Mold-Breaking Mentorship & the Modern Face of Moldmaking

WBM 2023 J, Huot

In the dynamic realm of moldmaking and engineering, breaking barriers is not just a choice; it’s a necessity.

Jane Huot, a 23-year-old mold designer and project manager, celebrated her one-year anniversary with Accede Mold & Tool this past summer. Recently, Jane celebrated another milestone in her journey: her first business trip.

Jane traveled from New York to Arizona with Camille Sackett, VP of Sales and Marketing, and Angie Steingass, Marketing Manager, to a conference partially sponsored by ACCEDE for women in the rubber and plastics industries. Jane assisted with setting up and staffing her company’s exhibit and attended conference sessions. After the conference, Jane shadowed Camille on sales visits to customers’ facilities.

The experience has left an indelible mark on Jane’s professional growth.

Diving into the Deep End: The Conference Experience
The Plastics News Women Breaking the Mold Conference 2023 served as the stage for Jane’s initiation into the intricacies of her industry. As a young professional juggling college, a full-time job, and household responsibilities, she found a resonating theme among the women she interacted with—the persistent need to prove oneself. While these challenges are not unique to women in the workforce, Jane’s realization that she was not alone fueled her determination to overcome challenges.

Networking: Building Bridges That Last
Networking at the conference forged meaningful connections. Jane met with inspiring female figures whose advice and educational opportunities opened new doors for her. She believes these connections will propel her career in the industry.

Investing in Experiences: Growing Through Opportunities
Jane’s conference participation as an attendee and exhibitor wasn’t just a work obligation but an investment in her growth. Providing such experiences to employees is more than a perk—it’s an investment in creating well-rounded professionals. These experiences go beyond job responsibilities, offering a holistic view and contributing to personal and professional development.

Mentorship: Passing the Torch with Care
As the experienced workforce in moldmaking ages, the need for mentorship becomes clear, emerging as a vital link to preserving tribal knowledge. It ensures that the wealth of experience doesn’t fade away and that the next generation is equipped with the insights needed for success.

At ACCEDE, Jane is primarily mentored in mold design by Brett Lindenmuth, VP of Engineering. Traveling out of the mold shop created space to hold meaningful conversations and build a deeper connection with Camille, who started 30-plus years ago where Jane sits now. The women discussed the importance of getting hands-on experience on the shop floor, in the mold inspection and sampling labs, and customers running her molds. The feedback from the varied perspectives accelerates deep learning and wisdom.

Job Shadowing and Cross Training: Enriching Industry Practices
With the young program engineer’s experience shadowing sales and marketing, Jane learned the immense value of customer engagement. Camille’s emphasis on understanding the customers’ perspectives through natural interactions left a lasting impression on Jane. Jane realized it’s not just about individual skill development but also about fostering a collaborative environment within the industry. Job shadowing and cross-training benefits extend beyond the individual, creating a more versatile and adaptable workforce.

Empowering Women in Mold Making: Building a Balanced Future
Encouraging more young women to join moldmaking isn’t just about DEI metrics; it’s about injecting varied perspectives into our predominantly male industry. Jane’s contributions at ACCEDE showcase the value of diversity, not as a checkbox but as a catalyst for innovation.

Feedback and Recommendations: Embracing the Unknown
Jane offers sage advice to fellow young professionals gearing up for their first business trip or conference: embrace the unknown, ask questions, and step out of your comfort zone. The wealth of knowledge and experience shared by industry veterans is a treasure trove to be explored. Reflecting on her own experience, Jane wishes she had been less anxious about the experience and reached out to more women at the conference, vowing to leap into the unknown in future endeavors. She has returned to the mold shop with more confidence, understanding, and appreciation for her work and ACCEDE’s position in the industry.

Jane’s journey celebrates her one-year milestone and the principles moldmaking should embrace—mentorship, experiential learning, diversity, job shadowing, and cross-training. It’s a testament to the transformative power of stepping into the unknown, embracing challenges, and emerging more substantial on the other side.

Connect with ACCEDE on LinkedIn and be part of the ongoing evolution in moldmaking.
Published by Camille M. Sackett 12/28/2023