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People over Pocketbook: Aneesa Muthana’s Approach to Shop & Association Leadership

People over Pocketbook: Aneesa Muthana’s Approach to Shop & Association Leadership

Why Aneesa Muthana is a woman in American manufacturing worth knowing

Aneesa Muthana
Aneesa Muthana

Aneesa learned machining as a young girl in her parents’ shop. She is an outspoken advocate for manufacturing. She believes in people. She truly loves the industry, and it is obvious with a quick googling of her name. The headline on her personal website is: “Maker. Leader. Speaker. Advocate.” She is the upcoming president of the Precision Machined Products Association (PMPA), one of Paperless Part’s affinity partners, and has served on the board for nearly 5 years. She recently joined the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) on their Board of Directors because one industry association leadership post simply wasn’t enough.

And, my personal favorite reason: Aneesa approaches business strategy and adopting new technology with an open and curious mind, or as she says, “like a case study.” Everyone can learn something from her in this episode that is chock-full of practical advice from years in the field.

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She was once “fat, dumb, and happy” with an old-school manufacturing mindset

Pioneer Service was doing well without Swiss CNC machines and an ERP during a time when most businesses had started adopting these technologies. Aneesa’s team was getting plenty of work and making plenty of money. They easily could have remained on the path of least resistance and chosen not to explore the new frontier. But, then a few of her largest customers consolidated into one, and she realized she had to make changes.

Instead of following her peers and moving forward with Swiss CNC and other tech because it was the new way of manufacturing, Aneesa chose to present these and other tools as opportunities for the business to explore. It was not a “this way or the highway” mentality, but rather a “what can these capabilities do for our business, our people, our bottom line?” This led to staff buy-in and ultimately, successful adoption because her people felt they had a say in the exploration. I love this approach!

Key Takeaway: Investing in your people is the greatest thing a leader can do

Aneesa has seen it all– every level of commitment from employees there is. She knows that even when a leader is engaged and helps create an environment where employees feel valued and connected to their work, while it certainly can help retention, ultimately they still may not stay. And, it’s not an indictment on the leader. It’s human nature, and often the difference between an intrinsically motivated person versus an extrinsically motivated person. The rub is in identifying this early among your team members.

Favorite Answer From Rapid Fire Questions

She recently watched Braveheart with her teenage grandkids. Classic!!!


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