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Mini-cast 176: Women Considering Manufacturing

Bret Keisling shares an excerpt from the Owner to Owner podcast with Jesse Tyler, who asks three employee owners at Hypertherm North America to share why women should consider manufacturing and why they love EO. O2O has a special five-part series, Women in Manufacturing, dropping each Wednesday in March 2022.

To see Hypertherm's recruiting page, click here. To see testimonials from current Hypertherm employee owners, click here.


Mini-cast 176 Transcript

[00:00:00] Bret Keisling: Welcome to the ESOP Mini-cast. Thank you so much for listening. My name is Bret Keisling, and as it says on my business cards, I'm a passionate advocate for employee ownership. March is Women's History Month, and to celebrate, all month long the EO Podcast Network is presenting weekly episodes of the Owner to Owner podcast with Jesse Tyler called "Women in Manufacturing."

[00:00:30] Over the course of five episodes, you're going to meet twelve of Jesse's colleagues at Hypertherm. All are women, all love their jobs, and all love being employee owners. The Women in Manufacturing series of the Owner to Owner podcast is going to drop on this feed for this podcast all through March, giving my listeners the opportunity to check out Jesse's work.

[00:00:50] He does an amazing job and I really hope you'll enjoy the bonus episodes. And I also hope you'll go to the website and check out all of Jesse's episodes. I believe it's the only space in employee ownership where the conversation exclusively is owners talking to owners. I hope you'll check it out.

[00:01:08] For today's Mini-cast, I'm bringing you an excerpt from Part Two of the Women in Manufacturing series. This features Jesse along with his guests, Catherine Thurston, Madhura Mitra, and Sarah Swift, who will share some brief advice on why women should get into manufacturing and also share what employee ownership means to each of them.

[00:01:28] I hope you enjoy this excerpt.


[00:01:30] Jesse Tyler: So, what is your advice for women considering a career in manufacturing? What's your advice to them?

[00:01:36] You have lots of openings.

[00:01:37] Sarah Swift: Do it! Do it! We need more! Do it!

[00:01:43] Catherine Thurston: Women should, if they're considering manufacturing career, there is certainly a future here for them. Women by nature, we are able to multitask. They think from different angles, the perspective, and we need more of that. And the drive., I think that absolutely.

[00:02:02] Madhura Mitra: Yeah, absolutely.

[00:02:03] And just to add to that, my advice would be, be confident. Because I guess that's one thing that, I mean, I tell myself as well, sometimes. And that's what happens with women that we know something, but we are afraid to speak just because we think that would sound dumb or something like that. I don't know.

[00:02:19] But you know, just the confidence, I guess, fostering that from the beginning is, I think, it would be very important.

[00:02:26] Sarah Swift: Yeah, I completely agree. I would only add don't fall into those stereotypes, right? Like, statistically speaking, women don't ask for raises and men do, so they tend to make more women. I always talked about it.

[00:02:39] Women think they need to have the preferred, I've hired so many people that people, not men or women, both, that don't hit every box. So, don't fall into those stereotypes. They don't have to be real. Like, so, yeah, confidence. Yes.

[00:02:54] Jesse Tyler: That's great. I really appreciate it. So, I want to transition a little bit to your individual ownership experiences. So, if you want to weave more in from women of manufacturing and advice, please do, but I want to ask you the universal employee ownership question. What does ownership mean to you?

[00:03:11] Madhura Mitra: I can start. And I think ownership has a very special meaning to me. So, I moved to the United States at the age of 21. I had never been away from my parents. So, this was a big adventure for me. And I came here for my master's degree and I, you know, I was fresh out of college, had no job experience and all that stuff. And, I don't mean to criticize the immigration system, but in the immigration language, you know, immigrants are called Indians. So, in that context, being an owner with a company it definitely gave me the sense of belonging.

[00:03:47] You know, India is my motherland where I was born, but United States is my land of action, that is for the lack of better word, the land of action, the land of work for me, right? So, having that sense of belonging here was very important to me, I think.

[00:04:03] And I didn't realize it when I joined Hypertherm because I was very naive, ignorant as you may call it. But now I realize it that how, like, being a part owner in the company was, you know, Hypertherm was my first asset in the United States. So, I think it has a very special, definitely has a very special meaning to me, coming from a different country and establishing life here.

[00:04:25] Jesse Tyler: That's great. Catherine or Sarah?

[00:04:27] Catherine Thurston: Yeah, sure. From previous environments, I came from corporate where there is this high stress and level of achievement, that you must check every box and you need to have the project with the most savings and with less capital investment. And now, working in an ownership environment where we are the common playing field, there is this continuous high drive, but in a very different way. It is, I feel that I can vocalize more, be more creative to achieve those different goals. And from the ownership, too, it comes that feeling that my hard work also would benefit -- I will have a benefit from these fruits at the end of the day. And I don't have that level of stress.

[00:05:17] However, I do have pressure, but not the stress that I had before, because there was, it came from the feeling if I don't do this project, if I don't show the best project, I don't want to be that head that might be laid off when the downturn occurs. Now it is because you know, the more money we save, the more profit share we might be able to see!

[00:05:40] So, there's a really different incentive. It changes how you think and how you feel in the workplace.

[00:05:48] Jesse Tyler: That's great. Thank you.

[00:05:49] Sarah Swift: Yeah, I think -- I agree very much with you, Catherine. It absolutely does change how you approach work. At least for me, it does.

[00:05:57] And the other thing, I think that the key thing, especially because I work in the manu -- you know, I work with assemblers all day. The big takeaway for them is the shared rewards. So, there's a lot more trust that in our management team, because we have this sense of togetherness and so we're able to really recognize that even if you make a small change on the production floor, we benefit as a whole. And sharing that and moving forward together and that sense of ownership, but shared rewards really allows us to move forward as one organization.

[00:06:34] So, that's probably one of the biggest things I see every day.

[00:06:37] Jesse Tyler: That's great. I appreciate the insights from all three of you.

[00:06:40] So, part of the goal of this podcast is owner peers to be able to hear from each other. You don't usually hear three women with leadership roles in engineering and manufacturing being interviewed. That's what this is all about.


[00:06:55] Bret Keisling: With that we'll wrap up today's episode. Check out the Owner to Owner podcast at And while you're at it, take a look at and you can check out are more than 350 episodes in our archives.

[00:07:10] I hope you'll come back Tuesday for our primary EO/ESOP Podcast. Thank you so much for listening. This is Bret Keisling. Be well.

[00:07:17] Bitsy McCann: We'd love to hear from you. You can find us on Facebook at EO Podcast Network and on Twitter @ESOPPodcast. This podcast has been produced by Bret Keisling for the EO Podcast Network, production assistance by Victoria Huerta, original music composed by Max Keisling, branding and marketing by BitsyPlus Design, and I'm Bitsy McCann.

Standard Disclaimer: The views expressed herein are my own and don't represent those of my own firms or the organizations to which I belong. Nothing in the podcast should be construed as guidance or advice of any kind in any field and the fact that I mentioned an organizational website or an advocate or a company on a podcast does not reflect an endorsement, but if you've heard your name or your group's name mentioned on this podcast, I'd love to have you come on and talk about it yourself.

A note on the transcript: This transcript was produced by Descript, an automated transcription service. While it has been reviewed by The EsOp Podcast, we can not guarantee the accuracy of the transcription. Please refer to the original audio when citing sources.


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