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International Women in Engineering Day: Engineering Heroes

Gretchen Wilkins | 23 June 2021

International Women in Engineering Day is celebrated all across the globe on June 23.  This year’s theme, set by The Women’s Engineering Society is Engineering Heroes – celebrating “the best, brightest and bravest women in engineering, who recognize a problem, then dare to be part of the solution; who undertake everyday ‘heroics’ as much as emergency ones.”

Here at Bastian Solutions, from project engineering to account management, human resources, controls and consulting, among a number of other roles, we’ve witnessed women in various positions in the last year – a pandemic – come together in a time of crisis to provide guidance and resources. They’ve pulled together to keep us safe and others have helped plan, develop and execute intricate automated solutions for customers. On several different fronts, they’ve fostered innovation and ingenuity to successfully undertake the challenges.    

Looking Back

Reflecting back, when I first began my career in Information Technology in the 1980s, women were not encouraged to work in positions largely occupied by men. It was rare to see a woman in management, let alone in a position traditionally seen as “a man’s job.” It’s exciting for me now, 25 years later and a mom of teenage daughters, to be living in a world that is willing, ready, able and committed to breaking down the gender and cultural barriers that remain, especially in engineering fields that have traditionally been dominated by men. In the nearly eight years I have worked at Bastian Solutions, it’s been exciting to see the number of women working across all of Bastian Solutions growing.

I owe a lot to my first female manager. She took me under her wing, helped get me grounded in the Information Technology field, and created ways where not only could I grow in knowledge, skill, and experience, but also where we could both succeed. Facing work challenges together, my confidence grew alongside my technical education. This carried through to the hardware and software assets we deployed to users, as well as to the materials and classes that we were able to create. The mentorship my manager provided had significant and lasting impact.

Help Support in the Workplace

COVID-19 has been challenging, in numerous aspects. Helping to support each other, especially during these times is key. Tiffany Joseph, a project engineer with our Bastian Solutions’ Canada Ontario office noted that this is a great time to look back and evaluate how each of us can help support and champion the women around us.

She shared, “Allyship includes action and advocacy that is crucial to impactful change. It’s not a once and done action but rather, it’s a continuous process and involves constantly learning. Also, unlike mentorship, it’s not necessarily tied to supporting a single individual but rather broader support for a group or community.”

How can you help support women in the workplace?

  • Embrace – Embrace growth and be open to new ideas or feedback.
  • Ask – Don’t hesitate to ask how you can help.
  • Partnership – Actively cultivate partnerships with women.
  • Awareness – Be mindful of your own biases.
  • Communication – Be aware of the way you communicate.
  • Listen – Before you jump in, stop to listen.

Stop to Celebrate

Woman have always had to work harder to get to the next level. I know personally I found this to be true.  Still to this day I see evidence of this lingering, but it is exciting for me now, 25 years later and a mom of teenage daughters, to be living in a world that is finally willing, ready, able and committed to breaking down the remaining gender barriers, especially in engineering fields that have traditionally been dominated by men.

One of the most common barriers for women is the lack of available role models and support. This past year is another step towards changing that. And, in the nearly eight years I have worked at Bastian Solutions, it’s been exciting to see the number of women working across the company, in various roles, growing. We still have a way to go, but my how far we’ve come!

So, today we celebrate and take time to appreciate the outstanding achievements of women engineers within Bastian Solutions and throughout the world. At Bastian Solutions, we strive to celebrate our Women in Tech at all levels.

Author: Gretchen Wilkins, Tiffany Joseph

Gretchen is a Business Systems Analyst with Bastian Solutions’ Software department in Kentucky. Leveraging more than 25 years’ experience as both a Project Manager and Business Analyst for software development, she partners with customers to help them transform their distribution warehouse operations using Bastian Solutions' hardware and custom software. 

Tiffany is a Project Engineer with Bastian Solutions Canada’s Ontario office. Tiffany has a Bachelor of Engineering from York University – Lassonde School of Engineering. Tiffany joined the team in Fall 2019, and supports her colleagues on ongoing projects, works with customers to meet their RFQ and RFP needs, and enjoys learning about Bastian’s warehousing design and logistics solutions. 

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