Women in Manufacturing: STEPping Ahead

It takes determination to build a career in today’s corporate landscape. Even more so for women who are leading the charge in a male dominated industry such as manufacturing. According to a report from the National Women’s Law Center women’s share of the manufacturing sector is just over 27 percent, despite women accounting for nearly half of the total U.S. labor force. But, the world is changing, and programs like the STEP Ahead Women in Manufacturing Award is a good example. Meredith Kovarik, a recipient of this year’s award, is both honored and humbled by the recognition.

Kovarik is no stranger to overcoming challenges. After earning a bachelors in engineering from the University of Central Florida she moved directly into a lean coach role on the manufacturing floor in the steel industry. Kovarik views this time in her career as formative for her future goals. “You learn a lot being on the floor… It was a key opportunity to experience manufacturing from the ground up. It also gives you a profound appreciation and respect for the work that every person completes to keep the overall company working toward a goal.”

These insights led Kovarik to supply chain and big data analytics, and ultimately to working as a consultant, after completing her MBA.

“Supply chain is a truly amazing thing,” says Kovarik. “When you really think about it, it’s critical to the existence of every product around us. From the food in a grocery store to large data center installations, they all have supply chains behind them… And these supply chains are growing increasingly global and key to a business. There’s more complexity, more things that can break; and that makes it more challenging and more fun.”

Kovarik joined Jabil and hit the ground running, making history by being one of the youngest to earn the title of director at the age of 31. Having found a company she flourishes in has been as important to her success as her personal outlook on work and life.

“A great leader is one who inspires greatness in others. Jabil is a great company to work for because it supports these ideals… It’s a culture that respects hard work and that allowed me to grow professionally and take on new and different challenges.”

What challenge is next for Kovarik? Well, even she isn’t sure what the future will hold but she’s grateful for the opportunity to face that challenge in a corporation as empowering as Jabil.

One Response to Women in Manufacturing: STEPping Ahead

  1. Erica Chan says:

    Proud of you. Glad you are in our team.

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