Order Steel Toes and Stilettos

OPSisters debut book is available for order! Get your copy to learn the tools and techniques Shannon and Kathy used to transform traditional manufacturing factories to lean enterprises characterized by authentic leadership, an inclusive culture and excellent business results.


Shannon and Kathy professionally joined forces when Kathy hired Shannon to be a part of her divisional leadership team, responsible for a $75m operation, hundreds of team members at four locations in two countries.  This book is about the journey they went on to transform a traditionally run batch operation to a lean enterprise, characterized by authentic leadership, an inclusive culture, and excellent business results.  The book will not only outline the steps of the transformational journey but highlight some of the challenges and triumphs along the way.  Kathy and Shannon will share the fun and emotion of the three years and the endearing friendship that was formed along the way, from each of their perspectives.  This story will seek to inspire women who are on that journey…provide an example of how high performing ladies can thrive in an intense and fast paced world where you are judged to be as good as the performance of your organization 30 days at a time. Kathy and Shannon strive to be role models for those who are juggling dual-career marriages, raising families, and intense and fulfilling careers.  Even those that are not in those demographics will benefit from the adoption of the strategies and tools they used to facilitate this business transformation.

Download Chapter Q&A

Kathy and Shannon have joined forces to create a reading guide for Steel Toes and Stilettos. Download the chapter Q&A to explore the book from a leadership or LEAN perspective.

Take your reading one step further and learn how to lead with authenticity and inclusivity.

What People Are Saying About Steel Toes and Stilettos

“This book not only showcases the amazing things women can do within manufacturing, but it also highlights the many shoes (or hats) they tend to wear in the sector.

Kathy and Shannon’s friendship and comradery is not only moving but inspirational. This book is not just for women thinking about careers in manufacturing, but also business leaders who are thinking about learn transformations within their own facilities.

It will make you laugh, smile, and sometimes even shed a tear. Even if you are not in manufacturing, this book is a must read. You’ll enjoy the story of friendship and learn some of the processes that happen in manufacturing.”-Megan Ziemba

What People Are Saying About Steel Toes and Stilettos

“I’ve never said this before, but this is a must read for business leaders who have interest in systemic strategic transformation. It’s hard work. If you’re a Lean practitioner, you know. The question, “is Lean about methods and tools or is it about a way of thinking and doing” is answered in Steel Toes and Stilettos, by Kathy Miller and Shannon Karels. The authors share their journey of continuous improvement of a manufacturing plant and then across a business unit of a $14B conglomerate.

The real story is in the sheer grit of what it takes to move an organization from operational management to transformational value growth. They elegantly weave their personal lives and their relationship with their families and each other plus the ups and downs as the work challenges ebbed and flowed. A real story in organization dynamics and passionate drive for excellence. Insightful!

Thank you to Kathy and Shannon for taking the reader on your journey and sharing this experience.” -K. Fallon

What People Are Saying About Steel Toes and Stilettos

“Not all women in manufacturing have someone to chat with about work and life. This book is written in a way that it’s like having a conversation over lunch with a senior female leader. Highly recommend the quick read to provide the basic understanding of setting a goal and seeing that the path to the end is filled with all sorts of twists and turns.” -Tracey

What People Are Saying About Steel Toes and Stilettos

“I can attest to their story as I worked at corporate and observed it play out. The bar set for results was quite high as well as the criteria needed to get there. They motivated their team, persisted, and attained the goals set forth. What I like about this book is that it covers not only the tools, culture, and politics of change, but also the human side. Kathy and Shannon demonstrated how all their hard work was balanced with friends and family commitments which can be tough in today’s 24/7 connected world. I highly recommend this as reading for those about to undergo a significant lean transformation. It’s not for the faint of heart and the work never ends!” -Todd K.

Book launch party & picture with the book designer!

Steel Toes and Stilettos Strutting Around Town!

Beach vacations!

Stylish steel toes to go with the book! #xenaworkwear


Flip flops work too!