HERStory | Kathleen Garney
Meet Kathleen - General Manager, Boeing Canada Winnipeg
Kathleen Garney is the General Manager at Boeing Canada Winnipeg (BCW). Garney joined BCW in September 2020 as Operations Director and was named General Manager in November 2021. She and her team are responsible for the safe production and assembly of complex composite components manufactured in Winnipeg for Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
Garney started her Boeing career at Boeing Portland and prior to joining BCW, she led the Tubes, Ducts and Reservoir Center in Auburn, Wash. Her aerospace manufacturing career began in 2007 when she worked with commercial aircraft engines as a metallurgist.
Garney holds a Professional Engineering License in Civil Engineering from the State of California, a Bachelor of Science in Materials Engineering from California Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo and a Master of Business Administration from Oregon State University.
Q: How does your company support diversity and inclusion?
Today’s Boeing is more diverse than ever, but we still have more work to do. We’ve made consistent progress over the past few years around fostering a more diverse and inclusive environment. We‘ve increased representation of women and minorities in our executive ranks, expanded our global footprint and improved diversity in our talent pipeline. With the team in Winnipeg, we are working to ensure everyone feels like they can authentically contribute to our success every day. We do that through defining expected behaviors and ensuring access to training across all levels of the organization. We routinely reflect on equity, diversity and inclusion topics in various settings. I encourage all our leaders, formal and informal, to lead in this space and reward allies who help create equity within our teams.
Q: What gains have you seen over your career in terms of women working in the manufacturing industry? What’s changed?
Over my almost 15 years in manufacturing, I have seen many gains in terms of women working in manufacturing… and a few slides. For the gains, gender diversity, while still not 50-50, is moving in that direction. More and more women are entering manufacturing in a variety of roles. From those that perform the physical work to those that lead manufacturing teams and on to engineers who define requirements and processes – each and every function has seen growth. Women just entering manufacturing have multiple examples of other women showing them what is possible, either in their organization, their field or community. One of the slides I’ve seen is women not feeling comfortable and confident showing their full self at work. Often, we may feel compelled to emulate behaviors that are defined as masculine instead of leading from a position of strength and leveraging attributes typically defined as feminine. Having people with diverse backgrounds only gets us 25 per cent of the way to our goals. We must have inclusion where we encourage people to be different by approaching situations from a novel perspective.
Q: What advice would you have for your younger self?
If I could give my younger self more advice, I would tell myself to listen more to the quiet voice in my head that told me I could do it, that I was good enough and that I should be more confident. I would tell myself to not listen so much to the louder voice that discounted my achievements, made me feel like great wasn’t good enough and caused me to question myself and my drive. Society has many structural elements in place that can limit, slow progress for women, including in manufacturing. We need to use our time and energy to dismantle those elements rather than internally reinforcing them.
ABOUT BOEING CANADA WINNIPEG
Boeing Winnipeg is the largest aerospace composite manufacturing center in Canada, employing more than 1,000 people. The plant produces hundreds of unique composite parts and assemblies for all current Boeing 7-Series jetliners and over the past 50 years has evolved into a state-of-the-art facility. The skilled team of engineers and technicians develop new manufacturing techniques for light-weight aerospace products earning their place as a Boeing Centre of Excellence in complex composites.