Christen Allen: Why Women in Industry is a must-join group
The opportunities for women in our industry today are greater than ever before. I think back to when I began my career right after college graduation.
Several of my family members worked in various jobs throughout the plumbing and construction world, but I had never thought I would follow their paths. Plumbing?! No thanks!
But after meeting with a recruiter, I learned of all the potential for both professional and personal growth within the industry. That was close to 20 years ago (gulp!). Fast forward to the present, and the possibilities are endless.
I am amazed at the growing number of talented, smart and driven women who work beside me, and I am especially excited to see so many young women enthusiastic to be a part of our business today. I recently reached out to several of them to find out what attracted them to the industry, what keeps them here and, most importantly, what advice they would give to the next generation of women looking for a place to begin their career.
Whitney Morgan, luxury sales director at manufacturers rep firm Harry Warren, grew up around the family business and started helping out as a side job. She soon realized the industry was more exciting than she had thought when growing up. “Our industry has traditionally been male dominated, but that is rapidly changing,” she says. “There is a very technical side to what we do that women can really excel at, just like any other STEM job being marketed to young women right now. What we do is not a fad. Plumbing will be around forever, and there is always something new coming down the pipe.”
Oatey Product Manager Connie DiBacco has been in the industry for four years. While it was rather accidental that she discovered this position, she loves influencing the design and development of new products. “It is very satisfying to impact the market with the launch of a solution-driven and innovative product,” she says. “There always is room at the table for more intelligent and energetic women. Companies are providing great training and development programs across all channels, including manufacturing, distribution and sales.”
It is imperative that companies continue to recruit, develop and retain women in an industry that was once perceived as a man’s world — boring. Even unsexy. Gina Acosta, director of showroom sales at manufacturers rep firm Rep South, encourages other women to, “Take the leap! We are involved in an industry that can improve health and sanitation for people around the world, outlast economic downturns and provide something we all need.”
That certainly doesn’t sound boring!
Morgan, DiBacco and Acosta are just a few of the women represented in the ASA Women in Industry networking group. As a member of this division, women will realize increased leadership opportunities, and personal and professional goal achievement, invaluable networking and connections, and receive quality training and skills development.
I encourage all women in the industry to join, and what better time to join than NOW! Join us at the ELEVATE2020 spring conference April 21-23 in Charleston, South Carolina. Visit http://www.asa.net/wii to learn more.
The opportunities are limitless! What an exciting time for our industry, and especially for women looking to build rewarding and successful careers.