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WorkinCT: Kaman WALK program aims to promote women into leadership roles

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When you think of Kaman in Bloomfield, you think about the commercial and military aircraft the company sends up into the air.  Inside Kaman’s buildings all across the US are the people who make those aircraft fly.  About 25 percent of Kaman employees are women.

“In a typical aerospace type of environment or even distribution, primarily dominated by men, but we’re starting to see some of that change, and we’re really trying to target where we can bring women into the organization, hire them, train them, promote them, so that we have a great pipeline of talent in order to get more diversity at the senior level roles,” said Theresa O'Callaghan Kaman Executive Director of Benefit Programs and Corporate Human Resources.

O’Callahan says studies have shown more diversity makes a company more successful.  That’s why the Women Advocating Leadership at Kaman or WALK program started in 2015.  O'Callaghan and Dana Kaplinski are both part of the WALK Steering Committee.  Kaplinski’s background is in engineering, and she said her experience in a male-dominated field helps her be a good role model for other employees and helps her understand what those employees are looking for.

“Basically, providing opportunities for what they want to do in their career and develop the resources they need to be successful.  Also looking at the family-friendly policies and recognizing how we need to be flexible with our work time and the issues that women have to deal with, as well as men,” said Dana Kaplinski, VP of Engineering at Kaman Precision Products.

The goal is creating an environment where women feel empowered to thrive.

“It has to work successfully at every stage of someone’s career, at every stage we have here at Kaman.  But no matter what role you’re in, you walk in that front door the first day.  So what we think is really critical is to help our employees to reach their full potential, and that’s the way we can help make sure our company is strong,” said Neal Keating, Chairman, President and CEO of Kaman.

Keating said he thinks the program will continue to grow and evolve.

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