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ITA’s Women in Titanium to Gather for First Conference on October 4th in Orlando, Florida

Women in Titanium (WiT), a new committee sponsored by the International Titanium Association (ITA), will hold its long-awaited first conference on Sunday, October 4th at the Rosen Shingle Creek Golf Resort in Orlando, Florida just prior to the start of the ITA’s annual TITANIUM USA Conference & Expo.

As spelled out in its charter approved earlier this year, the primary mission of the WiT committee is two-fold: first, to develop a networking group of collegial women presently in the titanium industry; and second, to promote, attract, and encourage high school and college female students to enter the titanium industry. Dawne S. Hickton, the vice chair, president and chief executive officer of RTI International Metals Inc., Pittsburgh, who last year was tapped as the first female president of the executive board for the ITA, announced plans to establish the committee during the TITANIUM USA conference, which was held in Chicago last September.

Hickton, during the 2014 confab in Chicago, said she wanted to use her position on the ITA board to help establish a permanent path for other women to follow, so that they too can develop careers and leadership positions in the global titanium industry. The formation of the WiT committee is the result of Hickton’s vision. In recent years, Hickton and other ITA leaders have focused on the need for industry stewardship programs—dedicated efforts to cultivate the next generation of titanium designers, engineers, metallurgists and executives. The ITA’s WiT initiative is part of that overall effort.

In addition to Hickton, who serves as chair of the group, members of the WiT executive committee include Michelle Pharand, WiT vice chair and director of sales and business development at Dynamet Inc.; Holly Both, vice president of marketing at Plymouth Tube Co.; Cynthia Heatherington, vice president, human resources at Titanium Metals Corp. (TIMET); Dr. Kathryn Jackson, senior vice president and chief technology officer at RTI International Metals; Polina Sparks, editor, Argus; Heather Wollerman, director of human resources at Allegheny Technologies Inc. (ATI); and Jill McGibbney, medical products manager, Metalwerks PMD Inc.

“I began attending the TITANIUM conferences three years ago,” McGibbney said. “As I sat in one of the large sessions last year, I looked around and noticed how unbalanced the room was with regards to the men/women ratio. It just surprises me that is still the case this day and age. I believe the Women in Titanium conference can help encourage and justify other women to attend the main conference and become more involved. After spending the last 17 years in the titanium industry, I have come to expect most meetings to be comprised of men and I don’t think anything of it. However it can be intimidating for younger women entering the workforce. I believe we can encourage younger women to enter in the titanium industry, but we can also help other women that have been involved in titanium network further throughout the industry by bringing everyone together at one place.”

The list of guest speakers slated to address the October 4th delegation includes Kim Ades, M.B.A., president and founder of Frame of Mind Coaching who will discuss “Thinking like an Extraordinary Leader: Developing a Mindset for Results”; Sondra Wright, founder of Forty Plus and Fabulous LLC, author, certified safety and self-defense instructor, and expert on women and aging will offer “Self-Defense and Safe Traveling Guidelines for Professional Women”; David Neils, founder and director of the International Telementor Program, which creates academic mentoring opportunities for school-to-work transition and purpose-driven education; Dr. Susan Durbin, associate professor in employment studies at the University of the West of England, UK will speak on “Designing a Mentoring Scheme for Female Professionals in the Aviation and Aerospace Industry”; and Jeffery Tobias Halter, an author, gender strategist and the president of YWomen, a strategic consulting company focused on engaging men in women’s leadership issues will close the day with “How to Create Male Advocacy and Strategies”.  One-on-one coaching sessions will also be offered throughout the afternoon.

Prior to the start of the formal conference program, there will be a “Fun Run” activity organized by Andrea Doddato, a personal trainer and the founder of Shape and Sport Training.

Members & Non Members are invited to attend the events but advanced registration is highly recommended.  For additional information on the ITA’s WiT committee, call the ITA, based in Denver, Colorado at (303) 404-2221 or visit the ITA website (


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