The Importance of Mentors, Community, and Partnering with Lumity

Heather Boggs is a model for women in STEM and an inspiration to all Lumity students. She is the Chief Information Officer of Ferrara Candy and holds a chemical engineering degree from Michigan State. Heather participates in Lumity’s One Day Challenges and, as importantly, creates a working environment at Ferrara that actively encourages other employees to volunteer.

We caught up with Heather to learn more about her career experiences and her perspective on how STEM professionals can make a difference for Chicagoland.  

Lumity: Heather, you are clearly breaking new ground for women in STEM as chemical engineers and leaders in a global company. What were some of the experiences that helped put you on your career path?

Heather: There were not a lot of women graduating from Michigan State in chemical engineering when I did, so my mentors were really important to me.  I’ve had a number of mentors, both male and female, who made a significant difference in my career. They’ve helped me see what is possible and encouraged me not to limit my thinking about what I can do. 

Lumity: As you know, we totally agree with the importance of mentors—which is why we are so thankful for the time you and the Ferrara team spend with Lumity students in One Day Challenges, STEM Talks, and more. You are all so busy. How do you manage it?

Heather: From the Ferrara perspective, we believe in a commitment to society and community and want to create and support those connections for our teams. We also try to be thoughtful about our skill set and where we can best help. We find we align tightly with Lumity’s focus on providing local students with STEM programs because when you strengthen the education for some, you strengthen the output for all and elevate everyone. It’s so important to us, then, that we allow the time for people to participate in Lumity’s activities with students, and we make space for them to do that.

Lumity: We love what you just said! “When you strengthen the education for some, you strengthen the output for all and elevate everyone.” Could you talk more about what that means to you?

Heather: I would say that that is why our relationship with Lumity is so important. Together, we help individual students experience the connection between STEM and the opportunities and possibilities in their future. It benefits not only Lumity students but the entire community. And we also benefit as volunteers. The One Day Challenges and other activities develop connections between our team internally. It gives people here at Ferrara an opportunity to work with colleagues they might not usually work with, and it creates leadership experiences for them. Our partnership with Lumity has been a really rewarding experience on many levels.