ASA’s Women in Industry is celebrating its fifth year as a division of our national association. It has become the fastest-growing division in ASA and is rapidly becoming a driving factor in building a connection between successful women and the opportunities our industry has to offer.
At our company, we don’t view participation in this group as an option, but as a necessity and we will be sending four very talented young women to this year’s conference and have done so since this group’s inception.
Most of you are aware ASA started this exciting group not just to provide a new networking opportunity for the women in our industry, but also as a way to attract talented professionals to an industry that will see tremendous change in the years to come.
Informed with data from a labor study about the pending loss of half our industry’s labor force in the next two decades and with only 26% of our current labor force being women, a decision was made to make ASA a valuable resource for attracting and retaining women in this male-dominated field. The ASA Women in Industry division provides a welcoming place for women entering the industry, as well as networking and education opportunities for the current workforce.
With both goals in mind, Women in Industry partnered last year with Texas A&M University’s Society of Women in Industrial Distribution. This new organization is working to create an environment that connects women in industrial distribution and allows them to share advice about both professional and life experiences. Ten students from Texas A&M attended last year’s WII Spring Conference in Austin, Texas, to further their mission and network with our division’s members.
This was our first step toward connecting on a broader scale with colleges and universities around the country to attract women into our industry as well as to enable the national association to hone our understanding of women students as they share their career goals and expectations to help companies better position their recruiting efforts.
As an industry, we have done a good job of attracting women. Unfortunately, we have not always done a good job of providing a pathway into management and senior management positions. I am excited about the success our Women in Industry leadership team has achieved in building a strong culture of inclusion and direction for our women leaders and emerging leaders. I am even more excited to see how much further they can go to build our labor force as we look to replace the roughly 100,000 people who will retire over the next 15-20 years.
If you haven’t signed someone up for this year’s exciting program, it’s not too late. This year’s conference will offer more networking opportunities than ever. From connecting with new friends, finding synergies with women working in their same industry segment and sharing best practices with those in their similar work roles, we’ve packed the conference with a multitude of ways to meet and learn from your peers.
And as a way to further expand your network, we are once again partnering with several university programs and have invited women students of industrial distribution to participate in this year’s conference. This year’s expanded program will enable your team to come away with new ideas for themselves and for your company’s success.
Find out more about the ASA Women in Industry division and the exciting program planned for the WII Spring Conference in Savannah, Georgia, April 25-27, by visiting www.asa.net/wii.