Addressing diversity and unconscious bias starts from within, as the National Women in Roofing executive committee noted during an exclusive interview at the 2021 International Roofing Expo.
"We've learned really it starts with the individual—your individual education, how you've individually see things," said Jennifer Stone, NWiR immediate past chair and Preferred Accounts manager at Johns Manville.
"We also know that women do better when they're in environments that are supported," said Ellen Thorp, NWiR executive director and principal of Meridian Consulting, LLC. ". . .[T]he companies that are most successful in recruiting women, onto their teams are those who are willing to go the extra mile."
Women occupy many different job functions in the roofing world, though too often they are unfairly pigeonholed as being in particular roles, such as administration.
"So many different sorts of diverse people can be in so many different positions in the roofing industry," said Michelle Boykin, NWiR vice chair and COO of Rackley Roofing. "We've got people on the roof, we've got people in insurance, we've got people in manufacturing and distributing—all these things."
The interviewees also discussed mentorship.
"Women need a network of people that they can freely talk to, that they can be open with and that they know will accept them," Stone said.
Added Thorp: "Women need mentoring and networking and education just like anyone else does."
Watch the full interview above.