The 2022 Professional Achievement in Industry Award at the BEYA gala went to Maria Shaw. An accomplished science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) leader, she is known for problem-solving, inspiring others, and driving organizations to higher performance.
As senior director of a program management office for infectious disease markets at Abbott Rapid Diagnostics, Maria has galvanized cross-functional teams to maximize production capacity and ensure operational execution for high-profile programs, including manufacturing expansion for rapid Covid tests.
Maria is passionate about increasing the number of minorities in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and has led employer resource groups throughout her career. Notable roles are the Abbott Black Business Network co-chair, the General Electric (GE) Healthcare African American Forum operating co-chair, and the General Motors (GM) African American Engineering Network recruiting and retention leader.
“Setbacks are setups for major comebacks,” Maria said in her acceptance speech. “My childhood dream was to become a singer. And word on the street? I was really good. However, a vicious dog attack at sixteen years old paralyzed my vocal cords and dramatically changed my future. Recovery required painful surgeries and voice reconstruction. My mother is the reason I stand here today.
“As supportive as she was for my future singing career, she acknowledged my love for math and science and did everything humanly possible to transition my focus into STEM,” Maria added. “Today, I work in healthcare technology as an executive leader in manufacturing operations. I boldly use my voice to empower and inspire others as my mother did for me every day. She passed in January 2020 but her legacy lives on in me forever,” she said.