Mary T. Zeis
Procter & Gamble, Retired
For raising public awareness of engineering as a profession for women; and for deep and continuing dedication to advancing SWE’s mission through STEM outreach to young girls.
Mary T. Zeis was an R&D associate director for Procter & Gamble (P&G) before retiring in 2009 following 31 years of service. Her career began as a process development engineer and progressed up the management ladder, with assignments of increasing responsibility in the laundry, dish care, oral care, and baby care businesses.
Zeis’ contributions to P&G included leading a cross-functional team that successfully launched Tide with Bleach into test market. She led a dish care department of 35+ employees that delivered two major technology upgrades. During that time, she also assumed responsibility for all P&G hand dishwashing products in North and South Americas as P&G moved to transnational management. After an acquisition, Zeis built the North American Pampers Baby Wipes department and program, leading to increasing volume and profits. She was the global project leader for an initiative that successfully developed and launched a common global Pampers Baby Wipes product and package. In her last assignment, Zeis led corporate R&D training, expanding the number of courses available, deploying “on the ground” courses in Asia and Europe, and training more than 1,000 R&D employees a year.
From the beginning of her P&G career, Zeis was a powerful voice for diversity and inclusion. Among many contributions, she created and led a new-hire women’s program and a summer intern onboarding program. She served on the GABLE leadership team, a gay, bisexual, and lesbian employees affinity group at P&G. She was an active participant in mentoring programs and led quarterly group lunches for the Baby Care R&D affinity groups.
When Zeis retired, she transferred her passion and skills to SWE, with a focus on K-12 outreach. She has personally participated in or led more than 100 outreach events since retiring, and has spoken to more than 1,800 parents and educators about engineering as a good career choice for their daughters.
She has been vice president for STEM outreach for the Pittsburgh Section since 2013; was chair of the K-12 outreach committee (FY16 and 17); and was the first chair of the SWENext programs committee (FY20). She has been on the “Invent It. Build It.” planning team since 2014, most recently leading the Parent and Educator Program.
Zeis joined SWE as a first-year university student in 1975, became a life member in 2006, and received her 45-year member pin in 2020. She holds a B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a volunteer leader for the Shaler North Hills Library, where she helps students in the community by creating and running math and engineering programs.
Zeis has been married for 43 years to Chuck Bleil, whom she met in engineering classes at Pitt. They have only six states left to meet their goal of vacationing in all 50 U.S. states.