From the CEO: Keeping humanity in our workplaces

AME | August 20, 2021


In the past week, members of the AME community have experienced the highest highs and lowest lows.

On Saturday, we learned that Mark Sessumes passed away unexpectedly. Mark was the statewide executive director of TMAC, the MEP for Texas. Beyond his day job, he was an AME volunteer who was committed to helping AME and our members achieve our share, learn and grow mission. Most recently, he has been active with the 2022 AME International Conference planning committee, working to establish engaging tour sites for the conference.

On the flip side of this terrible loss, yesterday we learned that Peggy Gulick, a member of AME’s board of directors, will be part of the Women in Manufacturing Education Foundation’s 2021 Hall of Fame class. The WIM Hall of Fame honors women who have made outstanding contributions during their careers in manufacturing and are dedicated to supporting, promoting and inspiring women in the manufacturing industry. Kohler Co.’s director smart factory, Peggy is perfectly described by the Hall of Fame criteria. She is an advocate and inspiration for all who know her.

As news of Mark’s passing and Peggy’s Hall of Fame induction broke this week, I’ve seen an outpouring of support on both ends of the spectrum. There were jubilant emails expressing excitement for Peggy’s recognition and there were messages of condolences to those who worked closely with Mark and called him a good friend.

There is a place for humanity in the workplace and for expressing emotion and care for others. In whatever industry or organization you work, it’s crucial to remember that you work with people. It is important to build a relationship with those we know professionally so that we can help others celebrate their wins and offer support to get past adversity. I have experienced some high-performing organizations that allow space in their daily meetings to allow employees to share things from their lives. You may consider doing this for your team and your organization. This practice connects people to one another and creates stronger bonds based on trust and compassion.

On behalf of AME, I hope Mark Sessumes’ friends and family can take solace in the fact that his legacy will not be forgotten and his work on behalf of our community will live on and continue to inspire the 2022 AME International Conference committee. Likewise, I am certain that Peggy Gulick’s work at AME and Kohler will continue as a benchmark for members of our community.

As always, please stay safe and keep looking out for one another.