Nora Toure – Engaged in Inspiring Women to Embrace Technology Careers in the 3D Printing Industry

By on July 11th, 2017 in interview

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 Nora Toure
Nora Toure

Nora has been involved in the Additive Manufacturing industry since 2010, engaged in inspiring women to embrace Technology careers in the 3D Printing industry. 

She started her career in the Additive Manufacturing Industry by joining Sculpteo. After 3 years in France, she relocated to San Francisco to open Sculpteo’s first overseas office. After leading the Business Development department from the San Francisco office since 2013, she has very recently been promoted to the position of General Manager Sculpteo Inc. 

Nora founded Women in 3D Printing in 2014 to feature women leaders in the Additive Manufacturing industry by sharing their experience online. She also co-initiated and co-organizes #3DTalk, an industry specific and educational event series featuring women in the 3D Printing and related industries. #3DTalks are global events hosted in San Francisco, New York and Paris, France.

Nora is also part of 3D Africa as Board Advisor, Board Advisor for 3DHeals, an Editorial Board Member for The Journal of Additive Manufacturing and the US Ambassador for the feminist newsletter “Les Glorieuses”.

Fabbaloo: Why did you feel it was important to create Women in 3D Printing?

Nora Toure: I believe the reason why we, as females in a Tech/manufacturing industry, are being noticed for being women is simply because women are not yet expected to be in Tech and Manufacturing fields. It is fairly new to have women in those industries, and a few men are still working in 100% male-environments.

I’ve been talking to women who have been building this industry for the last 20 years, and they shared with me that they didn’t realized nor paid attention to the fact that they were female in a male-industry until they started realizing there were more women around them in the conferences since a few years ago!

I wanted to share the stories of women who are building the Additive Manufacturing industry because we are usually not visible, and yet we are here, in numbers!

Go to any additive manufacturing related conference, and you will be able to count the number of female speakers on one hand, both hands if it’s a big conference, and yet, there are hundreds of women more than capable of being on stage and talk about their companies, innovations, researches…

Since they are not on stage, I wanted to give them an online platform to share their stories and work.

Fabbaloo:  Who is your mentor? And why?

Nora Toure: I actually do not have one mentor. I have been inspired by many men and women, and not only from the 3D Printing industry.

The first 2 women who got me on the tracks of founding Women in 3D Printing are Sandira Calviac and Evy Wilkins.

Sandira is a serial entrepreneur, who is deeply involved with social entrepreneurship initiatives. I met with Evy Wilkins while she was VP of Marketing at UNYQ, a company providing customized, 3D Printed prosthetics and orthotics devices.

Fabbaloo: How did you first get started in the 3D Print Industry? What is it that attracted you to the technology?

Nora Toure: I have always been interested in tech and sciences, but was also always interested in people. After 3 years of law school and a Bachelor of Law from the French University Pantheon-La Sorbonne, my interest in business and especially international business grew.

I completed a Master’s Degree in International Business Management and then was hired by Sculpteo. I had never heard of 3D printing before but found in Sculpteo a great opportunity to come back to my initial interest for Tech.

And of course, as many of us, I was hooked as soon as I saw a 3D printer in motion, during my job interview with Clement Moreau. 7 years later, no matter the printing technology we’re talking about, I’m still enjoying it as much!

What still attracts me today, except the fact that every hour is different from the previous one in terms, is that I really feel like what we’re doing in additive manufacturing is making a difference. I am stealing this one from Melissa Orme (CTO of Morf3D who will be featured on Women in 3D Printing as an Industry Insider later this month), as she says it all: “Designing for Additive Manufacturing provides engineers the ability to design for function rather than manufacturability”. Call me an optimist, but I love being able to help and being part of that change.

Fabbaloo:  How do you find so many interesting people to interview on Women in 3D Printing? If I know of someone who could be featured, how do I go about nominating them?

Nora Toure: I started by interviewing women from my own network. It will sound silly, but I thought we were 20 to 30 max and that I knew us all! It’s a chance the blog started to be noticed and more women reached out to me, sharing their work with me.

We featured almost 100 women through the blog to this date, got more than 20 women on stage during our #3DTalk panels (within less than a year of monthly events in partnership with Cyant), and I am still “discovering” women in our industry every week (seriously, at least 1 woman per week!).

I am lucky to have a team of volunteers helping me with the content and the marketing of the blog: Helene, Celine and Nathalie, so if you have suggestions of women you would like to see featured on the blog, simply send us an email here.

Fabbaloo: Can you tell us about any future plans for Women in 3D Printing?

Nora Toure: We will continue to develop our current content, featuring more women through the profiles, industry insiders, how to sections of the blog. We are also starting a mentor’s page where I’d like to work with local maker spaces and incubators.

Of course, we are continuing our partnership with Cyant to bring even more local #3DTalk events. #3DTalk is an educational and industry specific event series featuring a panel of women sharing their personal expertise and insights on a monthly basis and in different cities.

On the event side, I am not excluding working on something more global at some point in 2018…. But it’s way too early to announce anything.

Fabbaloo:  What was your most memorable moment related to 3D Printing?

Nora Toure: I have a number of memorable moments related to 3D Printing! Unfortunately, I can’t talk about most of them as they are linked to customer’s projects we delivered at Sculpteo.

With that being said, the opening of our US facility in San Leandro (with Sculpteo) was definitely a memorable moment as it meant we scaled up and got production closer to our customers.

Another memorable moment is when one of guests during a #3DTalk told us she met with a VC during the networking sessions that could lead to a game-changing situation for her company. That’s definitely the kind of feedback w
e’re hoping to receive when working on a monthly series of events!

 Nora Toure speaking at #3DTalk in Paris, France
Nora Toure speaking at #3DTalk in Paris, France

Fabbaloo:  Has Women in 3D Printing made a difference? How do you feel about the project thus far?

Nora Toure: When I hear about recruiters that are still struggling finding women to hire in 3D Printing, or even taking my own experience trying to hire more women at Sculpteo but not having a 50/50 ratio between female and male candidates on my desk…. I don’t think we’re there yet!

I see more effort done towards more gender balanced line up of speakers during events, which is definitely a good thing.

We are not done yet though and there is still a lot to do. It is a slow process to change something as big as an unconscious bias on gender and it will take more than a generation to get there. Women in 3D Printing is here to show both men and women that women are not less capable than men, at anything. Everything a man does, a woman can do, 3D Printing-related or not. 


By Marney Stapley

Marney is Fabbaloo's busy business manager, who normally works on marketing and sales - but occasionally writes a story for the blog itself.