The Manufacturing Institute announced that Breanna Cornell, Process Engineer at the Essity (formerly SCA) Bellemont, AZ paper converting site, is a recipient of the Women in Manufacturing STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) Ahead Emerging Leader Award. The STEP Ahead Awards honor women who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in their careers and represent all levels of the manufacturing industry, from the factory floor to the C suite.
Upon her graduation from Michigan Tech University (BS, Environmental Engineering), Breanna was accepted into Essity’s Graduate Onboarding (GO!) Engineer program, which is an 18-month-long rotational employment opportunity in which the GO! candidates are exposed to multiple parts of the business. Following her experience as a GO! Engineer, Essity hired Breanna as a process engineer on the Napkin Resource Support Team.
In her role as a Process Engineer, Breanna is responsible for working with operators, maintenance, and others to develop standards, centerlines, and processes to improve the efficiency and lower the waste on the napkin machines in her group. During her nearly three years in this role, Breanna has already made a positive impact. She has become instrumental in creating a training program for machine operators. Her communications skills serve her well as a liaison for the operators, as well as in her other responsibility of onboarding machine operators on her team, using the training program that she developed. Breanna also serves as a GO! program mentor, as she herself is an alumna of the program.
According to Breanna, “I am honored to not only have been nominated for, but to be a recipient of, the Emerging Leader Award from the Manufacturing Institute. Since my arrival at Essity, it was clear that there are numerous opportunities for women in manufacturing to succeed here, and I am grateful for the contributions I’ve been able to make in training and mentoring. I am excited to be a part of the award event in April, to be among other women leaders, and learn as much as I can to bring back and share with my colleagues at Essity.”
“Breanna is a terrific role model for other women in engineering and manufacturing, both within Essity and as a representative outside of the company,” said Essity Operations Manager Dan Edwards. “She is motivated and goal-oriented, and well deserving of this award.”
“Companies across the U.S. agree there is a talent shortage in manufacturing. Through the STEP Ahead Awards, we hope to take another step toward closing this gap by highlighting the stories of successful women in manufacturing and giving them a platform to encourage other women to join the industry and be role models for the next generation,” said Carolyn Lee, executive director of The Manufacturing Institute. “The women being honored demonstrate what modern manufacturing careers are all about: making an impact in their communities with meaningful careers that offer significant opportunities for growth.”
The STEP Ahead Awards are part of the larger STEP Ahead initiative, launched to examine and promote the role of women in the manufacturing industry through recognition, research, and leadership for attracting, advancing, and retaining strong female talent. In five years, STEP Ahead Award winners have impacted more than 300,000 individuals — from peers in the industry to school-aged children.
Women constitute one of manufacturing’s largest pools of untapped talent. Women totaled about 47 percent of the U.S. labor force in 2016, but only 29 percent of the manufacturing workforce. Not only does the STEP Ahead initiative bolster manufacturing’s attractiveness to women, it also plays an important role in improving the perception of careers in the industry among younger generations.
On April 10, The Manufacturing Institute will recognize 130 recipients of the STEP Ahead Awards at a reception in Washington, D.C. The STEP Ahead Awards program will highlight each honoree’s story, including their leadership and accomplishments in manufacturing.