When I envisioned my professional life it was not in the electrical industry. I didn’t make a conscience choice to be the minority in almost every room, every meeting and every industry event. I certainly didn’t think that my mother would introduce me to her church friends as being “very important” because I do what most men do in my field. And I never thought those types of statements would stir in me the need to drive change in the electrical industry.
I started off selling gas detection equipment to utilities, like confined space monitors. It was a very dirty job. I would climb into manholes, go on to chicken farms, and into meat processing plants. But I really enjoyed it. I have a degree in European History, so entering the electrical industry was the last thing I was expecting. But I was recruited by Ohio Edison and I never looked back.
I have a real passion for my job and for our field. What we do matters to every household and every person. We are the people who make sure the lights are on.
I also want to do everything I can to light the path for other women in the electrical industry. I am passionate about making the industry more attractive to women. I am fond of saying that the industry can't lose out on 50% of the ideas. Think about how much brighter the world would be if we could tap into the power of diverse thought.
This year, the National Association of Electrical Distributors gave me the Trailblazer award, which honored my commitment to advocate for women in our industry. I was so humbled that I made a difference, and even more honored that talented females were taking notice of our industry due in part to my involvement. Over the past decade, I have seen women take on more significant roles in the industry. We are slowly but surely taking our seat in the boardrooms too. We are challenging stereotypes every step of the way.
We are crashing the glass ceiling.