Proud to Be a Window Woman

When I read the feature on women in the industry on page 32, I sat back, blew out a breath and said, “Writing my column this month will be easy.” Wow, was I wrong. Maybe it’s because there is so much to say I didn’t know where to start. So I’ll repeat a quote in the article from Carol Kelly, director of sales for Masonite. “We are not given the same runway that men are given, even to this day … You will be judged harder and faster, so you better know your stuff.”

Wow, is that ever accurate. But it occurred to me that the same comment can be applied to other minorities from diverse races and cultures. Age plays a role as well. This dawned on me recently when I was interviewed for an article on women in construction by ProVia. I told the story of how I started covering the door and window industry 22 years ago (around age 26). Right from the start, it was my job to attend association meetings. For almost ten years, I would see a certain respected male in the industry who never spoke to me and never asked my opinions, although he talked to other journalists in the room. Then randomly, at one meeting, he walked up and asked my views on a new Energy Star proposal. He walked away, and I said to myself, “Something just shifted. They take me seriously now.” And that was it—after ten years. It sounds crazy, but everything was different after that.

As I told that story to the folks at ProVia, I started thinking out loud and said, “Maybe it wasn’t because I was a woman. Maybe it had more to do with my age, and I just had to prove myself.” In the end, it doesn’t matter. But it’s a reminder to give everyone a chance. To let young, old, men, women, Democrats and Republicans (yes, I went there) offer their opinions and make their marks. Some may disappoint you, while others will surprise you.

I also told Provia the story of Janice Yglesias, executive director of the Fenestration and Glazing Industry Alliance (FGIA). I think Janice entered the doors and windows arena a year after me, and we were among the few women at these meetings. I knew back then she was smart and could hold her own talking technical terms with all the men. So I wasn’t surprised when the association named her their first woman executive director many years later. Janice can talk codes and standards, mullions and manufacturing with the best of them, and anyone who knows her will vouch
for that. Coming up the ranks with women like her just plain feels good.

I love this quote she gave in the article: “Seeing this evolution helps illustrate the true career path opportunities available in this industry for women … You can climb as high as your talent and hard work will carry you.” She is proof of that.

And I love that when Masonite’s executive leadership called for the creation of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts and the creation of supportive affinity groups, Kelly was one of the first to show up.

There is so much more all of us can do to bring others from all genders, ages and races into the conversation, our magazine included. In fact, we have made it a priority to tell more stories of diversity, equity and inclusion in all of our publications. If you have a story idea to share, please email me at ttaffera@glass.com.

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.

DWM Magazine

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