While International Women’s Week officially comes around once a year, ARCH Global Precision operates in the spirit of the movement every day of the year. With women throughout our organization, ARCH realizes and recognizes the value of a diverse team.
Lori Lorant, Vice President Human Resources, and Michelle Connolly, Vice President Finance, occupy vital leadership roles at ARCH that help drive strategy and growth. Their prominent roles reflect the ARCH philosophy of inclusion and diversity.
Lorant joined ARCH almost five years ago, and her impact was immediate. In 2019, she ascended to her position as vice president.
“It’s important there is a place for strong women in business,” said Lorant, who spent more than 15 years as a human resources manager in the retail consumer goods industry before coming to ARCH. “Opportunity and success should be based on skills, ability, and ambition.”
Connolly oversees all financial reporting for ARCH, including due diligence related to merger and acquisition activity—no small task considering the company’s recent, rapid expansion.
“Given the pace of change and growth at ARCH, it’s impossible to get bored,” she said.
Both Lorant and Connolly’s meaningful contributions to the success of ARCH exemplify what studies and research have shown time and again: Companies with women in leadership roles perform better than those without females at the executive level.
“The higher the percentage of women in top management, the greater the excess returns for shareholders. Financial performance metrics verify this superior stock market performance,” a 2016 report from Credit Suisse found. “From YE13 through mid-16, companies where women accounted for 25 percent of senior leadership outperformed at a compound annual growth rate of 2.8 percent; this increased to 4.7 percent at companies where women comprised 33 percent of senior leadership; and then jumped to 10.3 percent at companies where more than 50 percent of senior leaders are women.”
An expansive Peterson Institute for International Economics study on gender diversity at 21,980 firms in 91 countries provided similar results.
“A profitable firm at which 30 percent of leaders are women could expect to add more than 1 percentage point to its net margin compared with an otherwise similar firm with no female leaders,” the study determined.
Contributing to the success of ARCH employees—men and women alike—is a commitment to training and education.
“It hasn’t always been easy,” Connolly said. “I have certainly had some curve balls thrown my way, but each one has resulted in a valuable lesson that helped me get where I need to be. I continually learn from the people I work with too. I learn new things, unexpectedly, all the time.”
Susan Mulcahy, a Laser Operator and Packaging Specialist at ARCH Cutting Tools – Rhode Island, attributes her success to the ARCH atmosphere of continuous learning and equal opportunity.
“I was looking for a part-time job and a friend referred me here. It wasn’t long before the part-time job evolved into a full-time position, and I had the opportunity to learn to operate a high-tech laser marking system,” Mulcahy said. “I didn’t have a technical background and at first, I thought, ‘oh my gosh!’ but as I trained, I gained confidence. I work with great people, in an environment where everyone gets an equal opportunity.”
Lorant and Connolly said they are grateful to work in a corporate culture that is diverse and supportive; and they said it is satisfying to represent women within their organization and the industry overall
“While I’ve had a great deal of success at ARCH, I think my greatest satisfaction is in earning the respect of the people I work with,” Connolly said. “I work with incredibly talented, intelligent people – having their respect, and their support, means we’re all successful.”
“I believe that leaders must remain humble and that they must always remain ready to pitch-in, doing whatever is necessary, no matter their title or position,” Lorant said. “I’m fortunate to be with a company that makes that philosophy part of its way of doing business.”
Read “Women in manufacturing ... in their own words”