As Women in 3D Printing (Wi3DP) continues to grow at a rapid pace, the organization is entering a new phase of evolution. This year, it made the enormous step of securing a partner in SME, which would provide it with resources to maintain itself as an all-volunteer non-profit. With the decades-old and massive manufacturing association in its corner, Wi3DP has more bandwidth to further develop its programs and advance the organization itself. The latest demonstration of this growth is the establishment of an Advisory Board, made up of a varied group of industry representatives, including the author.
Women in 3D Printing’s New Advisory Board
Beginning as a blog seven years ago, Wi3DP has become one of the most prominent organizations in the AM sector. As it accepts speakers for its upcoming Technology, Industry, People, Economics (TIPE) conference, the non-profit has five regional directors across six continents, 25 area managers representing 40 countries, and 137 ambassadors managing over 100 local chapters around the globe. It will even expand beyond TIPE by hosting a Wi3DP showcase at SME’s 2023 RAPID + TCT event in Chicago.
The advisory board was developed as a means of providing guidance to the Wi3DP Board of Directors on strategic projects and initiatives. This ranges from lending advice on content and strategy to presenting new ideas to the organization, all with the goal of advancing women in additive manufacturing (AM). Though it would be impossible for me to objectively comment on my own skillset and additive experience, I can say that the rest of the board is an impressive mix of engineers, executives, and consultants, many of whom you will likely recognize:
- Dana McCallum, VP of Sales, Mantle
- Terry Wohlers, Head of Advisory Services and Market Intelligence, ASTM
- SJ Jones, Technical Sales Engineer, Velo3D
- Katie Weimer, VP of Regenerative Medicine, 3D Systems
- Addy Olubamiji, Director of Solutions Engineering, Desktop Metal
- Mina Lee, Manager of People and Culture, MakerBot
- Melissa Orme, Vice President, Boeing Additive Manufacturing
- Andrew Allshorn, CEO, 3D-Squared
- Maddie Frank, Applications Engineer, Fabric8Labs
- Michael Molitch-Hou, Editor in Chief, 3DPrint.com
“I am excited about the opportunity to lead the Advisory Board and bring together a group of talented individuals in our industry with diverse backgrounds and perspectives. The Advisory Board will help guide and support the astounding Board of Directors of Women in 3D Printing as they continue to set and execute the strategy, vision, and growth of the organization,” said Dana McCallum, Advisory Board Lead.
I’m personally humbled to be included in such skilled collection of 3D printing experts, leaders, and veterans. As someone who is most often on the outside of the technology looking in, I view the AM industry in terms of overarching trends. These are people, however, that are on the front lines of the space, actually running the equipment, designing and producing the parts or running the businesses. Otherwise, they’re guiding those users, shaping the trends themselves.
Driving 3D Printing Forward with DEI
The board is also a diverse one and even features cis white men, which is an interesting detail for a female-led organization. Wi3DP regularly stresses that, though it is led by women, it is not exclusive to them. The non-profit boasts numerous male allies and attendees to its events, which include those held by local chapters and the group’s annual TIPE event .
In a conversation with the author, Wi3DP President Kristin Mulherin highlighted the fact that diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) isn’t solely a women’s issue. These concepts actually drive the speed of innovation and advance the industry as a whole. Anyone who has worked in diverse teams will confirm this fact, as diverse experiences bring about new perspectives on a given situation and change the way a group responds to that situation altogether. That’s true whether it’s the best strategy for a business, a new application for a technology, or even just how to best cultivate a healthy and productive work culture.
While the organization expands, Wi3DP will be able to call on its Advisory Board for additional ideas and insight. At the same time, the Advisory Board itself will surely learn more about themselves, DEI, and the industry more generally. I know I will! And, in turn, 3D printing may reach new milestones that perhaps none of us might have imagined.
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