Prior to joining Protolabs, Holt was the president and CEO of Spartech, a plastic sheet, compounds and packaging manufacturer. She has also held leadership roles at PPG Industries and Waste Management. Holt is currently a board member at Protolabs and the National Association of Manufacturers.
Holt received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Duke University. She received her master of business administration from Pace University.
Protolabs is in its 20th year of digital manufacturing and recently opened up a new manufacturing facility in Minnesota. The company was also recently named a winner in the National Association of Manufacturers’ Manufacturing Leadership Awards for its engineering and production technology.
MDO: What first drew you to manufacturing? When did you first know you wanted to be in the industry?
Holt: I joined manufacturing immediately after graduating from Duke University with a degree in chemistry when I joined Monsanto Company as a sales representative.
MDO: What are some of the barriers women face in today’s medtech manufacturing industry, if any?
Holt: I think the only barrier is in our own minds. The medtech manufacturing industry is growing and vibrant. We need to attract the best talent and 50% of the talent out there are women.
MDO: Describe your biggest leadership challenge. How did you conquer it or resolve it, or what was the outcome?
Holt: The biggest challenge any leader has is gaining the hearts and minds of all your team members so everyone can be aligned and pulling in the same direction with passion.
MDO: Talk about your leadership skills. What is the most important lesson you have learned that has guided you in your career?
Holt: I am a collaborative, team-based, people first leader. I learned that to best lead in this way, it is critical to be authentic, willing to show my vulnerabilities and humble. Leaders must have credibility and to connect with people, you must be yourself.
MDO: In your opinion, what more can be done to promote greater participation of young women in the medtech industry today?
Holt: The medtech industry and manufacturing, in general, must continue to build its image as a high technology, fast-paced industry that really makes a difference in the world. We must also connect with future leaders earlier in their journey so they can prepare for a career in our industry. This often means exposure to manufacturing in elementary school through high school.