Saint-Gobain Women’s Network

Saint-Gobain Women’s Network

One of the things I love about working for Saint-Gobain is its commitment to diversity and inclusion.  As a result not only do we have an Early Career Network and a Diversity Council, but we also have a dedicated Women’s Network …that started in North America as Saint-Gobain’s first employee resource group”.  It’s called different things in the different countries, for example in France it’s called Women in Network, but the mission is principally the same as in North America: to promote diversity and inclusion and develop the potential of women in Saint-Gobain in a way that advances the Saint-Gobain business strategy.  I am the leader of the Ohio hub, which means I lead a team of nine individuals (both men and women) who help organize networking and development events for the people and sites in the Ohio area.  We also help with the recruitment and retention of women in Saint-Gobain although more indirectly.  It’s a huge responsibility, but it’s also a great deal of fun.

This year alone the Ohio Hub has sponsored or been involved in diverse events such as a Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Fair in Akron, had fun at an interactive Listening & Questioning training course, participated in Color Runs and Warrior Dashes and just last month held a Career Progression Event where both men and women could learn how to take charge of their careers.

Of course, events don’t just take place in Ohio.  Last week, a new hub was launched in the Pacific/Southwest area and another in the New Hampshire area.  Around 40 people gathered to celebrate the launch in San Diego, learning more about diversity and inclusion, enjoying S’mores on the beach and discovering new and exciting contacts within the business.  Earlier in June we celebrated the 350 anniversary of Saint-Gobain with around 400 members of the women’s network in Philadelphia.  Established almost 15 years ago, the network has grown from its original 5 members and now has 13 regional hubs and events happening on a regular basis.  While at first it was viewed as a knitting club, it’s now seen as a means for women to support each other in the workplace and gain vital skills.

As a woman in manufacturing it’s obviously a subject close to my heart, but what I really love about the network is how it breaks down barriers and helps people to realize that each one of us is unique; we all bring something to the table, male or female.  I’ve learned so much from being a part of the network, gained a lot of important connections and become a better thought leader as a result of the feedback, mentoring and reverse mentoring I’ve received.

We’re always welcoming new members and anyone is welcome to attend an event, member or not.  If there’s something you’d like to participate in, or that you think the network should be involved in, don’t hesitate to contact one of the Women’s Network board members.  I hope to see you at one of our next events.

Alesandra Blakeston, Innovation Program Manager

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