The 80s are remembered for many great creative contributions, mainly Thriller. But you might also remember a little movie that made a big splash – Flashdance. The out of the ordinary story of a female welder at a steel mill resonated with audiences in a big way and made an indelible mark on our cultural landscape. With that in mind, and the celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, we couldn’t help but wonder… what inspired our own fearless leader, Kim Frankel, to step into a career that paved the way to her position as CEO of ABACORP?
How did you get started working in a machine shop?
I have spent 30 years working in manufacturing. I worked for many different companies, not really machine shops but different types of manufacturing companies. I was basically snatched out of the mortgage industry at 21 after considering joining LAPD.
What did you find most appealing about the business?
I realized from a young age I had the gifts of determination, perseverance, and self-motivation. I love a great challenge and moving at a fast pace. OK, I get bored easy. I grew up hanging around Saugus Speedway. Racing is a very hands-on, creative and a hard-working environment. I loved racing and NASCAR from a young age.
What were some of the challenges you faced as a female in this industry?
The only challenge I had to face was to develop a thick skin. Words can be harmful, but with my determined spirit and strong desire to succeed, I always chose to keep moving forward and not let anyone hold me back.
How did you overcome these challenges?
The key to my success is consistently learning and growing. If you’re not growing then you’re dying. I worked hard and was constantly increasing my knowledge in manufacturing and leadership.
What is the most gratifying part of your job?
The most gratifying part of my job has been the opportunity to have so many men and women enter though my doors, giving them the opportunity to work somewhere where they are valued, appreciated and able to support their families. The extra bonus is the privilege to work with my children and wonderful husband.
What advice would you give to women aspiring to have careers in a male-dominated industries?
The best advice I can give any woman pursuing a career in a male-dominated industry is to know your worth understand your value. Build your confidence and knowledge so that you are superior in what you represent.
Last question – can you dance? 😉
Yes! I can and do love to dance.