high school. I didn't know anything about it. So it, I think it was really just based off of what you were surrounded by what you were exposed to, which kind of limited, my mind like, okay, these are. avenues that I could take, when I become older. So I think it, it just resonated with me because that was my skill gap. That was just, I wasn't exposed to a lot of things as a child. Just those select things. Isn't like she said, pharmacy or something, medical related or marketing, seeing the girls, do the. Presenting thing, with cars and things like that. So I was like, this is what I have to look forward to. So I think that was just my biggest issue growing up. I didn't have, I didn't have that much exposure. So that resonated with me.

04:39 Chris: 

How about you, Mayuri? 

04:43 Mayuri: 

So I agree with a lot of things Meaghan said, and I can resonate with it too. so one of the main reasons that this topic got me interested and excited was, I was born and brought up in India. as a country, which is still developing in terms of providing education to females.

and especially higher education. So many women do get educated, but it's just like basic level or they never go to a part that would be. That would be towards the industry. like Alex said, it's always, teachers or someone in healthcare. So you always see women in those fields. but for me it was different because my father is a scientist.

and he always, believed that. I could do something on the same path or if not, same, but a similar path. and he always wanted me, to be somewhere in the technical field or not just having aspirations of. something off technical or he didn't create those stereotypes for me that a girl should do this.

so it was always, I have an elder brother, and whatever was available to him as a resource was available to me. So if he got a computer, I had access to it too. so that, that was actually. gave me a confidence that I can also prosper in this field. And that's how I took up engineering.

06:05 Mayuri: 

So for me, this topic was very close to my heart because I want other, females in India. I want other girls growing up in India to have some more. Who can show them that you can do it too. you are not just meant to do specific things, but you can do much more than that.

06:25 Meaghan: Find something you can do. Something in the technical field and the industrial sector. I think another interesting thing is too, is we ha we all know that the skills gap exists and it's been pretty much male dominated for. It's inception of manufacturing and engineering. And, the latest stat that I read was the study that the women in manufacturing organization did with some other organization that I cannot remember, but it said that, we are now 33% in engineering and manufacturing is women.

So we went up a little bit. but in order to really truly close the skills gap, we do have to start pulling. Everyone in, we represent half of the workforce, all over the world and only a small percentage of what's in engineering and manufacturing and across disciplines. I think it varies between one and 3% of women across disciplines and in leadership roles.

So it just makes sense to tap into those areas that we haven't tapped in before, to help decrease that gap. So not just women, but also other areas. Underrepresented individuals from different cultures and different ethnicities. It's really important to tap into all of those resources. If we want to close it successfully.

I believe that if we close the skills gap, it would contribute to closing the gender gap as well. because I feel one of the main reasons of skills gap is also being, having the fear of being judged. or having the fear of being compared. So if that reduces or if that goes away, I feel more and more women will come forward and contribute to learning more skills. And then that, that would help in closing the space. 

8:38 Chris: three powerful women on here right now. I'm curious. What ha what have you done? Or what could women like you do to close that gap? Because there is that gap in industry. So just maybe Alexus, get us going here. What do you think there?

08:41 Alexus: That's something I actually just brought up with some of the guys at my job mentoring. Mentorship. I think that is something essential, especially when you're just being exposed. You just getting out of school into the industry. Like I was in engineering, but now I'm in nuclear. So as soon as I got out of school, it's like nuclear and that's a whole different planet of things going on.

So having a mentor yeah. Having a mentor to really guide you to. set the path and Hey, here's what you need to look out for. This is what you need to do. Let's go ahead and expose you to this. Just someone to guide you along the way until you learn. So then now you're in a position when someone else comes along, you're in position to be able to provide guidance to them and wisdom to them.

it's just equipping you for the next generation that's coming after you. But if you don't have that, then you're illiquid. And now it's okay, what are you doing? The next generation comes along and there'll be more illiquid because you weren't properly equipped. So even if it's not from a woman, just, it takes more than just women, men step up and be a mentor.

And that's something I had to go and look out for myself. I had to go and find a mentor for myself. Hey, I don't know about. I like it sometimes, when something's going on in the house, know dad, what I say, but, I don't know everything. So Hey, teach me, show me. Cause then sometimes they're not going to know, especially if they're not paying attention, but they're not going to know that you don't know something unless you open your mouth.

So it behooves you to have some type of boldness to be able to just defend yourself, Hey, T. I want to learn, show me what I need to be, so I can better equip myself. And then now that I've known it and I can grow from it. Now, when the next generation comes along, they don't have to take as long to get to where I am like, Hey, where you do this before you go down the wrong path, I would recommend doing this. So I think it really comes down to mentorship and just, advocating for yourself to learn. maybe is there a fear of being judged if you're asking for help? 

Especially when, you have a lot of big wigs who've been in the industry for 40 something years. You can ask them an electrical question and they're like, you don't know that, And I'm like, no, I don't, I haven't been here for five. sometimes there is a fear, but I had to overcome that. And just unashamed, Hey, no, Teach me because you do know this is an honor and a privilege that I'm coming to you asking you questions rather than something, that means I trust your wisdom.

I trust that you can educate me the right way. So now there was an intimidation and a fear of. And I had to just, sit there and, talk to another woman engineer, Hey, I feel so inadequate. Oh my God. And she's no, you've graduated college. You've gotten a job here. You've worked here. there's nothing to, don't feel inadequate about anything. You've worked hard to get where you are. So walk in it. I think, like I said, just advocate for yourself. 

11:11 Chris: My daughters love your episode. keep doing your thing, keep doing it.

11:13 Mayuri: So I totally agree with Alexus, on having a mentor. and I feel that social media is a very powerful tool, these days. women who have achieved something in their feed should start providing their knowledge or. Giving, I wouldn't say free, but giving out something, there knowledge a mentor in a way, that they can be, someone's coach. There are a lot of coaches on Instagram these days. so something like, start. Or, you to guide young women, into this field of, into this field, and then also start coaching about what pathways they can, they can take to come into the industrial sector. I have started doing it on a small level where, I just, I recently moved to Canada and I see that the.

There are a lot of growth opportunities here, and there, and this country is very immigrant friendly too. So they do want more people from the outside. They didn't want more talent. so what I've started doing is I've started making small videos that can help new immigrants learn new skills, and try and get to get jobs here. So what, from whatever information I know I'm also learning in the process. So whatever I'm learning, I'm trying to share. So that's just a small contribution.  

12:41 Chris: It’s not small, and for the listeners out there, Mayuri, we're going to put your links in the show notes because I started following you.

It's amazing what you're posting and the reels. And, I know more about Canada now and I have, and we just met a few months ago. So it's really hats off to you because that takes a lot of work too. I can only imagine the time that you're having to put in and invest to do that, but it's making it.

13:08 Chris: How about you, Meaghan? 

13:12 Meaghan: I think just be loud and proud of. You are doing and what your skill sets are. I agree with everything that Alexus said, and Mayuri said too, don't be afraid to share your skillset and put the content out there. When I first started mavens a manufacturing, I had no idea how to put something on YouTube.

I didn't know anything about video editing. I think I'm at the amateur level now a video editing, from completely terrible at it to amateur. and I keep learning every day and I keep asking questions, but I. One of the big things for women in particular to do is just encourage one another. we're we, our own support system. I came from a community where women were very highly competitive with each other in a very terrible way and trying to tear each other down and that didn't help us at all. So I think for us to actually. And I'm just joking when they say this, but take over the world. we need to band together and support one another and encourage one another in a compliment each other when we are successful.

So I started doing this years ago, where anytime I met someone new, I would take a look. What they were wearing or what they looked like. And I would just compliment them on something, just because I think that just breaks down that awkward wall of meeting someone for the first time. And it opens up the conversation a little bit more.

In terms of schools, I think there's a lot of, work that needs to be done, especially with school counselors. I don't think that. I don't want to say not educated because that comes across as an insult, but I don't think they have enough information. To use to help them talk about some of these new opportunities that are coming up in engineering and manufacturing, and it's up to manufacturers to provide that template to them so that they can talk to the parents. They can talk to the students, they can help the teachers in the vo-tech programs, explain what these opportunities are and what a career pathway actually looks like. So for instance, if you're in high school and you don't have a background in engineering or manufacturing, You're not going to necessarily know what CNC machining is.

You're going to take a look at that title and you're going to take a look at the description and you're going to skim right over it because it doesn't have any personal connection to you. So what can we do in ways to rewrite some of those titles course titles and course descriptions that actually.

Personally connect with the students and give them some sort of idea of where that could lead them in a career pathway. So I think just being advocates for each other, being really proactive, being loud and proud about everything that's going on in engineering and manufacturing and putting yourself in front of the next generation, because that's who we really need to come join in engineering, manufacturing.

Some of the stuff that Mayuri is doing with the YouTube videos, I think that's spot on. it's intimidating to come to a new country. It's intimidating to start over in Neo and she's providing that level of comfort for anyone who wants to go to Canada. So that's awesome. 

16:12 Alexus: 

I think I feel convicted now, Mayuri, because I started to do a channel and it was it's called That Engineering Girl. I started to do that and I just work came up and all, everything else in life came up, just life happened. And I started that because there were so many girls in my community. That have such a high level of intelligence and so much to them that they don't know anything about the stem field, because they're not exposed to that. So now I feel start a 2020, I'm going to have to get on that. That was very inspirational. Thank you. 

16:56 Mayuri: 

Yep. And if, so my advice you would be, if you don't have a lot of time, you can just make small snippets. So these days people don't have a lot of retention time, so to grab their attention and to keep them going in your video, just make smaller videos. you're still conveying your message and people are just gaining whatever knowledge you want to do. I want them to gain so, 

17:17 Alexus: 

And Meaghan, I'll tell you, yeah, I'll call you for the YouTube tips, making.

17:25 Chris: 

Very good. Very good. And I'm curious now, so things that are going in the right direction for the skills gap, what have been some of the biggest moves forward and Mayuri, maybe you can kick us off. 

17:28 Mayuri: 

I feel, that these days we're seeing a lot of women CEOs of the companies I read this morning that Chanel has a new CEO who is a woman of color of Indian origin. So I feel that examples like this are. Just show us that yeah, something new is happening. Something good is happening. probably we are going in a direction where a skills gap and gender gap is closing as an, we'd see the examples of women moving up the hierarchy. They are there from the leadership roles, top to down in the bottom, doing engineering or engineering roles.

I feel that's a great change that we see. And when, when women like us, we see that's happening, we can keep them as role models. And actually, imagine us being in that position someday, which probably it was not possible earlier because again, the fear of judgment, the fear of, whether it's going to happen, but now we see someone in that position. We can try and strive to be in that position someday. 

18:40 Chris: 

For sure. How about you Alexus? 

18:44 Alexus: 

I think platforms like this really help being verbal about the situation and actually call them the problem to the forefront. So people know that there is a problem. Sometimes, when you don't acknowledge that the problem was just going to remain a problem. So just bringing things like this forward, so people can have an ear to hear. Okay, I didn't think about it this way, being exposed to what the problem is and people's viewpoints of it.

I think that really helps close. like my dad didn't know anything about, mathematics until I had to teach him something, So he didn't know like what algebra was, he knew there was an algebra class, but he's okay, you, if ABC plus 1, 2, 3 is the chicken that crosses over the moon. That's his way of mathematics, right? Until you teach them, he doesn't know. Oh, Dang. I didn't know that about algebra, something like that. So just exposing people to the problem, verbally being bold about it. I think that really is what that's, what helps cause this gap a little bit more for 

19:47 Meaghan: 

So I've seen, a few things. I've seen competitors. within manufacturing actually break down some of those walls and work together to bring in new talent, whether it's partnering up with, technical community schools within their community, with high schools and really exchanging and sharing information that could help them, gain that next level of talent.

There's a few individuals that I follow on a regular basis, one is Andrew Crow. Who's known as the new American manufacturing Renaissance leader. And he's doing a lot of fantastic things where he's getting in front of high school students and really inspiring them that, you know, just because you look a certain way or you might come from a certain economic background that isn't a limitation, like you can change your story.

You don't have to follow this path. And I think his story alone is inspiring to these kids. Being able to relate to some of the things that he went through when he was growing up. And it's really interesting and exciting to see him make those connections and just be really a passionate about getting kids excited.

Yeah. Encouraging them to believe in themselves because some of the kids have a really hard time believing in themselves, especially if they're in high school and they don't have the support of the school counselors. If a school counselor says you have the skillsets, that means you're going this path, that can be really discouraging for some kids.

And I think like with him saying, no, you can change your story. You can control your pathway. I think it's really helpful. And he's doing something great with Mastercam right now and his team at. They're actually donating a bunch of things like CNC, routers, educational, digital design, software, 3d printers, digital training, and curriculum. He's donating that to a variety of schools. So that's exciting to see. Another thing that I noticed was from the national association of manufacturers, they did this creators wanted tour and they actually had a trailer and they were bringing it to different cities. And showing people of those cities, what manufacturing and engineering look like by creating an escape room within that trailer.And you had to be, knowledgeable about manufacturing and engineering to get out of the escape. I thought that was a creative way. Yeah. I thought that was a creative way to bring it to communities who might not understand what opportunities are available in engineering and manufacturing. Another one, I just met her.

A few weeks ago. And I actually did an interview with her yesterday. Her name is Danielle Boyer. She's 21 years old, 21 years old at 18. She started and founded her own nonprofit organization called the steam connection. She's from the indigenous community here in the United States. She's Ojibwe. And what she does. So at 10 years old, she noticed the lack of technical and educational opportunities and how that held youth back. She decided at 10 years old, she was going to make a difference. She, joined a couple of robotics team. They weren't very welcoming to her cause she was the only girl. She decided that she was going to do her own thing and bring girls together.

And so now with the steam connection, they tackle these issues by developing manufacturing and distributing assessable, high quality, unique, and culturally competent technical educational resources with an emphasis on robotics. So the night before yesterday, she actually shipped. 80 robotics kits to all of these communities across the United States and all of the parts were 3d printed.

She made them affordable and easy to put together. And they do all of these virtual things. She's 21 years old, 21 years old. And it's just amazing to see her be so proactive. And, she was telling me how she started college. She's but I needed to take time off because I have all these things going on at the steam connection. And she's I plan on going back. I just want to give you a hug because you're so inspiring to me. I feel like a proud mom talking to you because you're 21 and you are just getting started in your journey and you're going to go really far. And just seeing some of the things that she's doing in robotics is it's amazing.

And that's the representation we need right now. We need someone like her to get younger kids excited because she started all of this at 18 man at 18. I was almost flunking out of college. And then I might seen, I got pregnant with my daughter and it's just like, where was that ambition when I was that young? I could have been a lot further life. And I just couldn't believe it. And we'll make sure that those are in the show notes there for the listeners to all the links to those people. Cause I don't know the last one about D I do know Andrew and the wonderful stuff going on there.

24:36 Chris: 

So thank you for sharing all that Nagin really cool stuff. 

24:40 Meaghan: 

If you want your little girls to get inspired, I'll make an introduction. between you and Danielle, because she's just amazing. She's so well-spoken, she's wise beyond her years, she's just doing amazing things. 

24:54 Chris: 

It also makes me think that she's done all that at 21.I maybe I need to work harder. Like I just feel like I need to put like slacker on my back or something, also Mayuri let's come back to you on a second for the next generation. cause you're, I'm curious, the audience that's following you because you do have a big following it. Are you reaching down in a high school? do you have, age group? I'm just curious, how are you trying to impact that. So far what I have seen from the insights that I have on Instagram, I feel like my reach is more, it's targeted more around, the age of 20 and 35. So between the age of 20 and 35, so I wouldn't say high school, but yeah, I do. I have got some messages from high school. asking about a particular pathway.

25:47 Mayuri: 

So when I shared, like previously I said, I shared some pathways to come to Canada for further studies. I did get some inquiries about it. Although I don't know everything. I try to research more and try to give them more information or I try to send them to resources that I know that would guide them. It's around that, that age limit, but yeah. Oh, Instagram, that's the problem. Like you don't have the power to target a specific audience. Instagram, it serves will decide how your content is and who to target it to. but I hope that, even in that age group, there are people who think that there's.

26:25 Chris: 

No. Alexus went with you when was that moment? Was it in high school? Was it in middle school? Like when do you feel like you had that spark of yeah, I want to take a different path. I think, I think in elementary they put us in a gifted program because apparently we just finished our work too quickly and had nothing else to do when we're bored. We did tangrams and building bridges out of straw and toothpicks and stuff and making sure it's sturdy. So different things like that. So of course my parents were like, what kind of profession does that? They give you tests to see what route you should take for a career.

27:07 Alexus: 

And I always placed with, what is it like, dealing with. People and things like that. So anything dealing with people's health or, community, some type of community service kind of route thing. My parents were like, yeah, we know she loves people, but she's tearing everything up at home.

What can we do? So I think in high school, that was when I was first exposed to engineering courses and we were breadboarding and soldering, and I'm like, Oh, I want to do this. I love this. So I think high school was really the turnover point for me, where I was just like, oh yeah, I want to do, I want to tinker with stuff.

I'm going to tear stuff up and then, try to build it back. So hopefully it'll look the same. So that was definitely the breaking point. But, I think back to what Mayuri was saying, the target audience, because I didn't realize it until I was in high school. Now I go back and volunteer to go to the elementary schools and middle schools and high schools just to expose them to what you know I do.

Cause at first guests, people are not going to guess that I'm an alleged. That's just not what they're going to guess. Especially, I come in there with like fun, funky t-shirts on and jeans. And they're like, what do you do? Do you dance? do you like, what do you like? And I'm like, don't know an engineer. And I'm like, oh wow. We have a lot of work to do. I think that was definitely the reason why I started going back to schools, especially my favorite engineering teachers gone back in there and talking to their class and they're like, nuclear. what is that?

I'm like, we're the reason you have lights on right now. So can you lower our light bill? And I'm like, you get what I'm saying. So definitely it comes back on us to really expose the community if we can just to reach back out. And that's a beautiful thing that you guys are doing, especially, I forgot the girl's name that you just mentioned, but protecting she's such an asset protecting her and just exposing her to other little girls like, Hey, no, you don't have to, you don't have to go this route.

29:07 Alexus: 

If this is something you want to do, And encouraging the imagination is so strong when they're younger. So encouraging, encouraging their imagination, their brain, and just supporting them in the things that they do. if I could just sow a seed in her life, just so she can start building in 3d printing, more models and stuff, I would so definitely bringing those children to the forefront and exposing the world to what they do.

I think we should really be able to help them a lot more that.

29:35 Mayuri: 

And I guess also, we also need to normalize girls playing with cars and robotic legs, as opposed to just, Barbies, our doors. We should normalize that. there's no harm in playing with Barbies, but then also expose them to cars. If you're giving a gift to a girl, give them a car, give them Lego or something. 

29:57 Alexus: 

My parents gave up on Barbies and just bought me Legos. They were like, okay, this is not working. 

30:04 Chris: 

I'm curious, with Meaghan, with you, you've built mavens, got my Maven shirt on here, so you've built that. So you're reaching out to a big audience in it, but I know you're real passionate about elementary to, trying to get down to that level.

30:16 Chris: 

Just curious on what you're doing to really build up that next generation of leaders. 

30:23 Meaghan: 

Yeah. So I'm getting myself in uncomfortable situations that I never thought I would even consider. So I've always been employed under someone and, I wasn't even going to start mavens until one of my friends was like, you need to stop being ridiculous and just do it.Like you can learn these skills as you go, and there's a need for this. When I announced it and booked all the way out until April this year, I went back to them and I'm like, okay, now you really got to help me cause I have no idea what I'm doing. So thank you for that. And, it's just really reaching out to people that I never thought I would reach out to.

So when I started my, I put an event on in October, and I wanted to do facility face-to-face tours. I wanted to bring kids from the high school that I graduated. To these manufacturing companies that are within the community that I grew up in, because I feel like there was still some apprehension of actually talking about engineering and manufacturing because.

When I was in high school, three of our major manufacturing companies shut down and one of them cut their workforce in half. So all of the kids that I was graduating high school with, their plan to actually fall in the footsteps of their parents into a manufacturing career was shattered and they didn't have a plan B. I feel like now with some of these opportunities that are coming within the automation space and robotics space, we have a little bit more stable future in manufacturing. If we can bring in that talent and diversify the workforce to create more innovative opportunities, I think there's potential there, but we have to change the mindset of parents, of students, of counselors, of teachers. And I think we need to start before high school, we have to start exposing these younger kids to what engineering manufacturing looks like. And I think Mayuri and Alexus both brought up wonderful points. don't limit your kids on the type of play that they do when they're young.

Don't say, oh, you're a girl. So you have to play with dolls or you're a guy, so you have to play with cars, let them be curious. Cause kids are so curious when they're younger. and if you build up those walls and you restrict them to what they're curious about, that kind of leans them one way towards the other. So we got to stop doing that. Let them figure things out. If they spill something don't freak out so much. like I have two Tyler boys at home and one of them literally took a glass of milk and just dumped it down the stairs. And my husband freaked out a little bit and I just started laughing and he goes, why is that funny?

I'm like, he's figuring out what it does. Like he literally was like, ah, looked at the cup, looked at the stairs and just wait. And then what's around. They're going to get in trouble. So just let them kind of experiment and do those things. Let them ask questions, let them push their limits a little bit.

Yeah, of course. Wash them so they don't kill themselves, but let them experiment. I think that's great. So I'm really trying. Very hard to just get in front of educators and get in front of the community leaders where I'm from and connecting with people on LinkedIn that I would have been too fearful to connect to before because what's the worst thing they're going to say? No, I'm not interested. Okay. Moving on. so I've really done a lot of. On my self-confidence because I think it's important if no one else is going to do it, then I'm happy to try it out and do it myself. And with this event that I did back in October, because of COVID, we weren't able to do the face-to-face facility tours and I had to adapt.

33:58 Meaghan: 

So I reached out to my LinkedIn network and I was like, I need 20 to 30 minutes of your time. Who can tap in life? Who can do a pre-recording. One of which was, from the department of defense, his name is Jesse Salazar. He reached out to me, it was like, I love what you're doing. And I'm like, who are you? Like, how did you even hear about this? But he reached out to me and he was the, the opener for the event. I had Andrew Cross, the keynote speaker, and then I had a few others and I consider it a success because when the kids were like this, and then they went We got their attention. We engaged them.

We were able to connect what they were learning at the basic level to what they could be doing after they graduate. And that was amazing to me. And after the event, out of the 30 students who attended, they went and talked about it with their friends and 130 students went back to the head of the department and asked, how can I get involved with these courses? Who can I talk to? How does this connect me to. Brand or this brand, and they all want to go to IMTS. They all want to go to different trade shows. And then after that, to, the economic development center for that community. wanting to get in touch with me. And now they're planning on doing this annually, not just with the high school that I went to, but with all the high schools in a 50-mile radius and all the manufacturers in a 50 mile radius. Yeah. So I think just getting yourself in an uncomfortable position and just saying, okay, why not? Let's do it. It's worth a shot. 

35:39 Chris: 

You hit the target on that one. Absolutely wonderful stuff. 

35:44 Mayuri: good.

36: 12 Chris: Now you three are familiar with EECO Asks Why. We like to lightning rounds. And so what I'll do, we'll go around. I got three questions that are tied to this. Cause I hope that the listeners out there check out the show notes, the re the references and the resources that these ladies are pulling our.

There'll be there. So especially the lightening round. So maybe Alexus, you can start us on the lightening round when we get going. How about that? So we'll go Alexus, Mayuri, Meaghan, and we'll just, we got three questions. So Alexus, what would be your go-to leadership book? 

36:34 Alexus: 

Oh, God. I have too many, there is one, the 21 laws of Leadership and the author is escaping me, but I will get to that, but it comes from every aspect of leadership, just first talking about okay, how to be a leader, how to lead, who you're leading. How to pull up into the, the position of leadership, because you have to be able to communicate to who's following you. there has to be a reason they're following you.

37:20 Mayuri:

 Mine is the leadership challenge. when my husband was doing his MBA in the U S he got this book home one day and he said, my faculty has asked me to read this book and I ended up reading it and I loved it. So it basically talks about. how to creatively do something in an organization that inspires everyone to be leaders. So they don't see a leader as a position. they see a leader as someone who has built themselves to be in that position. So I really liked that book. and it really focuses on what a leader should do in order to influence others and not to just ask others to follow their orders.

37:47 Mayuri: Right. 

37:48 Chris: And the reason for asking this question for the skills gap is because we have some leaders listening. We need to put some good material in front of them because they need to be the ones that reach out and do that inspiration. So how about you, Meaghan? what's your go-to, leadership book. 

38:02 Meaghan: So I, I struggle with confidence.

I've been told that before. and it's something that I've been like trying to. Overcome just because it's important. If you want people to listen to you, you got to at least be confident what you're saying. so I actually found this book cause I was Googling just like different ways to gain confidence and, exercises.

And it's called the confidence cold code. Sorry, not cold is in your sick cold, but code and it's by two journalists, Katie Kay and Claire Shipman. And they basically just decompress. What confidence is. And they interviewed a bunch of like sports leaders and women in politics and, just different women in different disciplines.

And they ultimately argue while it's partly influenced by genetics. It's not a fixed psychological state. So they really just give you a blooper. Of what you can do to build up your confidence, especially as a woman. And I think it's a really helpful book. I think it's working at least for me. So I would recommend if anyone to read that, especially if you're a woman.

39:14 Chris:

Sounds great. Sounds great. Now back to you, Alexus, let's go leadership quote. 

39:21 Alexus: 

Oh yeah. These are some tough questions to me. I would say before you become a leader, you have to follow. 

39:32 Chris: 

Perfect. Perfect. How about you, Mayuri? 

39:36 Mayuri: 

That is a difficult question. but like I mentioned the book before, I think the book had the school leadership is a position. it is not a position. It is trying to remember what the court is. Leadership is an action. 

39:54 Chris: 

That's coffee mug worthy right there. All right. I bet you, Meaghan. 

40: 01 Meaghan:

So I had to write this one down, cause I stumbled over, quotes from other people, but she's an award winning broadcast journalist Michelle Ruiz. And she said, if people are doubting, how far you can go so far that you can't hear them in.

40:17 Chris: 

That's hanging on the rim stuff. All right. Now, back to you, Alexus, but what about your most inspirational female leader? 

40:34 Alexus: 

Oh, man. my most inspirational there's too many. Ah, can I be biased and say, my mom is my hero. I would say my mom only because I think because of her background and where she came from, it was not the expectation for her to succeed. And I think she's defied all odds by going all the way, as far as getting her PhD. And she's never been afraid to command her presence in a room. So like now she's currently, advocating for our invention to go to. So our family did an invention together and she's been speaking with P people I've never even heard of, and I'm an engineer.

So she's talking to manufacturers and all kinds of people and just really, being bold in herself and commanding her presence and, not being afraid to speak on what she wants and needs. And I think, from a little girl in Allendale to now, she says bold, woman, I wouldn't say boisterous, but she has a loud voice, but this bold woman just becoming, her own. That is so inspirational to me. And to be able to have that as an example would definitely be the reason why I am the way I am today. So I am a little biased, but I love my mom. 

41:47 Chris: 

I love that answer. I love it. How about you, Mayuri? 

41:53 Mayuri: 

Alexus has stolen because I was going to say my mom. the reason being, like I said, I was born and brought up in India, and being, being a female in India, back in seventies, eighties, it was very difficult for females to step out of the house and have a career for themselves along with managing kids in the household.

But she did that. So she was a pharmacist for the government of India for around 35. so along with taking care of her job, two kids, and I don't remember a day when she was not available for us, or I don't remember a day when she didn't cook for us. I have seen her grow. I have grown seeing her do all these things, so it just is really.

inspiring for me. And it just gives me more strength to do that on my own as well. So I know I can do so many things because my mom has done that. so that's, she's really inspirational. Yeah. If I had to pick another name, then I would say Kamala Harris. She is like the first woman of color, the first woman ever to be in that position.

43:02 Mayuri: 

She is in today. So definitely I see her as an inspirational. 

43:10 Chris: 

How about you, Meaghan? 

43: 11 Meaghan:

I'm a copycat cause I was going to say my mom as well too, just because. I'm the youngest of six. Yeah, I'm the youngest of six. And my mom basically gave up her career. So my dad can pursue his, because that was basically the generation that they came from. She was all set to go into nursing, but she really wanted to have six kids. And she knew that if to have a big family, my dad would have to be the sole breadwinner and he was in manufacturing. He traveled a lot and I don't think stay at home moms get enough credit as they should nowadays.

Because it takes a lot of time management and organization and just self-discipline to, to have six kids and not have any of them end up dying along the way. we got into the real trouble and she kept us all alive, very well. And she kept her patience and her compassion for us. And she is one of the best women that I know. And she encouraged all of us cause, there's four girls out of the six. And out of the four girls, she encouraged all of us. You need to go and be successful and just be as strong as men are. And, you, the sky's the limit. There's no limitations except yourself. And she encourages us still to this day to be a successful. And she's all of our number one fans. And if we have some event or whatever, she still tries to go at 76 years old, she still tries to go to all of our events and, she's our biggest cheerleader too. In terms of someone outside of my family, I was truly inspired with Danielle yesterday after our conversation.

And I think she is a good example of what a future leader looks like. Cause she's doing it right now so young. And I just feel because she's just because she's young doesn't mean she's not a leader. so she's doing amazing things and I recommend anyone who doesn't know her, follow her story. She's up and coming and she will be right at the top with some of those influential women. 

45:17 Chris: 

I love it. I think of what I liked the most about all three of your answers. The red thread is that you can affect a lot of things in your home. your mom's where your heroes. So the skills gap, industry and families, all these topics we've been talking about, for this particular series of ECOS, There's so much that could be fixed and corrected and sit on the right track.

If you have that right. Family construct, you have that right support at home. So I actually love the fact that all three of you said your mom that was not scripted, but it was awesome. and for my mom, love you, she, if she's listening to this one, her and my dad are my heroes, so great lightening round.

So I'm really curious on what each your whys are. So maybe, Meaghan, why don't you start us off on your why here? 

46:13 Meaghan: 

Number one is my daughter. I do everything for her. So I got pregnant when I was 19. I almost failed out of college as one of those stories where, when I was going through high school, I was always, distracted away from maybe doing something in engineering and manufacturing. And then I was told in order to be taken seriously, you have to go to college. You have to have that piece of paper, to be successful.

And when I got to college, I just lost my mind for a little bit and went on a dark path. And then I got pregnant at 19. And when her dad decided that he did not want to be a father, he wasn't ready to be a father. I needed to step up in both. And I knew I had to do something to better myself, so I could be better for her. And she's graduating high school this year. She's 18 and I just love her to death. I am so grateful and proud of her. she's been going through a little of a hard time right now, but I have no doubt in my mind that she will overcome what she's going through. And I'm just so proud of her. She's absolutely 100% my why.

And she keeps me going. Yeah. I do have two little boys too, but she made me a mom. So I don't tell anyone, but I favorite her two little ones. I don't know if that makes me a bad mom. Cause I'm like, yeah, she's my favorite. 

47:38 Chris: 

I'm just going to go mum is the word on this one. I'm not playing that game cause all my girls watching this stuff. So I'm not, Chloe, Ava, Lily. I love you all. How about you Mayuri? What's your why? 

47:50 Mayuri: 

Like I said before I had an ended up brother and my parents never distinguished between the both of us we were equals and I got all the resources that my brother had and my dad and mom made sure that I have everything that I need to satisfy my interests. So I would like to see. Especially from the background that I come from India. So I would like to see a younger women or in general younger kids, to be, to have those resources, to be able to have access to resources where they can grow. They have it in them, but they don't know. They don't have the exposure of how to use it, how to use those skills. So having something, it could be anything like we talked about so many things, having mentors or having social media channels. Providing all of that and having them get that exposure, would definitely help them in closing the skills gap women as well as men. 

That’s my why, I would like to share my story so that it inspires someone else that they can do it too. and they have it in them to it. So that's my personal way.

49:02 Chris: 

How about you Alexus? 

49:04 Alexus:

My why is for girls like me, not necessarily girls who look like me, girls who are me and girls who didn't have the same privileges like I did, but they're further along now. They have computers in their school. We had encyclopedias and books, but just girls like me, to, to show that if I can make it, you surely can make it.

Just advocating for those who may not have a voice I'm more boisterous and I'm definitely more verbal. just advocating for them because they may not know how to properly communicate it, or how to advocate for themselves. So just girls who are me, that's my way. Be an example, and a leader for that.

49:48 Chris: 

That's beautiful. It's beautiful. This tell you what this panel, so much insight, wisdom, inspiration. Tough topic. You ladies drilled it. Great job, for listeners out there, check the show notes because we'll make sure that all the resources, all the links, all the weights to get in touch and to follow Mayuri, Alexus and Meaghan that's out there. I can't thank you enough. This has just been phenomenal. We didn't know how these panels were turn out, but it has been an absolute blessing and we hope that is going to inspire the next generation and reach the hearts of those that needs to be reached.

So thank you again, you're all our heroes and you know that, and I thank you for your time today on EECO Asks Why. What a fun conversation. The one thing that really jumped out to me, it starts with. there was talk in elementary school and it starts, and the four walls that you have at your home, so much think about their heroes.

They each mentioned their mom, And the impact that it had there. So you can make an impact on the skills gap and your home. So don't discredit yourself. So thank you again, check out the show notes for all the amazing resources they're there to help. Now the war stories, we still want them.

They're still coming in. We're looking for the fun stuff, the stuff that you'd like to tell your friends. So check out the show notes for links, to how to send those to us as well. And if you're liking Nico asks, why share it with someone? Send the link out. You'll send a text, send an email, there's all sorts of ways to share the podcast.

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