Empowering Women
in Manufacturing And Business

Successful women sharing their experiences and life stories that contribute to the greater good of all, improving products, making things better and safer, and fulfilling lives.


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#83 Training The Next Generation Of Manufacturers

Two young engineers standing by processing machine and testing new system of quality control or looking through data

This week on The WAM Podcast, host, Barbara Trautlein interviews Diana Peters, the Executive Director and Founder of Symbol Training Institute, which is a Chicago-based educational organization that builds partnerships with manufacturers and students to improve lives through quality education. They provide hands-on training in programming, set up, and operation of CNC (Computerized Numerical Control) machines.

Diana also serves as the President of the Women In Manufacturing local chapter and is the founder of Manufacturing Next, a non-profit organization that recruits and advocates for women and youth to get involved in manufacturing.

In this episode, she shares more details about her training program and why it is suitable for anyone, from mothers with young kids to those who already work full time and are looking to fine-tune their skills. Diana also talks about her passion to see more women and girls enter the field and overcome the additional challenges they might come up against.

“Stick to your dreams and drown out all the noise. Don’t let others dictate your actions; really stick with your gut.” Diana Peters @symboljob


Barbara Trautlein

Barbara A. Trautlein, Ph.D. is the author of the best-selling book, Change Intelligence: Use The Power of CQ To Lead Change That Sticks, principal and founder of Change Catalysts, and originator of the CQ System for Developing Change Intelligent Leaders and Organizations. For over 25 years, Barbara has coached executives, trained leaders at all levels, certified change agents, and facilitated mission-critical change management initiatives– achieving bottom-line business and powerful leadership results for clients.

In 2015, she had the honor of being awarded Change Management Consultant of the Year by the Association of Change Management Professionals Midwest Chapter.  She is gifted at sharing strategies and tactics that are accessible, actionable, and immediately applicable.  Her blend of research and real-world expertise makes her an in-demand speaker at conferences across the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa.  Barbara has a unique ability to connect with her audiences, from C-level executives in Fortune 50 organizations to front line employees, and across industries, from steel mills to sales teams, refineries to retail outlets, and healthcare to high tech.  Clients served include ArcelorMittal, BP, Cisco, Exelon, Ford, the NYPD, Steel Dynamics, and ThyssenKrupp.  Barbara holds a doctorate in Organizational Psychology from the University of Michigan.

For more information about Barbara and Change Catalysts, visit changecatalysts.com and follow her on Twitter @btraulein and connect on LinkedIn.


Diana Peters

Diana Peters serves as the Executive Director/Founder of Symbol Training Institute, a post-secondary career and technical hands-on advanced manufacturing training facility in the Chicagoland area. Diana leads Symbol’s initiative to combat the skilled labor shortage by providing superior hands-on training and job placement through her institution. She strongly advocates for women’s equality in manufacturing by promoting the profession to women and employing several female instructors to assist in her efforts.

Diana’s passion for workforce development is evident from her proven track record with manufacturing companies who hire Symbol graduates. Under her leadership, Symbol has positioned itself as an employer-driven institute. Diana’s endless persistence has helped place close to a thousand of Symbol’s graduates into high paying, high demand jobs despite it being during the worst economic recession in years. Through Diana’s efforts, Symbol was designated as the Manufacturing Sector Center for all of Cook County by the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership.  Additionally, Symbol is the #1 ranked National Institute of Metalworking Skills (NIMS) accredited institution in the nation and accounting for 25% of all NIMS credentials earned in Illinois annually.

Diana also serves as the President of the Women in Manufacturing (WiM) local chapter and she also founded Manufacturing Next, a 501c3 not for profit organization intended to recruit and advocate for more women and youth to get involved in manufacturing. Diana and Symbol have gained national exposure by being featured in notable publications and media such as Crain’s Chicago Business, Chicago Tribune, NPR, CNN, and the Washington Post.  

Connect with Diana Peters on LinkedIn and check out Manufacturing Next at www.manufacturingnext.org and Symbol Training School at www.symboltraining.edu and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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