Autodesk and Diversity in the Work Place: A Winning Strategy
By Lisa Campbell
With over 25 years of experience in the software industry, Lisa is Vice President of Industry Strategy & Marketing for Manufacturing at Autodesk. She is responsible for industry strategy, business development, and industry marketing for key Autodesk manufacturing segments, including Industrial Machinery, Automotive, Customer Products and Building Product Manufacturers.
What is Autodesk doing to tackle diversity?
Autodesk believes diversity leads to new ideas, creativity and growth, so it is something we deeply value. We also think it’s essential that our employees mirror our diverse customer base. To that end, Autodesk promotes diversity and inclusion through a variety of programs, policies and initiatives.
For example, to spur diversity in our recruiting efforts, each year Autodesk works with an outside consultant to prepare our Affirmative Action plan, which compares external benchmarking data to our internal statistics to assess our progress against Autodesk diversity targets. Our recruiters then work with hiring managers to help achieve those targets and define activities such as posting job opportunities at targeted websites such as diversityworking.com, where Autodesk is a Featured Employer, or on other sites such as Engineers Without Borders, Upwardly Global, Women in Technology International, Society of Women Engineers, and
Diversity.com. This approach provides broader exposure in areas for which we need to bring affirmative action goals to the desired hiring level.
What attracted you to joining Autodesk’s Manufacturing team?
There are a couple of things that attracted me to the Autodesk Manufacturing team. The first is the team itself: they’re an incredibly talented, smart, and enthusiastic group of professionals, and a real pleasure to work with.
The second is that this is probably one of the most exciting times to be working in the space. The manufacturing industry is experiencing a major disruption, one that happens maybe once every 15-20 years. To me, this is a once-in-a-career opportunity to really take part in—and drive—the transformation of a huge industry.
The entire product development process is going through massive change. The way products are designed and made is being heavily impacted by the evolution of additive manufacturing (3D printing), availability of new materials, easier access to capital through crowdfunding platforms like Indiegogo, and a new generation of product development tools. Nearly anyone can manufacture and bring their ideas to market.
Product intelligence is changing, too. Products today are connected and talking to other products over the Internet (Internet of Things), evolving them from objects that previously depreciated once they landed in the hands of the consumer, to products that deliver increased customer value over time. Manufacturers are having to learn how to design for connectivity, as well as understand how to leverage the benefits of connectivity for themselves.
Customer demands on the manufacturing industry are rapidly growing too –consumers expect personalization, customization, and faster-than-ever turnarounds. They expect sustainable products that are built in a sustainable, ethical way.
In addition to these market disruptors, for the first time in many years there’s a technology disruption impacting manufacturing: the cloud. Cloud computing enables technology providers like Autodesk to help customers solve design and production challenges that were nearly impossible to solve before. And when you apply super computing to something like simulation, then combine it with machine learning, you end up with self-generating designs. It’s really amazing, actually.
The cloud also enables people to design—and access designs—anytime, anywhere, and from any device, greatly speeding up manufacturing processes.
At Autodesk we believe the future of making things will never be the same. And by the way these changes aren’t just in manufacturing, either: we see these trends affecting many industries we serve, from architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) to media and entertainment. Solving complex design and production challenges in exciting new ways is incredibly exhilarating. It’s an amazing time to be in manufacturing.
Did you have a mentor in your career?
I have been fortunate to have a few mentors in my career. I encourage people to find someone that they admire, respect or are inspired by and learn from them. Having someone who is invested in your success and professional growth is very motivating. They can challenge you, encourage you or be a sounding board for you when you need to work through issues and problems.
Recommendations for a female that is thinking about joining manufacturing?
I encourage women of all ages to join the manufacturing revolution; in fact, it’s never been a better time to do so. With the advances happening in manufacturing, anyone can make things. We all have access to affordable, easy-to-learn technology and production tools. What we need is diverse talent, opinions, and viewpoints.
More females today are seeking science, technology, engineering, and mathematics degrees, which is fantastic. There is so much that women can contribute to this industry. Every time I see a YouTube video of young girls designing and make things, it really energizes me. Women can have a huge impact on the future of manufacturing.
My recommendation? Be confident, challenge perceptions, get involved, and make a difference.