Women of manufacturing – speak up, share and be yourself

So often, talk in our industry focusses on harnessing the power of people and technology – something we all agree can be transformational – but what about unlocking the full potential of people?

When you consider that 50% of the world’s population is not fully empowered, we have a lot of work to do to create the grounds for success in our sector. Just imagine the potential we could open by building an inclusive, diverse, creative manufacturing space where people can be themselves and use their roles to inspire.

This is something manufacturing leaders including Mars are keen to address.

Jana Samson is the Corporate R&D Quality Systems Manager at Mars R&D Digital Capabilities. Jana’s role sees her work globally, cross-segment across the businesses with a responsibility for quality systems. Simply by occupying the position she does, Jana is an inspiration to women considering a career in manufacturing, but more than this, she wants to lead by example.

As part of HxGN LIVE Global 2023’s women’s programme, we spoke to Jana. She thinks that for women to truly cement their place in the manufacturing industry, authenticity is needed.  More than that, Jana believes in the importance of being yourself and telling your story – something you don’t hear very often in the manufacturing context.

“The aim of myself and other female leaders at Mars is to inspire, lead by example and invite dialogue. This way the younger generation is really pulled in. We are also very keen to share private experiences and talk about things like family and hobbies.

“I think it’s really important to basically share where you come from and your circumstances. So the fact that you are a young woman just starting your career, you don’t need to choose between having family, having a hobby or having career, because all of that is possible at the same time. And I think that’s really inspirational because women who are leading, also share their private stories about their kids, about their hobbies they have outside of work and that’s just giving you the inspiration to say, this is a business I want to work for and I can be myself and I can be successful in my career as well as in my private life. I think that’s really important.”

During the interview, we asked Jana what she wished somebody had told her earlier on in her career.

“Be authentic,” she said. “And let me explain why because I’m talking about role models, I’m talking about getting inspired and you want to be like those people. So you try to do that their way, but you have to find a way to shape your own destiny because if you are trying to impersonate someone else, it’s not you. You will not be credible. I think the authenticity is really important. So I know it now, and I do things my way, but I still get inspired by others.”

During the podcast, Jana provides advice to women looking to start a career in manufacturing, shares anecdotes about her career and tells us about some of the incredible equality and diversity initiatives taking place at Mars.

You can listen to the full episode of the podcast above or by following the link here.

Jana Samson, Corporate R&D Quality Systems Manager, Mars R&D Digital Capabilities


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