Erie Times-News, Pa.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Meet 5 incredible women from Erie, Pa. who are pursuing their entrepreneurial dreams in their own unique ways. What they do have in common is passion and persistence to achieve success.
Success doesn’t come overnight, or at least it didn’t for the five women featured here.
Instead, it has come from years of effort, after trial and error, and then more trials.
Their stories reflect the larger story of America, which has seen the percentage of women-owned businesses grow from 5 percent in 1972 to 38 percent in 2016.
We share their lessons learned as we launch into Women’s History Month.
Engineered for success
For Hannah Kirby, engineer is more than a job description. Her mindful approach to problem-solving is also a blueprint for connecting in the community, for mentoring and for having fun.
Kirby, 29, is a senior quality engineer at Lord Corp. She began her career at Lord as an intern while pursuing her MBA at Gannon University, where she had earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.
Kirby took a pragmatic approach in choosing a career. “‘What do you do when you are good at math?'” she asked herself. “I eliminated things and landed on engineering. It was a very engineer-type decision.”
Kirby likes engineering because it involves “learning how to learn, learning how to think, breaking down large problems into pieces.”
She also learned she needed mentors — a challenge in engineering, where women represent about 20 percent of college graduates but only about 14 percent of the engineering workforce, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Kirby counts herself “lucky” to work with several women engineers at Lord, and she was honored in 2009 as the first Young Athena Professional as a college student. That honor “definitely impacted my interaction with the community,” said Kirby, who grew up in rural Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. “Erie is the big city for me,” she said. “Breaking in for an outsider can be difficult.”