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Why Not You? Raising Women Into Industry Trailblazers

This week on The WAM Podcast, host, Linda Rigano gets to chat with an amazing trailblazer, Allison Grealis.

Allison is on a mission to create worldwide awareness for women in all areas of manufacturing.  Allison’s background is fully rooted in service and manufacturing. Growing up in Akron, Ohio, Allison’s father had a successful career at Goodyear Rubber and Tire, while her mother, a stay-at-home mom, was always active as a community volunteer. Early on, Allison’s legal career path changed course after being recruited by an association. 

Allison’s mother, a feminist and fearless woman, gave Allison her favorite advice: “Always approach life with the view of, 'Why not you?'— especially when it came to taking risks.”

Allison was raised to embrace failures as long as you learn from your mistakes. Growing up around manufacturing, she saw how challenging it was for women to get into the right roles and advance.  She wanted to be part of the solution and took a chance by founding Women in Manufacturing (WiM), the only national trade association dedicated to providing support for women within the industry.

Under Allison’s leadership, WiM has grown to 3,000 members representing over 1,000 manufacturing companies across the country. The group offers an amazing array of educational opportunities for members.

In this episode, we meet Allison and hear her personal journey, as well as how WiM addresses critical needs for women in a male-dominated industry. We also hear her view on women in leadership; and why training and education, strong peer communities, and encouraging failure are key to building motivated, confident female leaders today.

Allison also shares the exciting work that WiM is doing to build a community of female professionals who are supported, celebrated, and inspired to move to the next level in their careers.

“I’ve always been interested in women leaders, women empowerment, and women having a voice in the community.”—Allison Grealis

Allison Grealis Women In Manufacturing

Guest, Allison Grealis

Allison Grealis is the founder and president of the Women in Manufacturing® Association (WiM), a national trade association focused on supporting, promoting and inspiring women in the manufacturing sector. She is also the vice president of association services of the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA), a full-service trade association representing the metalforming industry.

Since joining PMA in 2001, Grealis has held a variety of positions that included district, committee and division management; affinity partner relations; sponsorship sales; new product and service development; and member services.

She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English with a certificate in Women’s Studies from Ohio University and a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Akron.

Grealis serves as a member of the Community Advisory Board and Outreach Committee of the Flora Stone Mather Center for Women of Case Western Reserve University. She also is a member of the Saint Joseph Academy Engineering and Design Honors Program Advisory Board. She previously served as a board member for the Greater Cleveland Society of Association Executives and Our Lady of the Elms High School.

Grealis was recognized as one of the 2018 Crain’s Cleveland Business’ Women of Note. Honorees are celebrated for their outstanding leadership in the community.


Like & follow Allison Grealis on Twitter and Instagram @allisongrealis and the Women in Manufacturing® Association (WiM) on Facebook and Twitter @WomeninMfg

"The biggest challenge we see for women in manufacturing, and women in the workplace in general, is a lack of community."—Allison Grealis

WAM Host Linda Rigano

Host, Linda Rigano 

Linda Rigano is the Principal Consultant of The Rigano Group. Her expertise and enthusiasm for strategic and effective communication permeate all that she does as a consultant to B2B and B2C technology, manufacturing, supply chain, and publishing organizations to improve business performance and stakeholder relationships by building highly successful and measurable communications programs.

With over 20 years of industry experience, Linda has excelled in helping organizations advance the discussion of important industry issues. She was central to the development and promotion of ThomasNet’s annual Industry Market Barometer® (IMB) survey on the state of manufacturing, the ThomasNet/ISM “30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Stars” Recognition Program, and ThomasNet’s North American Scholarship Program. Linda also served as Director of Strategic Alliances for ThomasNet, and for many years was the Publisher of the Thomas Food Industry Register.

Throughout her career, Linda has been an active participant and presenter for manufacturing, supply management, and business associations. She is widely quoted in business and trade media, including Bloomberg BusinessweekNightly Business Report, and Industry Today. Linda holds an MBA in marketing from Fordham University.


Connect with Linda Rigano on LinkedIn.