Women in automation inspiring change: Marcy Skoryk’s story
By Sukanya Ray Ghosh
In an industry that remains male-dominated, women work hard to establish themselves as leaders. Three women from the manufacturing automation sector share how their passion for this industry motivates them every day and the challenges they faced on the path to success.
This is Marcy Skoryk’s story.
Account manager for Manitoba and Saskatchewan, Sandvik Coromant
In high school, Marcy Skoryk came across a posting that said that if your science scores were good, you would get a job in the aerospace sector. Intrigued, she met with the guidance counsellor who advised her to gain some additional trade experience as well.
Marcy switched to a machining course, paving the way for her entry into the manufacturing industry.
“This career has chosen me. That was back in 1995. Now, over 20 years later, I’m glad that I had decided to join the machining course. I think having a career in manufacturing is great,” says Marcy.
As an account manager for Sandvik Coromant, Marcy currently works in a sales role. But she believes the role has a lot more to it than just sales. She helps the company’s customers find solutions for their challenges in manufacturing through products and services. This could mean, helping them improve or plan a process, finding the correct tool for their job, reducing cycle time for them and even educating their staff.
“It is about providing our customers with value-added services rather than just selling tools,” she says.
Over the years, Marcy has built a lot of great relationships in the industry with the customers. Initially, she had to go out to the customers but now, they contact her to help support them.
“That is very rewarding and it’s one of the parts of my job,” notes Marcy.
Marcy recalls that initially, she didn’t feel quite comfortable in this industry. But the more she proved herself along the way, the more confidence she gained.
“If your colleagues feel that you have a good understanding of what you’re doing, the fact that you are a woman just goes away. When faced with any kind of conflict, I’ve always tried to deal with it patiently. Coworkers respect you more if you’re able to find common ground and be able to resolve the conflict,” says Marcy.
As she gained more experience, the challenges seemed to go away. Looking back, she recalls how her dedication has helped her along the way.
“I remember an instance when my supervisor had left and I didn’t know how to program anything. I had to figure it out and learn on my own. I looked at old programs and relied on myself a lot to find the correct solution. I think that was one of the turning points in my career. It gave me more confidence,” shares Marcy.
Another proud moment for Marcy is when she became a journeyman in 2002. At that time, she was the fourth woman in Manitoba to become a journeyman machinist.
“This career has chosen me…”
At the moment, a project that Marcy is really excited about is a product called Machining Insights.
“The tool allows you to see what your cycle time is and figure out which project is the best to pinpoint to collect your machine efficiencies. When I used to work on the shop floor, I had to go from machine to machine and figure out which machine was giving the best production from that operator. It has changed so much. You can get real-time data from products now,” she explains.
Marcy shares how at the beginning of her career, she had to face bias for being a woman. During one interview, she was asked to lift the heaviest object in the shop, which would be difficult for even men to lift.
However, industry attitudes have changed over the years. When Marcy completed her apprenticeship and graduated, her employer wanted to promote her to a supervisor. However, she was pregnant at that time. So, they deferred that promotion as they saw the value she brought.
To young women who wish to build a career in manufacturing and technology, Marcy says, “You will thrive on something that keeps you intrigued. In this industry, you will be exposed to so many new and innovative products and materials that are shaping the future of manufacturing. This is a career that is ever-evolving and challenging in the best way.”