Finding Meaning in Manufacturing
As the co-founder and owner of marketing firm Strategy House, Bridgette Palm ’12 isn’t just innovating in her own field. She is also helping other women innovate in the manufacturing industry.
“Manufacturers are investing in marketing in a way that they have not done before. That means they’re hiring someone into a role or department that hasn’t existed, or which has existed in a different way. And it is usually a young woman who is being asked to achieve something completely new to the company without any support,” says Palm.
As marketers, Palm and co-founder Katie Felten are well aware of the complexities of their field. It’s so much more than posting on social media, sending emails and designing logos. So even though their business is just two years old, they’re already focused on how they can help others achieve their goals.
Specifically, they’ve made it their mission to provide women in manufacturing with the support they need to achieve success and grow as leaders. Through their Women in Marketing in Manufacturing (WiMiM) group, participants meet monthly to share strategy and advice.
“What we’ve learned is if a woman has the right skills — I reference Alverno’s 8 Abilities many a time — she can quickly become the chief marketing officer. She is now a leader at the company and making decisions for the company in an industry that historically has not been very diverse,” she says. “We are focusing on empowering women in manufacturing to grow into strategic leaders.”
It’s a mission that’s been informed by Palm’s own experiences at Alverno and by her career.
“My time at Alverno dramatically impacted my understanding of what it means to be a woman in the workforce and how much work there is to be done to achieve equity,” she says.
Palm never planned on a career that touched manufacturing. But when Strategy House started taking manufacturers on as their clients, Palm and her team quickly noticed the impact they could have.
“Manufacturing has always been an important part of our backbone as a nation. The people we work with are incredibly smart people, but as engineers, marketing isn’t their area of expertise, and that’s okay,” she says. “We genuinely make a difference in the companies that we work with. That’s what makes this meaningful to me.”
Not only is Palm sharing her expertise to lift up other professional women, but she’s also extending opportunities to college students. This summer, Strategy House hosted an intern from Alverno. Media Design major and aspiring film director Kim Otzelberger quickly bonded with Palm and Felten, calling them her “marketing moms.” She says they gave her space to learn and grow as she produced marketing videos and photographed the team for a round of new headshots. She also made valuable connections outside of Strategy House, connections that Palm and Felten have made it their mission to facilitate.
“This internship was a great networking opportunity,” says Otzelberger, who will continue helping Strategy House with projects that arise during the coming year. “They’re going to take the time to introduce me to people who could help me take the next step in my career.”
Photograph by Kim Otzelberger.
This article originally appeared in the fall 2018 issue of Alverno Magazine.