Margaret Graham, STEP Ahead Winner 2021, Whirlpool Corporation

The Manufacturing Institute (MI)—the workforce development and education partner of the National Association of Manufacturers—announced it will recognize Margaret Graham of Whirlpool Corporation’s Findlay, Ohio plant with a STEP Ahead Award in the Emerging Leader category. 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.

“Margaret Graham is a gifted leader who engages all those she comes into contact with,” said Kristin Day, Whirlpool Corporation’s Findlay plant lead. “Colleagues, from senior leaders to shop floor team members, lean on her problem-solving skills, her integrity, dedication, and passionate commitment to the company and to the community.”

The STEP Women’s Initiative is the nation’s marquee program to close the gender gap in manufacturing. STEP works to foster a 21st-century manufacturing workforce by empowering and inspiring women in the manufacturing industry through recognition, research and leadership, as well as by motivating alumni to pay it forward by mentoring the next generation.

“It’s such an honor to be recognized with this prestigious award,” said Graham. “I never would have thought I’d be receiving this honor back when I first joined Whirlpool Corporation as an intern in the Manufacturing Leadership Development Program (MLDP) five years ago. I’m proud of my accomplishments in my short time here, as well as the career in manufacturing that I’m building. I can’t wait to see where my career takes me next.”

The STEP Ahead Awards honor exceptional women in manufacturing and motivate them to mentor the next generation through an annual awards gala and alumnae programs. The stories of these women and the leadership they show will help inspire next-generation female leaders in manufacturing and support female talent already within the industry. In the program’s first five years, STEP Ahead Award winners impacted more than 300,000 individuals—from peers in the industry to school-age children. On Nov. 4, the MI will recognize 130 recipients of the STEP Ahead Awards at a gala in Washington, D.C.