Battery Council International (BCI) is a not-for-profit trade association that promotes the interests of the lead battery industry. While the battery industry has long struggled with female representation, the amount of women has slowly increased – but BCI wanted to move the needle forward, faster.
In 2018, the organization launched women’s networking receptions at its annual conference and they quickly became a popular draw for women attendees. BCI identified a need to address a gap in the market for women to gather, network, and share best practices that are unique to the underrepresented audience. To help bridge that gap, BCI created Women in the Global Battery Industry (WGBI) and appointed the first woman to its board of directors soon after.
BCI and the Smithbucklin team serving BCI officially launched WGBI in January 2022, with the goal of expanding women's participation in the battery manufacturing industry. Membership is open to professional women in the battery industry (including non-BCI members) within any field, including media, sales, engineering, marketing, and more. Member benefits include dedicated networking events, education and learning opportunities, and future mentorship programs that foster personal and professional development. WGBI members also have access to a private LinkedIn group, and WGBI has two upcoming in-person events and a quarterly webinar series, featuring career development and industry topics, planned in 2022.
WGBI isn’t just valuable for women who are already in the battery industry – the group’s work starts at the academic level with membership open to STEM university students and faculty. WBGI has also begun outreach in K-12 schools through its STEM education subcommittee to encourage the next generation of women in the battery industry.
Annual membership dues are $100 for professionals and $35 for students and faculty. Many larger BCI member companies are supporting the organization by covering the cost of their female employees to join. WBGI is offering scholarship opportunities for students to attend BCI’s annual convention at no fee. The group will fund up to eight female students. Scholarship recipients will be recognized on stage during the convention to celebrate their commitment to their STEM-education studies and interest in the battery industry. Through the support of WGBI, BCI has engaged its first female keynote speaker at the convention, who will speak about how to advance women in manufacturing and how to attract female leaders.
"The group will enable talented women in the energy industry to connect professionally and personally, offering counsel, mentorship, and comradery in a way that was not available to me during the first part of my career."
-WGBI founding member
Since its launch in January, WGBI has experienced a positive response and a high level of interest across the industry. In just a few months, membership has grown to more than 150 members, with more than 50 women sponsored by their employers. WGBI received dozens of positive testimonials from members – and both BCI and WGBI are eager to develop the group’s activities and member engagement, and make a positive contribution to the industry.
Georgie Seago is in the Corporate Marketing unit at Smithbucklin.