March 8 is International Women’s Day. To celebrate, USGNN.com™ is highlighting some of the phenomenal women who help keep the glass industry running.
Nancy Mammaro – Mappi America
Mappi America CEO Nancy Mammaro has been in the glass industry for 20 years. She would like to see more women in the industry.
“I certainly agree the industry would greatly benefit having more women involved in the glass industry. I say this because I believe women are excellent multi-taskers. I believe diversity in any industry is beneficial and opens the door to insight and innovation,” she says.
Mammaro believes women should consider a career in the glass industry because it is “so unique, fragile and constantly evolving.”
“It’s exciting to be in an industry that is not dull and stagnant,” she says.
Mammaro says it’s important to celebrate International Woman’s Day because women should be proud of their accomplishments.
“We should be proud of how far we’ve come and all of the barriers we have overcome over the years. It is not just a man’s world anymore and we should be proud of that,” she says.
If Mammaro could give her younger self career advice she would say, “I wish I had a greater foundation of knowledge in engineering. I had to learn from scratch and I think a solid base of engineering knowledge would have allowed me to learn faster of what I know now. I would also have told myself to speak up and not be scared to offer my opinion or advice in situations.”
Margaret Webb – The Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance
Margaret Webb, executive director of the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance (IGMA) has been with the organization for 18 years. Prior to that she was employed with an architect who specialized in special needs housing.
Webb also advocates for industry diversity.
“Men and women view things from different perspectives and have different strengths so I believe all industries would benefit from better balance,” she says.
She says that women should join the glass industry if the focus interests them.
“I have found the discussions on glass performance, and the innovations that have and are being developed very interesting. I have been very fortunate to have had an interesting career and have never found my job to be routine. I enjoy the variety which also keeps things interesting,” says Webb.
She believes that International Women’s Day provides perspective.
“It is a reminder of where we have been, those who have paved the path before us and to understand that there are still challenges facing women solely related to gender,” she says.
If Webb could give her younger self advice she would say, “I used to get very stressed when there was controversy but have realized that everything works out over time. Also, to listen more.”
Helen Sanders – Technoform Glass Insulation
Helen Sanders, strategic business development at Technoform Glass Insulation, has been in the glass industry for 24 years.
She believes the glass industry could benefit from hiring more women.
“I think data has shown that having a diverse workforce, involving a critical mass of women, helps the financial performance of businesses. For example, I understand that research has shown that board of directors are more effective if they have at least three women,” she says.
According to Sanders, the glass industry offers a diverse set of career opportunities from technical positions and operations to sale, marketing and much more.
“Our industry encourages participation and supports personal development. There are so many experienced professionals willing and ready to share their knowledge and experience,” she says. “It also provides opportunities to work in a wide range of business types and sizes – from small family run organizations to large multi-nationals. And we help make really cool buildings happen! Once you join the glass industry, it’s hard to leave because of the exciting work we do and the smart people with whom we do our work.”
The focus of International Women’s Day is to achieve full gender equality for women around the world.
“Calling attention to this global goal helps increase awareness of equality and diversity within businesses, associations, governments and other organizations,” says Sanders.
If she could give any advice to her younger self she would say, “The world is run by people who turn up. Get out in the industry and participate – you will learn and develop far faster than staying at your desk, and what’s more, you will create unexpected opportunities and develop friendships that will last a lifetime. You will get out at least what you put in!”
Donna Hinkle – Quanex
Quanex Building Products senior technical services representative Donna Hinkle has been in the industry for 26 years. She says that more women in the industry is a plus.
“Women add to the diversity of companies strengths,” says Hinkle.
She touts the industry as a sector with plenty of career paths.
“The glass industry is strong as ever due to new residential/commercial construction and older home restoration consistently on the rise,” she says. “The glass industry consistently strives to find new environmentally safe and economically friendly ways to save energy. Therefore, there are lots of different career paths one can choose within the industry.”
She adds that International Women’s Day is important because it celebrates and promotes women of all ages to strive to be the best in their work and life balance.
Joanne Funyak – Vitro Architectural Glass
Joanne Funyak, the MSVD product manager for Vitro Architectural Glass has been in the industry since 2003.
She agrees with other industry women who say that diversification makes the industry stronger.
Funyak says that women should consider a career in the glass industry because there is an “opportunity to learn a fascinating industry and contribute to some of the most beautiful projects in the world. It provides opportunity to use a vast set of skills from technical to finance to marketing and selling.”
If Funyak could give her younger self advice she would say, “Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask questions. It is a male-dominated industry but yours may be the best idea/thought in the room.”
Diana San Diego – Safti First
Safti First vice president of marketing Diana San Diego has been in the glass industry since 2006.
“Any industry, including ours, can benefit from diverse thoughts, ideas, perspectives and values. I think women bring this diversity of thought, ideas, perspective and values to the table,” she says.
San Diego believes the industry can grow with more women involved.
“It’s still an emerging market of sorts – and innovation cannot happen without creativity, collaboration and diversity. Women can bring those values to the table.”
She believes it’s important to share the values that are celebrated by International Women’s Day.
“These values are not exclusive to women, which makes it a great place to start for any person or organization to enact positive change,” she says.
San Diego would tell her younger self not to sweat the small stuff because learning is a process.
“When I first started, I was plenty intimidated to be working in the construction industry. I stressed out all the time about the things I didn’t know, and was afraid of taking chances because I might make a mistake. Twelve years later, I can say that the most rewarding experiences came from chances I’ve taken – even if not all of them worked out because the lessons that came with it has made me wiser and stronger. I would also tell my younger self to not be afraid to reach out and ask for help, because there are plenty in our industry who are willing to give advice and see you succeed.”
Erin Johnson – Quanex
Erin Johnson, marketing director at Quanex, has been in the industry with the same company for 25 years.
She thinks the influence of women in the industry has had many positive effects.
“Just from Quanex alone, we have several women locally and globally who influence sales, engineering, research and development, marketing, technical, customer service, communications and product development in the industry. The women at Quanex truly do make our organization stand out! Many women have started the major industry publications and serve as heads of industry associations. I think the industry still needs more women involved and represented at the industry association meetings.”
Johnson echoes many of the other women who believe a career in the glass industry comes with various career options.
“The opportunities are endless in sales, technical, engineering, marketing, executive leadership, information technology and customer service. In my experience, the industry has been very open to feedback from women and is very open to recruiting more women in all fields.”
For Johnson, International Women’s Day is vital now, more than ever.
“It is important to recognize and celebrate women around the world for their achievements and contributions to society,” she says.
Carrie Scheetz – Quanex
Carrie Scheetz, Quanex marketing project manager, has been in the industry for 12 years. She has learned much from the women she works alongside.
“I think it’s important to celebrate and appreciate women and the perspective they bring not just today, but every day,” she says.
According to Scheetz, with the advancement of technology in the industry, companies are growing and changing the way they do business.
“There are so many new opportunities and jobs available, it’s inspiring to see that the possibilities are endless,” she says.
If Scheetz could give her younger self advice she would say, “Appreciate the close-knit culture of our industry. The friendships and comradery within the industry are really special and unique in the business world today.”
Wendy Carroll – Vitro Architectural Glass
Vitro clear and tinted glass product manager Wendy Carroll joined the glass industry in 1987.
She finds that women often have a different approach than men.
“When taken into consideration, this can result in a better overall outcome,” she says.
Carroll recommends that women consider a career in the glass industry for its rich history.
“Glass is an industry and product with a history that reaches back to ancient times – and will stretch well into the future,” she says. “It is interesting to see where it started, how far it has progressed, and to be part of it through your professional career. It touches many aspects of daily life. Everyone has some knowledge of what glass is and does.”
If she could give advice to her younger self, Carroll would say, “Be willing to try new things. Every position I’ve had in the industry teaches me something valuable that, over time, contributes to a solid foundation.”