With three decades of experience working with statistical data as a problem-solver and strategist focusing on quality management and operational excellence, STEM has been foundational to Linda Taliaferro’s career.

She utilizes STEM knowledge and experience to establish a no-defects culture at Meritor by developing a robust program with a prevention focus and investing in no-fault controls. As a result, the company’s defect rate as measured in parts per million has declined significantly in recent years. Her STEM education has been instrumental to impactful leadership on quality, supply chain development and environmental, health and safety excellence for leading manufacturers.

As an executive, an advocate and a mentor, Taliaferro urges others to look beyond the limits and see what is possible. Her commitment to a STEM career and drive to help young people explore all options is exemplary of her desire to “give back” and make a difference to individuals as well as the broader industry, that benefits from a more diverse base of talent.

In the words of Linda Taliaferro:

How can the world increase diversity in STEM fields?
“We need to do a better job of reaching girls early. The idea of not introducing girls to science and math at an early age is detrimental to advancing STEM-related careers among women. Parents and teachers have to start at elementary school when they see a childwith an interest in STEM or is just curious.”

What barriers are in the way to closing the gender gap in STEM?
“Too often, STEM fields are thought of as men’s professions that are either too tough or challenging for women. Others believe STEM just doesn’t interest women. But the fact is, women do get motivated by numbers and taking on challenges. It’s really a mindset built up over generations, but we are seeing changes with more women becoming CEOs of large corporations and leading technological firms.”

Where do you see women in STEM in five years?
“More women will be working in STEM careers because the women in these fields today are advocates. Many are engaging girls and young women to move the needle. People have access to so much information that it’s easier to learn about STEM fields and map out a career path.”

What can be done to move women forward in STEM?
“When I visit schools or mentor young women, I hear some say that STEM is boring. But I tell them to think about the possibilities: One of you could cure cancer or put an astronaut on Mars. We must do more to instill how fascinating it is to be in a STEM career so we bridge these gaps in understanding what people in these fields actually do.”

Words I live by:
“Treat others as you wish to be treated.”