Greenbrier is proud of the diverse workforce that fuels our success on a daily basis. During the month of March, we join millions around the world in recognition of Women’s History. The theme for this Women’s History Month is “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories.”
We are pleased to share stories by women across Greenbrier’s global manufacturing operations. They share their experiences, successes and challenges they have faced during their careers. We are thankful for the hard work they do every day.
Agnieszka Mróz – Foreman In-House Transport, Greenbrier Wagony Świdnica (Poland)
I have worked at Greenbrier for fifteen years. When first starting with the company, I was the only female welder on the production floor. The job was difficult as it required much physical effort. However, I performed it with commitment and dedication for six years. After that, I worked as a production planner, obtaining knowledge around production processes and the planning of material requirements for specific products. Now, I work on the wagon assembly line. This position motivated me to invest in my individual personal development. I have taken courses and studies in logistics and human resources management. I want and need to do this job better, and I need more knowledge to achieve it. I oversee a team for the in-house transport processes in our company. Work gives me a lot of satisfaction despite the daily challenges, doing my best to solve them effectively to continue our production. For me, success is an opportunity to develop myself (studies, courses, functions performed). It’s the ability to combine my personal life with my professional life, achieving a balance between the two. Success for me is also the job I perform at Wagony Świdnica. One challenge I had to face as a welder was hard physical work, which is usually done by men. Despite the difficulties, I had a lot of satisfaction. It turned out that a female welder can work just as well as a man in this position. As a production planner, I had direct contact with people and felt that their performance depended on the quality of my performance. I had to demonstrate organizational and planning skills in order for us to cooperate and ensure the continuity of production continuity. I diligently learned planning and organizational skills in this position. As an in-house transport foreman, I dealt with production issues and staff management. Relationships between people (me and my subordinates, direct reports, the subordinate employees among themselves), timeliness, quality and time management are important. I strive for a certain balance between the satisfaction of the employee and employer satisfaction, linking the management of processes and people with the regulations and procedures in force. In summary, the attitude of many women working in production, including mine, can be humorously described using the saying of a famous female character in a Polish movie who had a different job in each episode and used to say: “I am a working woman; I am not afraid of any job,” except that we treat our jobs very seriously and we do not change them as often.
Linda Scherer-Davis – Sr. Customer Service Rep, Greenbrier Rail Services (Chicago Heights)
Career success is a combination of achieving a reasonable level of financial stability, while doing work you enjoy. It’s about finding what makes you happy and fulfills your life and career choices! I take pride in the work I do and have learned so much over my tenure with GRS. I have developed good and professional relationships with all of our customers, along with my team, both in Chicago Heights, IL and companywide. My team holds me in high regard, and I personally respect every one of them and the knowledge they have shared with me over the years that has added to the success I have achieved. My experience as a woman in manufacturing with Greenbrier Rail Services has been positive, and I find that GRS does not discriminate on any level. We are lucky and blessed to currently have a woman at the executive level, leading GRS. It has been a pleasure seeing how many women have advanced in our corporation just as equally as the men here! In manufacturing positions I had in the past, there was a distinct difference between the salaries and positions available to women versus the positions available to men at those companies. It was discouraging to me because I felt that I contributed just as much to the company as the men did. I felt I was compensated differently and was not able to move up to a better position due to their inhibiting the women to advance.
Karla Lujan – Greenbrier GIMSA (Mexico)
To be successful is to feel full and satisfied with my work. I have been able to achieve this by effectively identifying unsafe conditions and providing guidance for how to achieve a safe work environment. Despite challenges, I have been given the opportunity to take on great challenges, learning and growing from my experiences every day. It has undoubtedly been a great challenge to fight against paradigms or stereotypes, such as believing that certain jobs are exclusive to male. However, there have been more and more women involved in field activities, demonstrating that we, as women, have the capacity and efficiency to perform our work just as effectively as the men.
Luma Thais de Araújo – Painter, Greenbrier Maxion (Brazil)
For me, success is achieving one’s dreams and overcoming challenges. For me, as a woman, it has been an incredible experience to work in manufacturing. At Greenbrier, I can learn and dedicate myself to my profession more and more every day. My biggest challenge is adapting to places where most employees are men. Women need to make their own space within the factory.
Shelley Vickers – Prep Person, Greenbrier Paragould
I have been a member of the Greenbrier team for nine years in our Paint Department. Greenbrier has given me the chance to grow and move forward within the company. You get back what you put into it! We know we can move forward within the company with a role model like Lori Tekorius leading the company as CEO. For me, the rail industry has helped keep the country stable, providing growth and opportunity in the work force. I am proud to be a woman working for The Greenbrier Companies.
Dorota Włodarska – Overhead Crane Operator, Greenbrier Wagony Świdnica (Poland)
This year, I am celebrating my 30th work anniversary as an overhead crane operator. My skills and efficient execution of my work have made a difference to the high-quality production of the wagons and safety of my colleagues. I often rely on my years of experience in manufacturing to get the job done efficiently and safely. I find it very important to have good relationships with my colleagues to do the job well and get satisfaction from it. This is how I describe my perception of success in this job.
María de Lourdes González – Greenbrier Sahagun (Mexico)
Success as a woman at Greenbrier is important. I feel that the company does not discriminate. Despite my age, Greenbrier gave me the opportunity to work as a welder, proving to be equitable and fair. My experience at Greenbrier has been great, having learned how to be a welder, even though my work can be complicated. Facing difficult situations and overcoming barriers at work, then going home to face different challenges. We are equal men and women and we can also raise a family.
Axenia-Asmona Simion – Greenbrier AstraRail (Romania)
Success looks like being part of a good team, which is formed by honest and skilled people. We move on by working in unity. As a woman in manufacturing, it was difficult in the beginning. Now, I like what I do, and it is a job I enjoy. A challenge for me is that I work in a facility where most of the employees are men; however, we find that we can work together to achieve good results and have a great team if we respect each other.
Yessica Moreno – Greenbrier GIMSA (Mexico)
Success is doing work I enjoy, achieving the goals proposed to me, as well as working with effort, commitment and willingness to continue learning new things. My experience has been rewarding, facing challenges daily and being able to solve them alongside my team. My work allows me to continue developing professionally, constantly expanding on my perspectives. Having the confidence to face challenges, along with the support of my colleagues and supervisors, I have been able to obtain roles within a male-dominated role. I am grateful for the support of my team in achieving these roles and goals.
Glenda Toledo – Greenbrier Rail Services
I am currently a non-welder in Omaha, working towards becoming a welder. I challenge myself daily in learning as much as possible. I have the respect of my coworkers and am a valuable part of the Omaha Team. It has been a great and interesting job opportunity working at Greenbrier, where I learn something different every day. It’s been a challenge for me because there are so many different tools and in the past, I thought that this job was only for men, but I now know that women can do it too. Right now, my goal is to learn as much as I can and be successful in this job.
Beata Pląder – Overhead Crane Operator, Greenbrier Wagony Świdnica (Poland)
In my long-standing work as a crane operator, I have noticed that teamwork is the most important. Good interpersonal relations help to achieve goals. An overhead crane operator must be highly skilled in the position, however, there is no guarantee of success without good cooperation from other overhead crane operators, as well as production floor workers. Only a very responsible person can do my job, and responsibility is my most important trait.
Gracie Shockley – Greenbrier Marmaduke
Career success to me is doing something that makes you happy, not just settling on “oh it’s just a job, it pays the bills!” It has made me stronger. It has taught me that I can do anything if I put in the effort and dedication. One challenge that I have had to face, and that most women face, is proving myself in a male-dominated world. Being told things like “are you strong enough?” or “Are you sure you got it?” and even “Can you handle that?” Those are some of the things said to women. Women have more to offer other than their looks.
Malwina Zając – Deputy Branch Director, Technical and Maintenance Director, Greenbrier Wagony Świdnica (Poland) / Branch in Oława
I have always been interested in technology and manufacturing. I studied at the Mechanical Faculty of the Technical University. I have worked as a technologist, the manager of the design and engineering department and for the last two years, the Technical and Plant Maintenance Director at the company. I find motivation in challenging and complicated issues and projects. Success is being able to face challenges and issues and solve them effectively. Despite my environment at work still being predominantly male, I have proven that women can perform production work as professionally and successfully as men. I enjoy my work and am fascinated by engineering, production management and machine construction and maintenance.
Mariana Cerda – Greenbrier GIMSA (Mexico)
I identify professional success as loving what you do. It’s waking up every day with a new goal in mind to improve work systems and processes. I achieve success through constant discipline and perseverance, accepting the challenges that come my way and drive me to be a better professional. My experience as a woman in manufacturing has been fighting against stereotypes. For example, the perception that women lack the skills to be successful in areas such as engineering. Women put in twice as much effort to demonstrate that we can achieve, not the same, but better results of efficient work in operational areas. One challenge that still presents itself today is women portrayed as unfit for engineering positions. However, women in engineering have proven to have the strength and intelligence to achieve goals, just as their male counterparts.
Caitlynn Haggenmacher – QC Visual Inspector, Greenbrier Marmaduke
Career success to me is going home every day feeling accomplished in what I’ve done and feeling proud of what I’ve accomplished. I worked in production for a few years and wanted to move up and learn more. I got the QA position I wanted and I’m learning more than ever! Overall, being a woman in the workplace has not been a bad experience. For a while, I felt I had to prove that I am just as capable as a man, but I don’t really see if that way anymore. Everyone here has their limits no matter who you are, but everyone is willing to help in whatever way they can. Some challenges I’ve had as a female are my own limits. I’m not very strong or tall, but I have been able to adjust, building things to help me or finding new strategies to make tasks easier and safer. I also didn’t like asking for help because I wanted to prove myself. Working in manufacturing really helped me get out of that mindset, learning that I can ask for help without being looked down on. It’s helped me overcome a mental barrier in my own mind.
Ingrid Chagas Franco – Assembler Welder, Greenbrier Maxion (Brazil)
Success is pushing myself to reach limits I didn’t think I could achieve, overcoming obstacles and facing each barrier with excellence and perfection. Being a woman in manufacturing is a daring experience. The unusual environment transformed me into a great woman of steel, facing new challenges in everyday life. One of the biggest challenges I have had to overcome is proving to society that women are capable of exercising a function and fulfilling it with dedication.
Marlén Sánchez – Greenbrier Sahagun (Mexico)
Career success is to pave the way for more women to become welders at Greenbrier. I have worked at the Sahagun Mexico facility for twelve years. Through perseverance, responsibility, and working on the Safety and Quality team, I am successful. Greenbrier Sahagún has guided and directed me, teaching me that I can do things I never imagined such as welding, arming, managing, coordinating and transforming. As a woman, it is not easy to face a world that favored men, but I have proven through hard work and constant discipline that I deserve my place at Greenbrier Sahagún.
Melissa Partridge – Greenbrier Marmaduke
Career success to me is finding a job to go to every day and not feeling miserable. I feel like I have achieved career success today because I have found a job I love, and I can be myself at. My experience in manufacturing as a young woman, I notice that I am not given the same opportunity as others. One challenge I face as a woman in manufacturing is being overlooked or dismissed. For example, if a man is standing next to me and someone asks a question, they will never ask me the question. They will ask the man instead. When something breaks and someone tries to fix it, I can tell them that that’s not how to fix it, and they proceed to try it anyway. When it doesn’t work, they call someone else and the person on the phone tells them the same thing as I told them.
Cristina Sima – Greenbrier AstraRail (Romania)
My career spans over a period of 36 years, starting in 1986 when I joined AstraRail. I started as an engineer in the Welding Department, then moved on to become an engineer specializing in Physical-Chemical/Metallography Laboratory tests. From 2002 to now, I have worked as the Head of Service in the Quality Department. During my 36 years in wagon manufacturing, I’ve had several roles and learned a variety of skills. I can say that, during these years, I’ve evolved from a simple engineer who had to solve the tasks given to me to leading a team of fifty-four employees. As a woman, I have had to manage the relationship with my colleagues to achieve the best results. I have overcome challenges such as tight deadlines and working under pressure.
Ruth Lawrence – Corbitt Manufacturing Co., A Greenbrier Company
To me success means having a job and career where you are happy and feel stable at work. I’ve achieved my success by being able to provide for my family. Even though I haven’t been in manufacturing long, the experience has been pretty good. Challenges that I face as a woman in manufacturing are the heaviness of our parts in the shop, and men thinking women are not able to do something they can.
Ruth Nayeli Martínez – Greenbrier Sahagun (Mexico)
I describe success as learning something new at work every day. It’s being able to team up with colleagues and lead every day with the conviction of wanting to do better than the previous day. I have achieved success at Greenbrier Sahagún by creating a balance between my personal life and my work life. Knowing and learning technical terms that not many women know has been a challenge. However, I have learned what it’s like to work with heavy machinery and work mostly with men. Its hard work being a woman in manufacturing, but I feel that Greenbrier has cared for me and made me feel like a valued member of the team.
Yolanda Jackson – Greenbrier Marmaduke
To me, being successful means my entire team winning, not just me. We have come a long way, but there is still room for improvement. Coming into manufacturing, I knew this was a male-dominated facility and that I would have to work harder to prove that I can do the job. When I got here, my male counterparts made it easy to fit right in. It seems women work harder to prove themselves. Over the years, I’ve seen more women elevate to upper management and I look forward to seeing that continue.
Gabriela Cheșa – Greenbrier AstraRail (Romania)
I achieve success in my career by working with a good team of people who cooperate and help each other. I started working in manufacturing with little to no experience. In time, with perseverance and dedication, everything gets easier and faster to do. It was challenging for me to work after I became a mother, but I was able to find a different work rhythm that allowed me to work and take care of my family.
Lori Allen – Greenbrier Marmaduke
Career success to me looks like finding financial stability and enjoying what you do. I have done both. My experience as a woman in manufacturing has been a challenge, but also rewarding.
Mariela Lara – Greenbrier Tlaxcala (Mexico)
Success is achieving each one of my goals and purposes in life, as well as giving the best to my daughters. I have achieved this every day by giving and doing my best. My experience as a woman in manufacturing has been very nice, having done many new things that I enjoy a lot. I feel that every day I learn something new, and I know that I will be able to put it into practice in the future to achieve greater professional growth. I have lived with several people of various ages, and I have learned something new from each of them.
Larissa Santana Martins – Assembler Welder, Greenbrier Maxion (Brazil)
Success is a focused woman, who creates, transforms and exceeds limits every day, with love, grace, strength and delicacy. It’s an incredible experience. I’m satisfied to be able to perform different functions and share experiences and knowledge with others in an industry full of opportunity. It is the challenge to be accepted and to overcome the standards imposed by society, “a welder woman? How can it be possible?” But during the learning process, I was able to build not only a positive work environment, but an extraordinary coexistence with excellent professionals in GBMX.
Heather West – Corbitt Manufacturing Co., A Greenbrier Company
I identify success as learning new challenges, setting machines up, and learning how to program them. As a woman in manufacturing, I have found that my team has become a family. One challenge I have overcome is learning how to operate new machines.
Monica Stanca – Greenbrier AstraRail (Romania)
I’ve earned success by gaining experience through connecting with my colleagues. I’ve been with this company for 35 years. I’ve found my place here, where I feel respected by my colleagues. Sometimes I had to work longer hours to finish everything I had to do.
Rosario López Romero – Greenbrier Tlaxcala (Mexico)
I achieve success due to the values I hold as a woman, knowing that it is more complicated for women to achieve success. My experience in manufacturing has been the best experience, because few women manage to be where we are. Despite its challenges, I work towards surpassing my colleagues at work, because being woman it is very difficult for us to earn a place and keep it.
Cheyenne Stewart – Machine Operator A, Greenbrier Rail Services
A successful career is achieving financial stability, developing strong personal and professional relationships, and having flexibility to successfully integrate work and life. Success is working in an environment that allows one to maintain authenticity and integrity. I’ve achieved my success today because I work hard and have an amazing team. My experience in manufacturing has been amazing. I’ve been given many opportunities and I get to work with amazing people who always have my back and vice versa. It’s a daily challenge working as a woman in manufacturing, physically, mentally and emotionally. One of the biggest challenges I’ve overcome is not letting my emotions get in the way of my job. There’s no point in getting upset when it will always work itself out.
Kelly Pérez – Greenbrier Tlaxcala (Mexico)
I achieve success by studying and working every day, striving to be prepared. It has been a challenge as a woman in manufacturing, because as women we must try a little harder to stand out and be on par with our colleagues. It is necessary to show that we can achieve what we propose, we always can. I think the most significant challenge is not allowing others to underestimate me despite being a woman. Proving to others that I am just as capable as everyone else. On the line, the challenge has been to gain the respect and companionship of the kids. Helping them understand that the goal can always be achieved and that we are all equal.
Melanie Miles – Greenbrier Rail Services
My success comes from working behind the scenes and lies in the hard work of my colleagues and team members. They are the real heroes that deserve the appreciation. I believe my passion and dedication to Quality is a big part of my success. As a leader in Quality, I have always been focused and committed to excellence. I have always believed and practiced the saying, “do it right or don’t do it at all.” My experience as a woman in manufacturing has been very positive. I have never been treated negatively. I am very lucky that I am where I am now because of the many peers and mentors I have had over the years. They have provided me with valuable knowledge and guidance though the years. My hope is that I can pay it forward to my team. Being one of the first women on the floor was challenging because I had to prove myself. I had to show I could pull my weight especially at the start of my career. I never really saw this as a challenge, but more of an opportunity. I thrive on being underestimated, then proving them wrong. There are so many exciting things happening in Quality, and I am very happy to be a part of that manufacturing progress.
Rosa Huff – Plant Manager, Greenbrier Rail Services
Career success to me is being able to go to work every day with a sense of fulfillment, knowing I’ve made an impact. It’s being able to make a change with the willingness to go back every day regardless of the challenges. Career success is giving my team a sense of inspiration, motivation and hope. I achieve success by always giving 110% effort, pushing forward, and being a leader by example. One of the biggest challenges of my career has been proving that I am worthy of the responsibility I’ve been given. Not just proving I am worthy to others, but to myself as well. Another challenge I face is being taken seriously, while also building trust between my team and me. Something I always say to my team is: “It takes all of us and we need to stick together.” This helps connect us, bringing us closer together as a team to get the job done.
Rebecca Smith – Greenbrier Rail Services
Career success is making a good living. Don’t want for anything. A loving family, good health, and a good work family. It was a man’s field of work. Now, more women are being recognized for their skills in manufacturing. One challenge I have had to face is people thinking women don’t belong in a man’s work world, or at their pay level.
Molly Herren – Greenbrier Rail Services
Career success is doing whatever you set your mind to do. My experience as a woman in manufacturing has been amazing. I overcame everything I could by working hard to achieve what I needed to do in the world of men. A challenge I have faced is discrimination from men who thought a woman’s place was in the home. A woman can do anything they need to do for their family.