Cheryl Bush is the Director of Strategy Deployment for Kennametal’s Infrastructure business, a wife, and mother of two college-aged children. In her role at Kennametal, she works across the organization to drive continuous improvement. “My focus is all about driving improvement in many aspects of our business and making our customers’ experiences better,” says Cheryl. Often it is about helping people realize they can change things, “we take a step back and look at what needs to be done.”
Cheryl grew up in Pittsburgh but spent 16 years on the outskirts of Philadelphia where she worked at DuPont. It was family that brought her back to the region in 2006. Cheryl describes her family as her “center,” and when her mom experienced health issues, it was an easy answer to move back with their two kids. “Thankfully my husband’s family was in the area as well. It was a great opportunity for us to raise our kids where we both grew up, and around their broader family.” The move also reconnected her with old friends, changing the way she thought about the importance of relationships. “I tried to stay close when I was away, but it was just very hard at a distance. Now I feel I’m really plugged into their lives.”
Cheryl found that same connection when joining WLC in 2007. “That was the first I’ve ever heard of it (WLC) and it was great to see other Kennametal women leading the way.” Fast forward 13 years and Cheryl continues to be engaged as a United way volunteer and through financial support. “It’s hard to imagine how many lives this organization touches. What better way to make a difference than to support an organization with such broad reach and nimble enough to ride the wave of unprecedented times. Through COVID, United Way has demonstrated a responsiveness and savvy to quickly support people in very desperate situations. I can’t NOT support it,” says Cheryl.
United Way also made a difference in her community of Latrobe. A local park, Legion Keener, was vandalized several years ago. The play equipment and park had been burnt and damaged. Kennametal led a Day of Caring alongside other local organizations to restore the park to its former beauty. Kennametal mobilized upwards of 80 to 100 people throughout the day. “It touched me how many people were willing to pitch in and make a difference. And the fact that our company stood up and said ‘we care about our community and it’s important for our employees to be there’—that’s just so meaningful,” says Cheryl. It gave me a lot of pride saying to my kids “I painted that picnic table or people from Kennametal repaired that part of the playset.”
When thinking about other women who want to help improve lives, her message is that anytime is a good time. “Everyone is challenged right now. As tempting as it is to say, not this year, get involved. Even if you don’t have the financial means, there are still ways to make a difference—look for remote volunteer opportunities and look after your neighbors.”
To learn more about United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council, contact Lynne Popash at firstname.lastname@example.org in Allegheny County or Terri Dominick at Terri.Dominick@unitedwayswpa.org in Westmoreland County or Sherrie Dunlap Gallagher at email@example.com in Butler County.