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7th Annual STEP Ahead Awards Recognize Women for Excellence in Manufacturing

By Sandvik Coromant Press Release

The Washington-based Manufacturing Institute will award Sandvik Coromant’s Danielle Allen with the Women in Manufacturing STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) Ahead Award. The STEP Ahead Awards honor women who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in their careers and represent all levels of the manufacturing industry, from the factory floor to executive management.


“I’m very happy to be a STEP Ahead award honoree,” Allen said. “For my sales area, I focus on attracting women to manufacturing as part of our sustainability outreach. This award allows me to support and advocate for females in manufacturing and to pay it forward to other women so they have same opportunities as I have had. Breaking down stereotypes as a STEP Ahead honoree allows me to do just that by making an impact and instilling change into our organization and the industry.”

The Manufacturing Institute will recognize 130 recipients of the STEP Ahead Awards at an April 11 reception in Washington, D.C. The STEP Ahead Awards program will highlight each honoree’s story, including their leadership and accomplishments in manufacturing.

“Danielle’s dedication and devotion to her customers and colleagues is distinguished by a will-ingness to explore solutions that need to be ‘designed’ rather than just ‘assigned,’ which is a vital skill set for our innovative organization,” said Veronica Messersmith, 2015 STEP Ahead honoree and vice president of sales at Sandvik Coromont (Fair Lawn, N.J.). “She has been a major contributor for industry events and takes the lead in improving the operational side of field sales.”

Women constitute one of manufacturing’s largest pools of untapped talent. Women totaled 47 percent of the U.S. labor force in 2016, but only 29 percent of the manufacturing workforce. Not only does the STEP Ahead initiative bolster manufacturing’s attractiveness to women, it also plays an important role in improving the perception of careers in the industry among younger generations.

Danielle Allen, Sandvik Coromant

“Women are the single largest pool of untapped potential talent within the manufacturing industry, and we must continue to do everything we can to promote gender diversity within this field,” said Keira Lombardo, chair of STEP Ahead and executive vice president of corporate affairs and compliance for Smithfield Foods. “The STEP Ahead Awards program not only recognizes the incredible women in manufacturing who have an impact on the daily lives of people all over the world, it sends an incredibly powerful message to the next generation of female leaders that the manufacturing industry offers innovative and fulfilling careers in which women can thrive.”

The STEP Ahead Awards are part of the larger STEP Ahead initiative, launched to examine and promote the role of women in the manufacturing industry through recognition, research, and leadership for attracting, advancing, and retaining strong female talent. In five years, STEP Ahead Award winners have impacted more than 300,000 individuals—from peers in the industry to school-aged children.

“Providing more opportunities for women in manufacturing is more than just the right thing to do,” said Carolyn Lee, executive director of The Manufacturing Institute. “At a time when manufacturers face a workforce crisis, and with women still constituting less than a third of manufacturing workers, it’s clearly critical to the future of our industry and the economy.

“The Manufacturing Institute’s STEP Ahead awards—which provide today’s female leaders in manufacturing the recognition they deserve while simultaneously elevating role models that can inspire future generations to join them—are an important element of our commitment to helping foster a 21st-century manufacturing workforce by developing current leaders and engaging future ones.”

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