Patti Gander: Speaking Up and Shaking It Up

By Amanda Starling posted 06-26-2023 02:41 PM


Growing up, I wanted to be Angie Dickinson, who helped re-define women’s roles on television with her pioneering role on the 1970s show, Police Woman. As I got older, I realized that becoming Angie wasn’t an option for me; however, because of my father, manufacturing became interesting. From a young age, I would join him on the weekends as he went to work in maintenance at a manufacturing company. So, I guess you could say I have been in manufacturing since I was four!

Many years later when I was a manufacturing manager for a company that was part of a very large corporation, a guy from corporate invited all the guys to play golf. The outing didn’t include me. That moment forced me to speak up, (which would become an important lifelong skill), and I stated that if he were going to exclude me, he would have to pick a better reason. That moment symbolized how I would come to deal with life's barriers. I decided to learn anything and everything I could to be able to have a seat at the table. This assertiveness also fostered my passion for learning and teaching. Manufacturing is still predominantly men, but the women that are in this field are making an impact and shaking up the industry. I believe that if there were more women in the industry, fewer people would see gender and would only see great and talented individuals. I encourage women to work in manufacturing because it’s a field where there is no limit for growth and opportunity –– you can do and be anything if you put in the effort.

Patti Gander served as a Business Advisor for FloridaMakes and as the co-lead of the Sterling Manufacturing Business Excellence Awards. She holds a bachelor’s in business, an MBA and a master's in management. Patti is also an instructor at the University of South Florida, teaching both undergraduate and graduate courses and an instructor at South Florida State College teaching in their technology program.