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SME honours 20 women working in robotics and automation


SME’s Smart Manufacturing magazine recognizes 20 successful female leaders. Photo: SME

The SME advanced manufacturing association has recognized 20 female leaders in robotics and automation around the world, including a GE Aviation exec based in Quebec.

Marie-Christine Caron, senior engineering section manager for GE Aviation’s Global Robotics, Automation and Instrumentation R&D Centre in Bromont, Que., is the sole representative from Canada on the list.

In a statement, SME says the women represent a comprehensive cross-section of technologies in robotics and automation. Their common thread: a heightened awareness of the inherent impact humans exert on our planet, as well as the positive impact that concerted efforts in their various disciplines can have.

The list was developed by SME’s Smart Manufacturing magazine, in consultation with several female and male leaders from across the robotics and automation industries, and appears in the magazine’s February 2021 issue.

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“Although we as an industry have miles to go in balancing diversity in manufacturing, those with the knowledge, creativity and drive to raise the level of technology and innovation can achieve success,” says Robert Willig, executive director and CEO of SME.

“This group of women has not only the vision to create new products – and in some cases even new product categories – they also have the technological background and the business acumen to bring them to market and a willingness to teach others the processes necessary to make the next generations successful in our industry.”

Among the women honoured is Nicole Williams, thermoplastics composite materials and process manager for The Boeing Co., in St. Louis, Mo. and SME member. She says getting involved in organizational and industry programs such as the FIRST Robotics Competition, for which she has been a volunteer for 10 years, has helped her reach out to young women to encourage them to develop their STEM knowledge and practical skills.

“My message to girls in FIRST is to get involved early, stay active and embrace every opportunity,” she says.

The full list of winners is below.

  • Cynthia Breazeal, professor and associate director, MIT Media Lab, USA
  • Marie-Christine Caron, senior engineering section manager, Global Robotics, Automation and Instrumentation R&D Centre, GE Aviation, Canada
  • Rosa Ciprian, senior electrical engineer lead, Alert Innovation, USA
  • Leah Curry, president, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana, USA
  • Amy Elliott, research scientist, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, USA
  • Helen Grenier, CEO, Tertill, USA
  • Gillian Hawkes, VP products and analytics, 6 River Systems, USA
  • Sue Keay, CEO, Queensland AI Hub, Australia
  • Tessa Lau, CEO, Dusty Robotics, USA
  • Susanne Lauda, director, global advanced manufacturing technology, AGCO, USA
  • Jade Le Maître, emerging technologies leader, CGI, France
  • Lisa Masciantonio, chief workforce officer, Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Institute, USA
  • Elena Messina, group leader, manipulation and mobility systems, NIST, USA
  • Fritzi Moneza, senior principal manufacturing engineer, advanced automation, Northrup Grumman, USA
  • Roberta Nelson Shea, global technical compliance officer, Universal Robots, USA
  • Helena Samsioe, CEO and founder, GLOBHE (Global Health), Sweden
  • Christine Spiten, co-founder, Blueye Robotics, Norway
  • Nicole Renee Williams, thermoplastic composite materials and process manager, The Boeing Co., USA
  • Melonee Wise, CEO, Fetch Robotics, USA
  • Nuzha Yakoob, head of technology and innovation, Festo, USA