STEM Woman Leader of the Day- Robin Saitz (PTC)
Submitted by Tommy Cornelis on August 28, 2012
Robin Saitz is senior vice president, solutions marketing & communications for PTC, responsible for the development of messaging, positioning, and integrated marketing programs for the company and PTC solutions. Since joining PTC in 1990, she has served in positions of increasing responsibility within PTC and been deeply involved in the community In 2006 Robin was awarded the inaugural PTC Carl Ockerbloom Humanitarian Award for community service. Robin is the Executive Advisor for PTC’s “Strategic Partnership” with FIRST and on the FIRST In Boston Executive Advisory Board. To learn more about FIRST, visit www.ptc.com/go/first
What principles do you, as a leader; apply to your professional and personal life to advance the STEM cause?
Professionally, I believe alignment with company goals is the most important principle for advancing STEM. I have spear-headed PTC’s involvement in FIRST (www.ptc.com/go/first) because it is aligned with our goals of creating shared value in our communities: Customers, Employees, Partners, and Students. Because of this alignment, our strategic partnership with FIRST has grown over the past 6 years to include: cosponsorship with customers of over 100 teams worldwide, international expansion, hundreds of employee volunteers, donation of our software used to design and manage the robot development process, and STEM curriculum development for schools. Personally, I believe that persistence and networking are key principles for advancing STEM. When I learned about the FIRST program 7 years ago, I was stunned to see the weak adoption in my own community. So I went on a personal crusade to introduce key people in the school community, interested parents and professional, and local government officials to the program. Networking and persistence has resulted in an award-winning high school team and more than 2 dozen award-winning middle school and elementary school teams.
What can we do to assure more women leaders in STEM?
Mainstream media could do a lot to promote today’s women leaders and their STEM-related accomplishments. Celebrate them. Show the general public how cool it is to be a problem solver. I believe when young girls are introduced to women role models, they are more likely to aspire to be like them. Furthermore, today’s STEM professionals, regardless of gender, should mentor young women. Bring them on as interns in your companies, visit their schools at all levels and share their story. But we have to get them while they are young, before they have talked themselves out of pursuing a STEM career.
What about STEM gives you passion?
My background is in engineering. As a young person, my father, a chemical engineer by training and a manufacturer’s sales rep for pollution control equipment, exposed me to his work. He would take me on customer sites and encourage me to pursue my interests in math and science. In college, I majored in engineering because I saw it as a way to develop innovative, technology-based solutions. As an adult, I’ve seen how technology advancements have improved the competitive advantage of our customers. I am amazed daily by the way STEM is applied to solve new problems and old problems in new and better ways.
How is your company innovating to promote STEM?
Beyond our strong partnership with FIRST, PTC’s global education program is focused on building the engineer of the future. This program has equipped more than 25,000 secondary schools and 1800 universities with the same software that our 27,000 customers use every day to design and manage the development of their products. 45,000 teachers have trained over 10 million students in 30 countries. And we have partnered with companies in the Aerospace and Defense industry to sponsor the Real World Design Challenge, where high school students form teams to help solve problems identified by leading businesses.