Lean Book Discussion Group--Steel Toes and Stilettos by Shannon Karels & Kathy Miller

  • Thursday, August 22, 2024
  • 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
  • Virtual




"Steel Toes and Stilettos" by Shannon Karels & Kathy Miller.

Shannon and Kathy will be joining us for the discussion!

The authors joined forces professionally when Kathy hired Shannon to be a member of her leadership team. This book describes the transformation they led to convert operations from traditional manufacturing to a lean enterprise.

Kathy (executive leader responsible for profitability) and Shannon (transformation leader) share the finer points of a comprehensive change process, the challenges and triumphs, and the real emotion involved during their quest for success. Each describes the professional journey from their unique perspective and the highlights of an endearing friendship that was formed along the way.

This story will inspire female leaders in any organization, showcasing an example of high-performing women thriving in an intense and fast-paced world. Kathy and Shannon are role models for those juggling intense, fulfilling careers, alongside life's complexities such as dual-career marriages and raising children.

Their story provides a powerful case study of women supporting each other in the workplace to drive positive culture and significantly improved business results by leading with authenticity and inclusivity.


Please read the whole book before the discussion session.


Shannon Karels
Co-Founder, OPSisters

Shannon Karels is a Sr. Operations Manager who has lead multiple lean transformations and run operations for two large publicly traded corporations across various industries and business models.  She started her career in supply chain management and progressed through lean and operations leadership roles.  Through this journey, Shannon has improved cultures in numerous manufacturing facilities by leading employee empowerment and engagement, and building highly successful teams, with a focus on business results.  Shannon is known for leading accountable organizations built on trusting relationships that improve the companies’ profitability and customer experience.

Kathy Miller
President and Co-Founder, OPSisters

Kathy Miller is a Senior Operations Executive who has held numerous global vice president and director roles both in manufacturing and lean enterprise leadership.  Kathy is a Shingo Prize Recipient for Large Businesses as a Plant Manager.  She started her career in Operations as a 17 year old co-op student at a vehicle assembly plant, and progressed through engineering, marketing, lean and operations leadership roles, working for four large publicly traded corporations in executive roles.  Kathy is a transformational leader who consistently delivers impressive business results through team development, process discipline and continuous improvement.  Kathy is known for creation of inclusive culture based on trust, respect and accountability


Melissa Sherman,
Sr Quality Improvement Consultant,
Consumers Energy

Melissa has worked in the utility industry for over 27 years, both for an Investor Owned and Cooperative, gaining experience in Electric and Gas Distribution Engineering, Business Support for Pumped Storage, River Hydro and Renewable Generation, Online Scheduling for Fossil Generation, and Enterprise Change.

Throughout her career, Melissa has instituted lean methodology while embedding change management methodology.  From scheduling to warehouse redesigns, to value stream analysis. Melissa analyzes and measures the effectiveness of existing business processes and develops sustainable, repeatable, and quantifiable business process improvements. She analyzes data to drive problem solving, root cause analysis and functional area process improvement. Responsible for delivering significant results in Company Breakthrough Objectives.

She is passionate about leading others on their continuous improvement/lean and change management journey.  She enjoys being able to share her love for teaching/coaching others and seeing the “ah ha” moments when someone truly understands the methodologies. It is through breaking down those methodologies in terms they understand that they can then tackle those big problems.

Melissa has also taught higher education since 2008 both in-seat and on-line in management, entrepreneurship and engineering disciplines, relating a lot of her teaching to the utility industry.

Melissa holds a Bachelors in Industrial Engineering Technology, a Master’s in Leadership Studies from Baker College, along with a Graduate Certificate in Leadership Strategies from Davenport University.  She also holds an Associates Certificate in Project Management from George Washington University and is certified in Change Management through Acuity Institute.

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