Every March, we celebrate National Women’s History Month, taking time to reflect on many amazing women who impacted our world and culture. At ABACORP, CEO Kim Frankel is a strong, inclusive leader, paving the way daily and encouraging more women to follow in her footsteps in a male-dominant industry.
ABACORP recently welcomed Maya Williams to their team. A valley girl, born and raised, she has been both creative and community-minded since childhood. She and her cousins spent time creating stories and putting on shows for people, complete with costumes and choreography. She was also a devoted Girl Scout from the age of six, which fed her desire to get involved in the community and help people.
Both of these passions came together as Maya attended NYU Shanghai, where she was able to study on their different campuses around the world. She spent three years in Shanghai, as well as a semester in Washington D.C., and in Accra,Ghana, while majoring in Sociology and minoring Interactive Media Arts. Maya became very interested in how Interactive Media Arts brings together art and technology, which is what led her to manufacturing and machining.
Last April, while in China for a month-long design program with the School of Machines, Making and Make Believe focused on speculative design, students were challenged to present a narrative about the future and create an object to reflect their perspective. In that process, she realized that the future looked bleak and decided to create something to help, something with intention. Those efforts led to her Autonomous Protest Vehicle, a vehicle that uses laser projection to display protest messages, while taking people out of the line of fire.
At the time, she was using a laser cutter to make parts and assemble them. Her mentor from that program suggested that she look into CNC machining. Upon returning to the valley, Maya researched and found a program at Los Angeles Valley College – a six-week intensive course on CNC. There was funding for it, so her tuition was covered, and they would help her find a job upon completion, which led her straight to ABACORP.
She’s been on our team less than a year and has already earned experience in quality, operating and as a set up machinist. She’s currently working on tool management and begins leadership training this week. She is still continuing to take classes, learn programming and familiarize herself with all aspects of the CNC lathe.
Maya has also been meeting other women in the field. Hearing their experiences helped her realize how good she has it at ABACORP. AT other shops, “The people there are not ready to have women,” she says. “Here that is not the case.”
Maya is grateful to launch her career right out of college where she sees a future. Every day, she leaves feeling like she’s growing and moving forward. With her passion, drive and integrity, we can’t wait to see what great things are in store for her!