Reach Back and Pull Other Women Forward

Women Helping Women in Manufacturing
Today’s Episode
Barbara Trautlein
Host, Barbara Trautlein

Wednesday, September 5th at 1 PM ET - Despite being rejected during the hiring process and being told that “you’re taking a job away from a man,” these two Women of Steel refused to be told “no” and persevered on to succeed for over two decades in the demanding world of steel.  Their leadership in the union and the company has made a meaningful difference for the 500+ team members they support – and resulted in inspiring and profitable careers for themselves. Join host Barbara Trautlein as she interviews Kim Rutkowski and Libbi Urban as they share their unique perspectives about their unique roles in a very unique work environment: a self-managed team-based work culture in a steel mill that is a US-Japanese joint venture and represented by the USW.  Kim and Libbi have worked on the front lines as an operator and an electrician galvanizing steel, and served as union leaders in contract negotiations and training roles galvanizing the people into action. They share with us real-world, relevant, and actionable insights into how women can make it themselves as well as “reach back and pull other women forward.”

Today’s Guests
Libbi Urban
Guest Libbi Urban

Libbi Urban holds a Bachelor of Science in Electronics Technology from Indiana State University, 1989.  She has been working in the manufacturing industry for 30 years, starting in 1988 with a Co-op program at Bendix Wheels and Brakes (Allied Signal) in their Aircraft Brake and Strut Division testing laboratory.  Libbi started working for I/N Kote in 1992 as a maintenance electrician. She became more involved with the USW 12 years ago when she was elected to office. Since then, she’s been personally involved with two contract negotiations and is preparing for her third.  Libbi is the Chairwoman for USW Local 9231 Women of Steel Committee. Libbi has been married for 20 years and has 2 step-children and 2 adorable grandsons.

Kim Rutkowski
Guest Kim Rutkowski

Kim Rutkowski graduated from St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame in 1977 with a BA in Psychology.  She worked as a social worker for many years, and joined the I/N Companies in 1996. She now holds the position of Training Coordinator, which enables her to interact with both union and management and virtually all the mill’s 500+ employees on a daily basis.  Kim also serves as the Recording Secretary for USW Local 9231 and is the Co-Chair of the Women of Steel Committee. She is married and has a daughter, who recently gave birth to Kim’s second adorable granddaughter.