Amanda Powell Wood made history in 2023 as she became the First Female General Manager for O’Neal Manufacturing Services.
A 9-year veteran, Amanda Wood has been on a steady career climb since joining the company as a Product Specialist in 2014. Within three years at our Birmingham, AL headquarters, she moved into the supply chain department. Her next promotion in 2019 took her to Greensboro, NC to assume the role of Materials Manager. In 2021, Amanda stepped into the role of Assistant General Manager. Recognized for her accountability, management, and communication skills, Amanda was most recently promoted to General Manager for the Greensboro facility in June of this year.
We caught up with Amanda to get her perspective on women in manufacturing, starting with the advice she would offer women who are considering entering the industry.
My advice is to not hold yourself back. I did not know much about the steel business when I started my career. Now, I recognize the impact steel has on our daily lives. Driving down the road, I see a truck full of machinery with parts I know we helped to make here at OMS. I get such a positive feeling of accomplishment knowing my team had a part in something impactful. It makes for an extremely rewarding career.
What are the benefits of having women in leadership positions within the manufacturing industry?
Successful women leaders offer a unique perspective and leadership style. In our industry, there is a bias towards masculinity, and this drives me personally to succeed because I feel that bias needs to change. I believe a diverse culture in an organization will positively impact growth within the industry and that female leaders can be just as empowering and respected as their male counterparts.
What has been the most significant barrier in your career?
I put a lot of pressure on myself to be perfect, but I have learned that I can and will make mistakes. I just make sure to learn from them and to be better. My goal is to be knowledgeable about all aspects of the job, and I have had to remind myself that being confident is different than being arrogant.
What motivated you to become a leader in the organization?
There are a number of strong women in my family whom I admire, and I strive to be like each of them. I’m also fortunate that the leadership here at O’Neal Manufacturing Services has consistently encouraged me to keep moving my career forward. The men in my life have also been my champions. In each of my roles at OMS, I have been fortunate to have male team leaders who believed in me and who gave me the tools necessary to succeed. It has been much easier to keep striving when my life has been full of people reminding me that I can do it.
What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders?
You’ve got this! Find your leadership style and work every day to be better. Seek out the people you can count on to give you honest feedback. Be confident in knowing you are doing your very best every day.