Women In Steel Conference

Event Sponsors

Schedule of Events

17–19 September 2023 • The Westin Pittsburgh Hotel • Pittsburgh, Pa., USA

Sunday, 17 September 2023

5–6:30 p.m.

Welcome Reception and Registration

Monday, 18 September 2023

8–9 a.m.

Breakfast and Registration

9–9:30 a.m.


9:30– 10:30 a.m.

Industry Keynote

10:30–11 a.m.  

Networking Break

11 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

If You Build It, She Will Come
Moderator/Co-Chair: Mindy Toth, Vice President of Human Resources, Fives North American Combustion Inc.
Co-Chair: Staci Beiswanger, Employee Development Manager, Steel Dynamics Inc.

Like many manufacturing industries, the steel industry suffers from a considerable gender gap in its workforce. Many believe to bridge this gap; companies must focus their efforts strictly on recruiting more women. However, retention and senior leadership play just as crucial of a role in correcting this disparity. True transformations take shape when addressed from the top-down perspective. Companies that recognize and take steps to support the need for change in terms of gender diversity are on a positive trajectory for making the steel industry more attractive to future female leaders. This panel will assess the importance of company culture in the steel industry and how to create an environment where women want to pursue a career. Panelists will also highlight strategies to combat unconscious bias, tackle personal and professional boundaries, and the significance of emphasizing female successes.

Confirmed Panelists:
Jennifer Durbin, Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, Commercial Metals Company
• Amy Fisher, Material Handling Manager, Nucor Steel Tuscaloosa
• Michelle Zwelling, Sr. Director, Acquisition and Talent, Cleveland-Cliffs Inc.

12:30–1:30 p.m.


1:30–3 p.m.

Pay Attention to the “Group in the Middle”
Co-Moderator: Julie Lord, President, FRC Global Inc.
Co-Moderator: April Pitts-Baggett, Senior Quality Engineer, Nucor Business Technology

“Work-life balance” is not a new term but is one that weighs heavily on many women’s decisions to join and stay with an organization. Women are less likely to leave companies that recognize and support the challenges that women face as the complexity of their lives change. While work-life balance is an important factor in a female’s decision to join or stay with a company, it is not the only factor. Career progression and opportunities for challenging and interesting assignments are also considerable components. This group of panelists will discuss the needs of the future female workforce, successful communication styles with senior staff, and tactics for building respect, being heard, and forging ahead.

Confirmed Panelists:
• Valoree Varick, Transportation Manager, Aluminum Dynamics LLC
• Nicki Taylor, Vice President and General Manager, Nucor Tubular Products
• Summer Knight Ready, Sr. Product Manager Fluxes, Vesuvius USA

3–3:30 p.m.

Networking Break

3:30–5 p.m.

Stand on the Shoulders of Giants
Moderator: Kelly Dallas, Director, Engineering – Flat Rolled, Cleveland-Cliffs Inc.
Sir Isaac Newton once said, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” This phrase is one that many can relate to as we continue to learn from those who have achieved success before us. These trailblazing women have made strides in developing and promoting the steel industry to show that a rewarding career with opportunity for growth is attainable and invaluable. This panel of female leaders will provide insight on career evolution, coaching/mentoring young women and the importance of female representation in leadership roles.   

Confirmed Panelists:
• Tracy Forrester, Executive Vice President, environmental & sustainability, Cleveland-Cliffs Inc.
Vicki Anderson, Chief Executive Officer, Stevens Engineers & Constructors
• Theresa Wagler, Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, Steel Dynamics Inc.

5–5:30 p.m.       

Women in Steel, Women of Steel Book & Future Projects
 Karin J. Lund, Chief Executive Officer & Founder, G-Power Global Enterprises LLC

5:30–6:30 p.m.


Tuesday, 19 September 2023

8–9 a.m.


9–11 a.m.

Leadership Skills Training 

11–11:30 a.m.

Networking Break

11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

The "Shrink It and Pink It" Evolution
Ana Kraft, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Xena Workwear
Ana will share her journey of launching a steel toe shoe company based on her own frustrations. Working as a project engineer in manufacturing, Ana grew tired of wearing bulky ‘shrink it and pink it’ work boots that were designed for men. She decided to launch Xena Workwear to make better safety footwear that helps women feel safe AND comfortable in any work environment. Ana will talk about the importance of women's PPE, share multiple lessons learned along the way and help inspire attendees to turn frustration into motivation. Founded in 2019, Xena has a mission of empowering women in STEM and the Trades to step into any role with confidence.

*Schedule is subject to change and will be updated as additional details are confirmed.