Welcome to “The Women of MDNA,” a series of posts where you’ll meet some of the remarkable women in our industry. Through MDNA, some have discovered a pathway to learn and grow, applying their skills and experience in a new way. Consider Michelle Guzzino, president of Exact Machine Service, who has already jumped into chapter leadership and is a shining example of what women can accomplish in the industry.
How did you get involved in the industry?
In June of 2021, my husband and I bought Exact Machine Service. I manage the day-to-day operations for the business, including the sales department. I had no experience in machine sales, although I did bring a bit of experience in the manufacturing field, having worked in corporate finance for manufacturing companies in several different roles. We sell new and used equipment and provide services to many different machine brands and models, and we are always looking for new opportunities to add value to the manufacturing customers we support.
What inspired you to enter this field?
I had worked in corporate finance for 20 years. It got to the point where I wanted to learn something new and different and see how I could grow. My next step would have been to be a CFO, but I was leaning more toward the business side. That’s what led me to go in this direction. My experience in the manufacturing field my entire life made this opportunity appealing. Even though we’re in sales and service, I’m still connected to the manufacturing world.
How else have you been involved in MDNA?
Right now, I’m the secretary for the Philadelphia chapter. Getting involved in leadership in MDNA has been so helpful. I get to hear more and understand more about the field. Right now, I’m still learning and growing, but depending on positions that might open up for me in the future, I would be willing to look into different leadership roles.
What is the benefit of being involved in MDNA?
One of the biggest benefits on being involved in MDNA is the relationships you build with other people in the industry. Our chapter encourages the members to connect and build relationships. Most of the time, they’re your competitor, but they’re still willing to help. I came in with no experience. The guys I met were willing to share their experience and best practices in this market and brainstorm ideas.
The other way MDNA brings value is the business opportunities it affords. Someone else may have the right customer for a machine you’re trying to sell, so you can partner with other members to make a deal. Once you partner with them, they might come to you with opportunities. There’s a lot of respect in this industry, and people are ethical as they do business. If they know that you are working on that opportunity, they won’t come after it. They are more concerned about how we can we help each other out, and I really appreciate that.
What is it like working as a woman in a male-dominated industry?
In my opinion, men and women are capable of the same things. If you like a subject, you’re going to study and be just as qualified as anyone else. I’m not treated differently. If I treat people with respect, if I listen to them and understand where they’re coming from, most people appreciate that. It's so important to be honest and humble. I think it’s helpful to ask questions, such as, “Can you explain that a little bit better?” Or “I was thinking about this. What do you think?” People are more receptive to that kind of approach.
What do you like best about the industry?
This is an industry that is open to everyone. How much people succeed depends on just how much they dedicate their time and come up with ideas for the field. Passion for the field is key. I like the industry because both men and women are equally capable of being great in the field.