by Stacey Smith Stacey Smith

Women in Manufacturing Event Inspires 500+ Industry Leaders and Students, Maryland’s Lieutenant Governor Shares Her Own Career Journey

(View the event photo gallery here. See a photo of you that you like? Use the download arrow to download and use it at no cost.)

On Thursday, November 30th, RMI of Maryland and Maryland MEP hosted “Women Making a Difference for Maryland,” a program designed to highlight and celebrate the significance and value of women to Maryland’s manufacturing industry. Over 500 industry stakeholders, as well as more than 150 female high school students in career and technology programs from Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County and Baltimore City, were in attendance.

The program opened with an inspiring speech from April Richardson, Esq., Founder of Baked in Baltimore and DC Sweet Potato Cake. You can view April’s rousing speech here.

Next, Su Oo, a PTECH student at Dundalk High School who will graduate in May 2024 from CCBC with an AAS in Engineering Technology with a concentration in Civil Engineering, introduced Maryland Lieutenant Governor Aruna Miller to address the audience. View Su Oo’s introduction here. You can view the Lt. Governor’s uplifting and entertaining address here.

The program continued with a panel discussion featuring women leaders from some of Maryland’s most recognized manufacturers. Led by Tammi Thomas, Chief Development and Marketing Officer at TEDCO, the women shared stories of their career journeys, their challenges, successes and the benefits of working in manufacturing. Participating panelists were:

  • Leslie Bass, Distribution Center Site Leader, Coty Inc.
  • Melissa Johanson, Director, Advanced Land Sensors Operating Unit, Northrop Grumman Corp.
  • Varsha Patel, Engineering Director, Americas Supply Chain Operations, McCormick & Company.

The audience, including attending high school students, posed questions to the panel. You can view the panel discussion here.

The energizing morning concluded with Mike Galiazzo, President of Regional Manufacturing of Maryland, and Mike Kelleher, Executive Director of Maryland MEP, recognizing three leading women from Maryland’s legislative delegation for their efforts in support of Maryland manufacturing:

  • Maryland House Speaker Adrienne Jones
  • Delegate Vanessa Atterbeary, Esq.
  • Delegate Lily Qi

You can view this portion of the event here.

The event concluded with time for the students to connect with women in manufacturing and other industry leaders and professionals in attendance.

Comments from some of the attendees:

  • This event is sure to become a powerful movement for young women, weaving the narratives of accomplished female leaders into a tapestry of inspiration, encouragement, and hope. Collectively, it was a testament to the boundless potential within every young female student, affirming the timeless truth: You can be anything you want to be. Joyce LaPadula, MWCC
  • The morning felt like a big hug. Katie Parks, MEDCO
  • The event highlighted the tremendous opportunity ahead for young women. With over 500 people in the room, from April Richardson’s heartfelt remarks about the voice that women bring to Maryland to Lt. Governor Aruna Miller’s words about her own leadership journey and the excellent insights from the panel of mid-career professionals, the women and girls in the room learned valuable lessons about their career opportunities and more importantly, about life. Suzy Ganz, Lion Brothers
  • The panelists were stellar, and their stories are nothing short of inspiring, encouraging and true soul food. I don’t know anyone that could’ve left feeling anything but love! It takes a village. Sherri Allen, Merrick & Company
  • Powerful and inspirational messages like those heard at this event bode well for women in manufacturing and leadership in all fields. Aris Melissaratos, ArMel Scientifics
  • This event was extremely inspiring and is hopefully setting the future for the next generation of women in manufacturing. It was great to listen to the remarks from the guest speakers, the amazing journey of the panelists and the engagement from the students that were in attendance. Carlos Nakamichi, McCormick & Company
  • I felt like it was a great experience. I was able to speak with people in the manufacturing industry and learned that many different paths could lead to a successful future. Keishauna McFarland, Student, Old Mill High School
  • What an amazing event for young women.  The girls really enjoyed hearing from women in industry and the message of “I can” and “I will” left a lasting impression. Amy Woolf, PTECH Coordinator, Dundalk High School
  • It was fun, I liked it – I learned a lot about the empowerment of women in Maryland. Suri Villanueva, 9th grade PTECH student, Dundalk High School
  • It was such an honor to introduce the Lt. Governor. I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to meet with so many amazing women. Su Oo, PTECH student, Dundalk High School