July 26, 2022 | Bryan Wanzer

Manufacturing Careers: Tamara Gilbert guides students through careers in manufacturing

Tamara Gilbert is a manufacturing business planner at General Motors and an influential advocate for women in manufacturing careers.

We humanize career exploration by featuring real humans doing real things. Our mentors provide candid advice on how they got started and the steps to get there.


Growing up Tamara thought her future was to dance through college and major in ceramic art. An injury rendered her unable to dance, so she was left to figure out what else she could do. Thanks to impactful mentors in her life, she identified talent and skills in problem-solving, superior perception, creative solutions, mathematics, and making things which sparked an interest in manufacturing. She would have never considered such a path or even glanced at the automotive industry before that pivotal point in her life.

Now after 15 years in her career, Tamara has advanced through several positions with General Motors. Starting out as a production floor supervisor in a casting plant, she gained invaluable people skills and learned the true meaning of resilience because she was the youngest employee and one of the only females in the entire facility. Her task was to manage the production of engine casting mold and assembly, but she learned that her job was really to build relationships of trust and respect with her employees in order to be an effective leader.

“I just encourage young people to find a mentor, explore the possibilities that are out there and don’t let your preconceived opinions of things hold you back.”

Tamara Gilbert, GLOBAL PROPULSION SYSTEMS Business planner at General Motors and find your grind mentor

Now, Tamara is a huge advocate for getting young women and girls in manufacturing. Tamara had never considered a career in this field until she identified her relevant skills and learned more about the work. She recognizes that many girls may doubt themselves about being capable of the work but they can actually find success, and even a passion, in manufacturing work.

“[Girls are] brought up thinking, I don’t know how to make things, or I don’t know how to build things or tinker with engines or things. And I would say, just because you’ve not done it, it doesn’t mean you can’t, and that you wouldn’t love it. And so I think it’s really important for females to have a presence in manufacturing because everyone has unique ideas and perspectives.”

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