Ashley Furniture’s Baker & Molling Wins STEP Ahead Award


ARCADIA, Wisconsin – The Manufacturing Institute has announced that it will honor Betty Baker and Megan Molling of Ashley Furniture Industries with the STEP Ahead Award. The STEP Ahead Award recognizes women who have demonstrated excellence and leadership during their careers and represent all levels of the manufacturing industry, from factory to general management.

The Manufacturing Institute (MI) is the Workforce Development and Education Partner of the National Association of Manufacturers.

Betty baker

“It is an honor for me to be nominated by Ashley Furniture and chosen as the winner for the 2021 STEP Ahead Awards,” said Betty Baker, Domestic Casegoods Product Engineer, Ashley Furniture Industries. “I look forward to meeting each of these amazing women at the Gala in Washington DC to hear each of their stories and the impact they have had and continue to have in the fields of manufacturing. “

“Ashley Furniture has many smart and talented women who are helping us achieve our vision to be the best furniture company. We could not be more proud to have two of our own honored with this prestigious award, ”said Todd Wanek, President and CEO, Ashley Furniture Industries. “Betty and Megan show exceptional hard work and commitment as leaders in their work and in their communities every day. This recognition is well deserved!

Megan Molling
Megan Molling

“I am extremely touched to receive the Step Ahead award. Throughout my tenure at Ashley, I had the opportunity to learn and grow with so many amazing leaders and team members – many of whom were women. I am extremely proud to be the recipient of the Step Ahead Award and to be part of an organization that celebrates and empowers women in manufacturing! Said Megan Molling, Global Sourcing Optimization Manager, Ashley Furniture Industries.

“Women in manufacturing have proven themselves time and time again after the start of the pandemic, leading our industry in innovation and progress. We will honor these manufacturing leaders with the STEP Ahead Awards, enhancing their success and providing them with a platform to inspire the next generation of female manufacturing leaders, ”said Carolyn Lee, Executive Director of MI. “The skills gap has persisted throughout the pandemic, but our STEP Ahead winners will help us fight it – they will play a crucial role in attracting more talented and motivated women into manufacturing. We are confident that these award winners will serve as living proof that women can dare to dream of a fulfilling and rewarding career in the industry.

The STEP Women’s Initiative is a national program designed to close the gender gap in the manufacturing sector. According to the organization, STEP strives to foster a 21st century manufacturing workforce by empowering and inspiring women in manufacturing through recognition, research and leadership, as well as by motivating old women to remunerate it by supervising the next generation. The STEP Ahead Awards recognize outstanding women in manufacturing and motivate them to mentor the next generation through an annual awards gala and alumni programs.

The recognition ceremony for the 130 recipients will take place on November 4 in Washington, DC. The STEP Ahead Awards program will highlight each recipient’s story, including their leadership and achievements in the manufacturing sector.

Ashley Furniture is currently ranked # 1 on the FDMC 300, which tracks North America’s largest manufacturers of wood products and ranks them by sales. Founded in 1945 and headquartered in Arcadia, Wisconsin, the company has 15 manufacturing and distribution facilities around the world, covering more than 13 million square feet.

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