During Women in Construction Week 2018, we’re talking to women in several different roles here at EquipmentShare. If you missed it, check out Part 1 to meet Danielle, Michelle, Leah and Cassie.
Being that I grew up the oldest of five and had four brothers, I seemed to be surrounded by it; however it was my own personal interest that lead me down that path. Luck is what it has brought me — I am fortunate enough to be doing what I love and love what I am doing and that is the reason I will remain in the industry.
Daily challenges! Every day is a new challenge and I love it. The people, the passion, the wide range of equipment to the scope of the mechanics, most importantly the way we are all a team!
Many! Being a woman in what has typically been a male-dominated industry and taking on the service side of it was intense. I had to work twice as hard as the men (technicians, service managers, etc.) as I was a woman who barely new how to check her own oil! After attending several hydraulic, engine, tier 4 classes (class of 30 or so mechanics and always the only girl), I was fascinated and wanted to learn more. Going around training men who have been working on these machines for years brought the challenge of being more than a "pretty face" (she's a girl, what does she know about service), I had to know the facts, my job and I had to earn their respect. I am very passionate about this industry and even more so about the service side of it. I continue to learn something new every day.
I was brought into the construction industry by my father. He has been in the industry for about 40 years now! I definitely would have never guessed that I would end up working in this field, but now that I see how complex and influential it is, I couldn't imagine myself anywhere else!
Being in the technology sector of the construction industry is the most exciting part to me. Every day, we get to change the way the industry has been functioning for as long as it has been around. I'm a huge proponent of technology as a tool to make day-to-day jobs easier and more efficient, so that would probably be my favorite aspect of what we do. It's not always easy or simple, but being able to sell someone our product and have them tell me that it has completely changed the way their company operates is the best feeling ever!
Although the construction industry is not the most obvious career path for most women, it is extremely rewarding. I am the type of person to never back down from a challenge, and being a woman in an industry, especially in sales, that is historically male saturated is a great feeling. It's always fun to walk into a room full of men expecting you to have no idea what you are talking about and be able to prove to them that women belong here just as much as they do. It's an industry where we have a lot of room to thrive and truly change the way things have always been (for the better!!!).
There is definitely a stigma that women do not belong in this industry. I've walked into meetings with my male counterparts where I am the one directing the flow of the meeting and answering all the questions, only to have the man I am presenting to immediately turn to the other man in the room to ask his questions, like I'm not even there. I've had people talk to me like I am a clueless woman who does not belong in the sales meeting. The best way to overcome these issues is to be secure and confident in yourself and know that you being a woman does not make you any less deserving of where you are. I always get a little rush of excitement when the man who wouldn't talk to me at the beginning of the meeting is eager to do business with me once he realizes that I am in fact smart and qualified to speak about the intricate details of heavy equipment!!
For me, the realization that construction is always going to be a major sector of the workforce is exciting. There is always something new happening and the industry grows more and more everyday. It is worldwide and connects millions of people. The best part of working in this industry is knowing that it is never going away and that there is ALWAYS something new to learn about it.
My husband owns an excavating company. I did the books, occasionally operated equipment and got my CDL to help move and wash out dump trucks. So I was familiar with dirt equipment and just needed to learn about aerial. I like learning new things and taking myself outside my comfort zone.
Learning about each person I meet.
JOB SHADOW! It is very different. You cannot take things so personally — be self-motivated and willing to learn new things.
Trust and respect from men in the field seems to take time. Also them feeling comfortable around a woman — usually the men out in the field are around mostly other men.
It pushes me and I love the challenges I get into daily!
The desire to work for EquipmentShare, a startup business with big dreams and great work ethic.
Meeting new people and learning about the equipment.
It’s a great career to feel accomplished.
Political correctness about women and working manually. I overcome it by jumping in and getting the job done.
Getting to be outside and working with the equipment.
EquipmentShare. I have seen EquipmentShare since it was first pitched at StartupWeekend 2014 in Columbia, Missouri. As a judge on that panel, it was inevitable that EquipmentShare would be the winner, as it did one thing that no other teams did — landed a sale within 54 hours of just pitching. EquipmentShare's style became the role model for future startup teams to follow. It didn't matter if you spent months building a product. If you couldn't sell it, it wasn't worth making.
The most exciting thing about what I do is serving my people. Making sure that no matter what we do we always keep the safety of our people first. That safety translates to personal safety, financial safety, environmental, pyschological safety, etc. We hire exceptional people and demand exceptional output. So that means, it falls on me to make sure they have what they need plus more. My philosophy has always been, if our people aren't constantly bragging about our culture, our environment, and excited about what they do everyday, then we're not doing it right and we need to fix it. And once our people are happy, everything else will fall into place.
I would say grab life by the horns and go for it. Construction is no longer an arena just for men and with the evolution of EquipmentShare, being in construction doesn't necessarily mean you have to be out in the field. But rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty will help you to truly understand the value in what we do and why we do it.
At EquipmentShare? It is primarily taking the time to sit down and listen to everyone's stories. From the people who are selling the product, the people building the platform, the folks supporting everyone — internal folks and external customer support to our end users. I feel that if we don't know their stories, understand their challenges, we can't empathize with them and deliver that value they are willing to invest in.
In life? Many. I was refugee-born, came to America when I was about four years old with my parents after we were granted asylum by the U.S. I learned two languages and became translator for my family and others in the community. I became the breadwinner and head of household at age 18 and sole caregiver for two aging parents while putting myself through college so that I could provide a better life for my parents. I worked in a factory and any odd jobs that allowed me to bring home enough income to support us all. I graduated with a BS in Math and Computer Science. With that education I was able to start a new life for all of us. My philosophy has always been, no matter what situation or time in life we are in, things happen to us because we are most equipped to handle them. It is up to me to find a way out because no else can do it for me. So, I took all those challenges with a smile, look at the problem in front of me, assess the situation and figure out what tools I have available to solve them. Those tools I generally pull from personal experiences and experiences of my parents and those around me. Once I have overcome the challenge, I sit back, reflect and find the growth opportunity that I can carry with me.
I love the challenge, the connectedness and the community that it brings. No matter the problem, there is always someone knowledgeable to ask questions, always willing to share their experiences so that you are never alone in your journey. You will always find support from your peers and your business partners. We put people first, which makes it such an amazing industry.
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