We wish we were writing about ELEVATE2020, our annual spring conference, which was set to take place at the end of April in beautiful Charleston, South Carolina.
ELEVATE has grown to be something women mark on their calendars months in advance, petition their supervisors to attend and recruit others to join because they’ve found it so valuable for their personal and professional growth. Not in a million years did we think we’d be shifting our article topic due to a pandemic sweeping our country and canceling our much-anticipated conference.
While the success of Women in Industry is found in its membership, we thought this would be an opportune time to introduce the women who help in creating a culture of growth, and give back through their service on our executive council. Our vision, paired with support and guidance from ASA staff, drives our success.
Council members were asked two questions: How are you dealing with the changes faced by the pandemic, personally and professionally; and what do you miss most and look forward to getting back to?
1. CHRISTY MALONEY
Coburn Supply Co.
VP, Director of Finance & Strategic Planning
Chairwoman of ASA Women in Industry
“In the beginning, I adapted to the quarantine ‘rules’ easily by focusing on work projects and daily work routines. But as time went on I really missed being out on the road visiting our branches and seeing my fellow employees as well as industry associates. It has been quite a struggle the last few weeks and I, like all of us, am ready to get back on the road. Personally, I’m looking forward to going on vacation with my family and enjoying the normal crazy.
2. REBECCA FALISH
InSinkErator | Director of Sales – East
Vice Chairwoman of ASA Women in Industry
“At the onset of the quarantine, it was mentioned that our children will take cues on how we, as parents, respond to the new way of life and the stress of it all. The greatest challenge has been to balance the ongoing sad, negative news coming in from our our industry and the uncertainty of day-to-day with positive parenting. It is the hardest life/work balance challenge I’ve ever faced. I miss the certainty of knowing the ‘when.’ With many of us who travel, we are usually booked out for months in advance, knowing where we’ll be week after week. I look forward for those back-to-back weeks of travel and welcome back the crazy.”
3. CHRISTEN ALLEN
Elkay | Director of National Accounts
Lives in Louisville, Kentucky
“I recently read something that has really changed my perspective during this time. How we do business has changed, but why we do it hasn’t. This mindset has helped to keep me focused on what matters most, both at work and home. I miss my people: my family, my friends, my coworkers and customers. It’s easy in our hectic lives to take these relationships for granted, and I can’t wait to spend time again with all of these special folks. And shopping, I really miss shopping.”
4. SUZANNE CHREENE
Delta Faucet Co. | Senior Director, National Trade Sales
“I’ve started to build time into my day for more mindfulness. It might be a 15-minute meditation, or it might look like a two-to-three-mile walk that includes listening to a podcast that focuses on this topic. Brene Brown is my spirit animal! I also really like some of Dan Harris’ guests on the “10% Happier” podcast. I’m a hugger so I really miss being able to see my close friends and family, and just give them a hug! I really miss packing a suitcase, getting on a plane and seeing customers. I can’t wait to be able to go out to dinner in a crowded, noisy restaurant again or go to a sporting event or concert without having to worry about what I might be touching!”
5. MICAELA MCDONALD
The Collins Companies | Vice President of HR & Finance
“As a company, we are trying to serve our customers to the best of our ability while keeping our people safe and healthy. On a personal level, we are working with our new normal of being together all the time, being teachers, friends and counselors to our girls – which can be a bit more challenging. I’m looking forward to getting back to normalcy, but not losing what we’ve learned is most valuable through this process.”
6. SHERI NEWMAN
Lion Plumbing Supply | Vice President
“Personally, I have tried to maintain a positive attitude. I believe that is half the battle of getting through this crisis and life in general. The business side of things have changed daily. It’s important to adapt fast and be flexible. It all boils down to people and our relationships. I miss face-to-face interactions with those I know and love — and travelling!”
7. KELSEY RICHTER
Battersby Danielson Azbell (BDA) | Showroom Specialist
“I’m learning that I truly do thrive on in-person interactions, but I’m finding creative ways to still serve and interact with customers virtually, whether n the form of trainings or just ‘check-in’ video conferencing, I’m expanding my definition of my role as an outside salesperson in a manufacturers rep agency.I miss my family and friends. My immediate family is pretty close, we get together at least two times/week, and it has been rough being away from my niece and nephews.”
8. AMY SOUDERS
Winsupply | Vice President of Vendor Relations
“Communication and connection have been key through this crisis. Our vendor relations team is currently working remotely, so we have set up twice-a-week online meetings to help stay connected and in the loop. It’s nice to have the technology to at least see each other virtually! Our team constantly communicates with vendors, reps and Winsupply local companies to discuss how things are going in the industry. Now, it feels more important than ever to check in. Keeping a positive outlook helps. I work on my gratitude list every day. I’m grateful to be a part of the Winsupply family of companies. I’m grateful our company is classified as an essential business and I’m grateful that my family is healthy. We have been out of our house for almost two months due to a home remodel, so I miss my routine at home the most. It has been a challenge, but my family has been amazing and supportive through these challenging times. And I’m really looking forward to a pedicure!”
9. MYRA STORY
A.O. Smith Corp.
National Sales Coordinator
“Though working remote the last few weeks, I continue to do the same things as if I was going into the office each day and not just up the stairs to what I called my home office. In order to have some type normalcy, I still set my alarm for the same time each day, enjoy that first cup of coffee each morning and make sure I am always presentable for daily meetings. I conduct virtual meetings with my team each week to see how they and their families are doing. As we start to phase-in opening our businesses and respecting the new mandates of doing business in the upcoming weeks, we will continue to focus on taking care of our people and taking care of our customers. I miss spending time with my family the most, and especially those big hugs from my granddaughter. I also miss the face-to-face customer visits. We have so many great friends in our industry, and we thank them for taking the time to take our calls and answering our emails over the last weeks. This means so much and is greatly appreciated.”
10. JESSICA THACKER
ASA Women in Industry Staff Liaison
“I’m finding it more important than ever to cherish time with family and friends and the support we provide one another. In business, I’ve loved the opportunity to focus on reaching out to connect with ASA members. It’s what I enjoy most in my position, and this time has allowed me to do so proactively.
I miss fun times with my family, like celebrating my niece’s birthday that we had to ‘cancel,’ and seeing people in person rather than on video chats. Now that the weather is getting warmer, I’m looking forward to cookouts and going to my favorite restaurants.”
We encourage you to continue connecting virtually and let us know how you’re doing. Plan now to join us for ELEVATE2021, April 20-22 in Louisville, Kentucky. www.asa.net/WII.