The NAM Appoints Patricia Hume to Board of Directors

From the Factory Floor to the NAM Board of Directors

Nothing comes together without people. Setting them up for success is a matter of respect.

Patricia Hume
May 31, 2024

My first job after college was Manager of Supply and Demand, overseeing resource planning for the factory floor operations of the IBM 3890 Document Processor. It was a “bank machine” that sorted and tallied the amounts on checks, and it filled an entire room.

Photo of the IBM Document Processor Model B04, which had four stack modules.
An IBM 3890 Model B04, which was part of a series announced in 1975. Photo source: Wikipedia

I led a team of 20, and our remit was to make sure we had part continuity and manpower coverage across three shifts. For a given shift, we made sure that front-line workers were assigned and that all the parts and orders were in place for the work to begin.

The role felt important, and I knew I was doing a good job. But one day, my manager shared feedback that some people didn’t like me on the factory floor . It didn’t matter if I was smart or capable or that my team was reaching its objectives. While I was making sure people had the tools to do their jobs, I wasn’t acknowledging their value or their role in getting the work done. I overlooked what made people want to do their best work.

It was a fundamental lesson in the importance of respect and collaboration on the job. That job, and the others I held over the course of 20 years at IBM, drove home that everyone has a role, and nothing comes together without people. Further, wanting to do your best work is sustained by company culture, and that desire needs to be actively cultivated by acknowledging people and their contributions.

Canvas GFX: empowering people at scale

I took these lessons with me throughout my career, to other Fortune 500s, startups, and everything in between. Now, as CEO of Canvas, I can implement these lessons at scale.

Certainly, I am committed to setting up Canvas team members for success. But I’m also talking about what Canvas Envision work instructions do for our customers’ front-line workers across diverse manufacturing industries.

Our interactive, model-based work instructions give front-line workers the agency to drive their own learning experiences, take initiative, and contribute beyond the factory floor. For example, Canvas Envision enables shop floor workers to interact directly with the model, ask questions, request model updates, or upload photos to explain where they’ve hit a snag. The process doesn’t just break down silos, remove roadblocks, and streamline workflows. It allows the contributions of front-line workers to be seen and acknowledged, and enables them to do the work right the first time. It gives them respect.

The National Association of Manufacturers’ Board of Directors

I love what I do at Canvas, but now it’s even sweeter. After nearly 45 years and all the changes – in my career and in the world – I’ve now joined the NAM as a member of the board.

This appointment takes the concept of setting people up for success to a whole new level.

The NAM is an influential voice for manufacturers, and is highly engaged in efforts to advocate for the industry, influence policy, and help US manufacturers compete in the global economy. I am committed to supporting NAM’s efforts to promote American manufacturing, the veritable backbone of our economy.

The NAM addresses a broad range of industry issues, from supply chain disruptions to energy security. I am particularly interested in helping to address the workforce crisis, which I know is impacting so many of our customers. The problem illustrates so clearly, that nothing comes together without people.


The lesson of respect was crucial when I was starting out and remains so today, regardless of my position in an organization. Respect is important for all of us, to receive it and to give it. I invite you to join me in championing not only the individuals within our teams, but also the broader industry.

Ultimately, my aim is to empower our customers and partners in achieving greater efficiency and innovation. Respect plays a central role in enhancing the experience for everyone involved in the process. Together, let's cultivate an environment where respect thrives.

About the author
Patricia Hume
Chief Executive Officer

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