To coincide with our annual Women in Industry issue, Supply House Times will spotlight a new PHCP-PVF supply chain female executive each day during the work week in the month of March. If you would like to be included or know of someone who should be included in our 2019 presentation, email Chief Editor Mike Miazga at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cheryl Crowther, CPA
Company: The Thos. Somerville Co./The Somerville Bath & Kitchen Store
Position: Showroom Director (12 years)
How did you get in the industry?
After the tragedy of the 9/11 attack, I found my world in the retail tourist business crumbling. At that time, I was a VP sales manager with an independent multi-unit retail company focused on the retail tourist business in the Baltimore and Philadelphia areas. The ripple effect of the event that terrorized Americans caused a collapse of the tourist industry and forced the closure of our newest store at the Baltimore Trade Center. As a wife and mother of three I found myself, for the first time in my life, without a job. This was a very humbling and scary point in time.
After an extensive job search, I landed a position managing a Bath Design department for a new retail concept in the area. I had great sales and management experience but little to no knowledge in the bath plumbing industry. I choose to reinvent myself and learn a new industry.
I took a plumbing course at the local technical school, read every book, product catalogue and studied to become an expert in the field. I found that I had a real passion for the Bath and Kitchen industry. One of my favorite things is to design custom showers. My career continued to soar. As I quickly advanced in my career, it became clear that I loved the industry, but not the company I was working for. I needed to find a company that shared the same passion for business, and shared my beliefs in building relationships and excellence customer service. As I began to search, a friend and coworker told me about this great company called Thos. Somerville Co. I did my research and thought that Thos. Somerville Co. would be as great a fit for me as I would be for them.
After 12 years, my relationship with this friend still remains strong and my career at the Thos. Somerville Co. is thriving and rewarding.
What do you like the most about your job/company you work for?
I love this industry. We are really in the relationship business. Every day we have the opportunity to build a relationship with a client, vendor or employee to make a difference in their world. The Thos. Somerville Co. has given me the opportunity to thrive as a woman and a professional in this industry. I have had the opportunity to be creative and work in the field that I am passionate about.
How important do you feel it is to attract young professionals into this industry and why do you feel that way?
I feel strongly that it is important to share our success stories and be a strong role model in our industry for the future young professionals. To share with young professionals a road map to success so that they too can find this industry as personally and professionally rewarding as I have.
How important do you feel it is to attract women into the industry and why do you feel that way?
I remember when I initially started in the Plumbing and Bath industry, it was predominantly male. It is important for our industry to have diversity and be inclusive in the work force. I believe that women sometimes approach challenges from a different angle. We need the creative minds and fresh points of view to take us to the next level.