Manufacturing Institute

Frequently Asked Questions

Q.   When do nominations open and close?
A.   Nominations open on August 1, 2019 and will close on Friday, October 4, 2019.

Q.   How do I nominate someone for the 2020 STEP Ahead Awards?
A.   To nominate, please create a nominator user account or use your login information if you have an existing account. Once you complete the nominator registration form and click submit, you will be redirected to the nomination page.

Q.   Who can submit a nomination?
A.   A nominee may only be nominated by a colleague or peer, such as: company leadership (CEO, Senior Leadership, Directors and Managers); company colleagues; peers outside a nominee's company.

Companies are encouraged to have a single point of contact for nominations. Please reach out to the STEP team to find out if your company has a designated point of contact before creating a nominator account. Please see best practices within the Nominations Guide Toolkit for ideas on streamlining candidates within your company.

Q.   Can I nominate myself?
A.   We don’t accept self-nominations, but you can ask someone else to nominate you.

Q.   Can I nominate someone from outside of my own organization?
A.   Yes, you may nominate someone outside of your company. However, please be aware that if your nominee is selected, The Manufacturing Institute will reach out to their company to confirm the accuracy of the nomination prior to sending out notifications of selection.

Q.   Can a company nominate someone outside of the U.S.?
A.   Yes, a company may nominate someone outside of the U.S. as long as that company has U.S. operations.

Nominations applications outside of the U.S. must be submitted via PDF form and sent to Please reach out to The Manufacturing Institute Team at to request an international applicant PDF form.

Q.   How much does it cost to submit an application?

A.   There is no cost associated with submitting an application, however, if your nominee is selected we do ask that your company is willing to support her participation in the Leadership Program and Awards ceremony held in Washington, D.C.

Q.   Is there a limit to how many nominations I can submit?
A.   A maximum of 10 applications per company may be submitted, however please note there is a limit to the number of Honorees and/or Emerging Leaders that will be recognized. If selected, companies are allowed up to two (2) Honorees and one (1) Emerging Leader (women under the age of 30) to be recognized at the 2020 STEP Ahead Awards.

The STEP Ahead Award is a competitive award with a cap of 100 Honorees and 30 Emerging Leaders. Companies should make their best effort to ensure the application meets the selection criterion.

Q.   How can I manage submitting only 10 nominations within a large manufacturing company?
A.   Within the Nominations Guide Toolkit we have included best practices from small, medium and large size manufacturers for ideas to streamline a process to nominate candidates. These best practices include steps for implementation as well as a main point of contact to reach out to for more information.

Q.   How do I know if my candidate is eligible for the 2020 STEP Ahead Awards?
A.   Eligibility requirements are available on the homepage by clicking on the STEP Eligibility button.

Q.   How many women will be honored?
A.   100 women will be recognized as Honorees. 30 women will be recognized as Emerging Leaders, and those nominated under this category must be between the ages of 18 and 30 as of December 31, 2019.

Q.   Is it just an Award Ceremony?
A.   The 100 Honorees and 30 Emerging Leaders gather in Washington, DC for professional development and celebration. Recipients of the STEP Ahead Award will be invited to attend a two-day professional development program that will occur in advance of the award ceremony.

STEP Ahead offers Honorees and Emerging Leaders a long-term network of colleagues for business and professional development and mobilizes women to act as a catalyst for change within their company and community.

Q. What does a competitive application look like?
A.   Click here to review samples of competitive application essays.

Q.  When will you announce the selected Honorees and Emerging Leaders for the 2018 STEP Ahead Awards?
A.   We will notify nominators and nominees of their selection in early January 2020. We will make a public announcement of the selected 2020 Honorees and Emerging Leaders in early March 2020.

Q. When and where are the 2020 STEP Ahead Awards?
A.   The 2020 STEP Ahead Awards will take place from April 29 through April 30, 2030 with the Awards Dinner Gala on the night of April 30.

Q.  What sponsorship opportunities are available for the 2020 STEP Ahead Awards?
A.  The Manufacturing Institute offers program and dinner sponsorship opportunities to companies and organizations that place a priority on female talent and the need for attracting, advancing and retaining more women to the industry. . For any questions, Companies interested in sponsoring the 2020 STEP Ahead Awards should contact AJ Jorgenson at for more information.

Q.   I have a question that’s not listed on here. Who can I contact for more information?
A.   Feel free to contact the STEP Ahead Team at or (202) 637-3426.


New to nominations?

Check out our Nominations Guide Toolkit to get started!

Nominations for the 2020 STEP Ahead Awards will open August 1, 2019.

A nominee may only be nominated by by a colleague or peer, such as: company leadership (CEO, Senior Leadership, Directors and Managers); company colleagues; peers outside a nominee's company.

  • Previous Honorees are NOT eligible. Click here to see the list of previous Honorees.
  • Previous Nominees ARE eligible.
  • Previous Emerging Leaders ARE eligible to be nominated as an Honoree.
  • Nominees must currently be employed in manufacturing.

There are two categories nominators may consider:

  • STEP Ahead Honoree: Nominee is currently employed in manufacturing at any level of the company, from the factory floor to the C-suite.
  • STEP Ahead Emerging Leader: Rising female talent currently employed in the manufacturing industry that have made significant contributions and excelled early in their career.
  • An Emerging Leader nominee must be between 18 and 30 years of age as of December 31, 2019.