PINK'S NOT WHAT YOU THINK

Today is National Pink Day, and as it happens to be one of my favorite colors, I thought it would be fun to explore its origins and impact on our society.

First used as a color name in the late 17th century, it derived its name from a flower “pink”. Like all colors, pink is very diverse. The word itself conjures up a variety of different images and concepts—romance, flowers, femininity, Barbie, breast cancer, lightheartedness, etc. It also, like all colors, is contradictory. Pink is primarily recognized as a feminine color. It is for this reason that the color is used as a universal symbol of hope and awareness in the fight against breast cancer. However, in Japan, pink has a masculine association. Pink cherry tree blossoms are said to represent fallen Japanese warriors.

Psychologically, pink is a powerful color. It embodies the feminine principle and depending on the shade of pink used, its usage has the power to direct communication in a powerful way.

Communicating a similar energy as the color red, bright and warm pinks are said to have the power to increase one’s blood pressure and pulse rate as well as motivate action and fuel creative thought. However, subdued and muted pinks tell a different story—in fact, some studies of the color pink suggest that male weightlifters seem to lose strength in pink rooms, while women weightlifters tend to become stronger around the color.

I see pink as empowering, a symbol of unconditional love and nurturing and isn’t that just what’s needed to build a successful business?

The contradictions that the color evokes are basically the same contradictions that women face in business, especially in manufacturing, but all that is beginning to change. According to a recent report “Women in Manufacturing” from The Manufacturing Institute, Deloitte and Apics, women are making an unprecedented impact on manufacturing, according to Jay Timmons President and CEO, National Association of Manufacturers.

“ Many outstanding women leaders are making huge strides

in building and promoting the manufacturing industry and

are demonstrating what modern manufacturing offers –

rewarding and fulfilling careers with limitless opportunity for

growth. Today’s manufacturing employees are building and

designing the future, and women in manufacturing serve as

ambassadors to move this industry forward.“

Some of the survey findings reported that having women on the leadership team can help manufacturers unleash the positive potential of diversity and innovation by delivering:

•          88% diverse perspectives in decision-making

•          84% innovative and creative approaches and solutions

•          74% balanced organizational management

•          49% improved financial performance

When women are among leaders in organizations, there is a wider lens of strategic thinking; groups/divisions can weather problems and issues better, and can identify innovative solutions faster.

Recently I was given the boot—the pink, glass boot to be exact – as a Manufacturing Institute 2017 STEP Award Honoree. Everything we do at EarthKind® is with the objective of being an environmentally sustainable business, and we are close to reaching our goal of being carbon neutral. Community is at the core of our purpose and we adapted our plant so special members of our workforce—around 20%, our “handi-capable” team—can have fulfilling long-term jobs. I believe my leadership role is to change the way manufacturing operates, to make it more innovative and purpose driven, to not only be financially viable, but civically responsible.

With the STEP Ahead initiative, the Manufacturing Institute is promoting the role of women in manufacturing, which serves to mentor and recognize women while also leading research efforts tackling this important topic. Over the last 5 years, STEP Ahead Award winners have impacted more than 300,000 individuals – from peers in the industry to school age children. I’m honored to be part of this movement to help women achieve their true potential.

Professionally, I’m passionate about manufacturing because it contributes more to the well-being of our economy than any other industry, and personally because it provides me with a platform to use business as a force for good. Only by mentoring and nurturing the next generation of strong, empowered women can we bring about positive change in not only manufacturing, but all industries.

A parting thought, a little pink trivia:

But of all the word’s meanings, the oldest on record is one that appears in only the most comprehensive dictionaries: pink used to be yellow. Or rather, pink used to be the name of a murky yellow-green color—or, as the Oxford English Dictionary explains it: "A yellowish or greenish-yellow lake pigment made by combining a vegetable colouring matter with a white base, such as a metallic oxide."

It seems that word pink dates back to the early 1400s at least, and in fact, it wasn’t until the mid-17th century that pink came to refer to the pale reddish color it does today.

So, maybe pink is not what you think it is!