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Meet Hannah Burns Dunham, Chemical Engineer & Consultant

Updated: May 20

headshot of Hannah Burns Dunham

What does Empowering Women mean to you?

I am a chemical engineer with 8 years of manufacturing experience. A couple years ago, I had my daughter, quit my job, and pursued a master's in industrial & organizational psychology. I recently started a consulting business called Climbing Trees Consulting that is an HR consulting business focused on fueling women's success in manufacturing. I have learned so much from your podcast and other resources, and I appreciate what y'all do so much. Women are more likely to leave manufacturing jobs than jobs in any other industry - that is one thing I want to help change, and something I know you are changing. Thank you!

How did you get started working in your field?

While in manufacturing, I always had a passion for mentoring and supporting other women in the plants I worked at. I think it's such a unique experience to be a woman in not just a male-dominated industry, but one that has really never had many female leaders. As I became a manager, I faced very unique challenges and I began to understand why many women never stay around long enough to fill lead team positions. Then, when I got pregnant and by 80 hour work-weeks and 24/7 on-call job couldn't be accommodated, I quit my job and became a stay-at-home-mom/masters student in i/o psychology. My passion for helping women in manufacturing feel seen and understood just grew by the day. So, recently I started Climbing Trees Consulting!

What do you love most about your job? / What are you most proud of?

I LOVE visiting manufacturing sites - it weirdly feels like home to me (hard hats, steel toes, all of it!). I also love connecting with women and normalizing the challenges they are facing. I think in fast-paced manufacturing jobs, it's easy to get wrapped up in all thats on your to-do and sometimes connecting with others like you doesn't happen. Or, you may literally have no one to go to. So, I love being that person for women!

What advice would you give to someone considering this line of work?

As for manufacturing, PLEASE go for it. We need more women in manufacturing roles who get to the top! Often leadership teams at the sites are only men. Generally, women and men have very different leadership styles and these teams desperately need input from a female voice!

As for consulting, go for it!! You definitely have to check your ego at first and do things out of your comfort zone, but if it aligns with your values and passions, do it!

Anything else you would like to add?

Just want to again say how much I have enjoyed listening to your podcast! I am featuring it on a resources post on my consulting instagram page today :)

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