The following is the transcript of the Roofing Road Trips Interview between NWIR Chair, Jennifer Stone and RCS Partner Heidi Ellsworth, discussing the events that were scheduled for Roofing Day 2019, which included an NWIR luncheon with presentations from women leaders in Congress.
You can read the interview below or listen to the podcast here.
Heidi Ellsworth: Hello. This is Heidi Ellsworth with RoofersCoffeeShop. Hopefully you have read some of my Roofing Road Trips on the Coffee Shop news page. I am lucky enough to travel across the country for RoofersCoffeeShop and visit with roofing professionals all about our great industry.
I am now thrilled to add Roofing Road Trip podcast as a new way that we can share the excitement of what is happening in roofing today. We believe in offering our audience several ways to learn on the coffee shop. Whether educational or for fun, we want to provide information how you want, when you want. So, whether you are reading or listening, I hope you enjoy Roofing Road Trip with Heidi.
So, let's get started. Today, I am talking to Jennifer Stone, National Women in Roofing Chair and our own RCS influencer. I'm actually not on the road yet, but we are getting ready to travel to Washington, DC, next week, Jennifer and I and many others, to go to Roofing Day and the National Women in Roofing Day Women's Luncheon.
I have worked with Jenny for several years, working together to start and grow National Women in Roofing. We met at an IRE and it has been a privilege and a pleasure to work with Jenny to grow National Women in Roofing and many other things that we work on together.
And one of the big ones is we wanted to do something with Roofing Day for all of the women in this industry. So, I've asked Jenny to be with us today. And to really help explain what's going to happen in Washington, DC, next week. So, Jenny, welcome to Roofing Road Trips Podcast.
Jennifer Stone: Hello, Miss Heidi. I'm happy to be here.
Heidi Ellsworth: I'm happy to have you. In fact, this is our first podcast. So, you know what-
Jennifer Stone: Fantastic!
Heidi Ellsworth: This is pretty exciting to have you on the first Roofing Road Trip Podcast. It is a tongue twister. But it is what it is.
Jennifer Stone: I won't try to say it.
Heidi Ellsworth: Okay. You have plenty to say about other things. So, talk to me. Why is National Women in Roofing hosting a women's luncheon at Roofing Day next week?
Jennifer Stone: kay. Well, as you know, it's the second annual NRCA 2019 Roofing Day kickoff. It's about 500 roofing professionals. They're going to storm DC for a day on the Hill. We're going to discuss all sorts of issues that are important to our trade. That being said, National Women in Roofing wants to encourage women to be heard and seen.
You know, there really has never been a more important time for women to be seen representing our trade. There isn't much more of a hotter topic out there right now than female involvement, trades, and immigration, right? Right.
Heidi Ellsworth: Yeah.
Jennifer Stone: So, we want to encourage women to show up in force to kickoff roofing day for the NRCA. When policy decisions are being made, you know, we all need that diversity of thought and representation to make that impact in Washington.
This luncheon allows us to kind of gather those thoughts together in a format that's really inspirational and thought provoking. Plus, you know Heidi, like you said, we've started so many wonderful things. And when women gather together, magical things start to happen. I've seen it time and time again in my life. And especially with the National Women in Roofing.
So, by having this kickoff luncheon, we can also kind of play a role as mentors for newly attending or new roofing professionals that this is their first time coming to DC you know, you have this opportunity to meet several women and have this inclusive feeling to then move forward to tackle the day.
So, you know, that's really kind of why we're having this luncheon and bringing everyone in together.
Heidi Ellsworth: You know, when we first talked about it, I was so excited to bring this together. Because last year when I went with Kim to Roofing Day, it was so intimidating. I was really kind of scared to walk into those Congress men and women's offices. And to know that all my sisters and my girlfriends are there and we're talking about it ahead of time, really understanding the issues, that just seems like that'd be a really important, like you said, mentoring time during that luncheon.
Jennifer Stone: Yes. And you know what we've seen with National Women in Roofing Day, when we bring all those women in together before the big International Roofing Convention starts, you see all these relationships build and then you can, you know, dive deeper into why you're there for content and education and, you know, you have someone to ask questions to. So, I think it's a huge thing for the mentorship aspect, for sure.
Heidi Ellsworth: I do, too. So what's the agenda? What do we have to look forward to?
Jennifer Stone: All right. All right. Let's start with the details. Okay. The luncheon is on April third. It is one week from this Wednesday. It starts at 11:00. It's at Charlie Palmer Steak House. There is the most spectacular view of the Capitol from this ninth floor deck. So, feel free to come early and take lots of pictures, too, ladies.
We have two congresswomen speakers with Q&A sessions that will be moderated after. We'll also be hosting mentoring table top discussions. And we'll really have, when we leave there, really tactile take aways to take home with us and some things that we can do in our communities and for our companies and politically. Plus, Heidi, we'll have champagne and food. So, it's all good.
Heidi Ellsworth: Yeah.
Jennifer Stone: So, we have registration at 11:00. And that will be from 11:00 to about 11:30, where we're going to have good conversation, pictures on the deck and some topics on the tables to network and talk about.
And then we have our very own Teri Dorn who works at the NRCA. She's going to introduce representative from Minnesota, Angie Craig. She'll speak for probably about 30 minutes. And we'll do a Q&A, too.
We have our own Sasha Bernhard, who was in roofing for years and years. Started to get politically active and made the jump. And now she actually works for Suzan DelBene, which is fantastic, out of Washington State, my home town. So, she's going to speak for about 30 minutes. And then we'll do a Q&A after that.
Once the congresswomen have spoken and we've got some good topics and take aways from them, from the Q&A session, we're going to have a little, "What you can do today," with Ellen Thorp. Ellen is our National Women in Roofing Association director. She also is very politically engaged on many fronts in the roofing industry.
And then the event will be over. However, we are keeping some time open to do more group photos on the patio, also additional mentoring at the tables. We'll have a host, table host, at each table to continue the talk, talk through questions, talk through agendas. Things that are going to happen.
And then the very best part of the day, Miss Heidi, is at 2:00 all of us are going to walk over to the NRCA registration as a force and ready to bring that dynamic female energy to tackle the mission ahead for Roofing Day. That's our agenda.
Heidi Ellsworth: I think it sounds fabulous. I am so excited! I'm really excited to listen to both of the congresswomen. Considering how many women were elected to Congress this last election. I think we are-
Jennifer Stone: Oh, my gosh.
Heidi Ellsworth: ... going to get some amazing insights on that. And then just to really be able to talk issues. So, I think it's going to help us all to feel more comfortable as we, like you said, go over and all register and then get to listen to Reid Ribble and all the experts that they're going to have go on to ROOFPAC, getting us ready for the next day. So, wow.
Jennifer Stone: Totally. Well, yeah. Both speakers are going to be incredible. Both congresswomen-
Heidi Ellsworth: Tell us a little bit about that.
Jennifer Stone: Yeah. As I will.
Heidi Ellsworth: Yeah. Thank you.
Jennifer Stone: Both congresswomen are going to discuss some of our hot topics, jobs, economy, with a special focus on that vocational training for the trade, which is very important to us. Congresswoman Craig, her focus and one of her top priorities is our economy and creating jobs. And that's exactly what we are looking for in our industry. She has that experience in agriculture that adds to the diversity topics and immigration topics that are really important to our industry. She's also raised four boys and has values that are very strong for strong families, empowering women. She's going to be a great speaker.
DelBene focus, she is a wonderful advocate. All of her experience, she comes from the tech industry and has a lot of experience in the male dominated industry, tech industry for sure. And she's going to talk about kind of how she overcame those things and worked within it. A few of her top initiatives that she's focusing on this year is supporting small women owned businesses, STEM education, job training, and apprenticeship. She's a mom. She works heavily to balance, you know, being a new congresswoman, her life, and all of her career. So, you know, Heidi, women are such an important part of this equation to help fill the labor shortage. National Women in Roofing, part of what we do is to promote education and then discussion on how to attract more women into the roofing industry.
So, by bringing in these two women and these speakers, we really are focusing on those parts of our pillars for education and recruitment, and being able to bring them in. Plus, during the lunch, both Craig and DelBene are going to spur on some of those tactile discussions we talked about, those take aways for the workforce training initiatives and immigration reform, infrastructure legislation. Which are all part of the NRCA agenda for Roofing Day. And we'll focus on those. That's about what I've got on our speakers.
Heidi Ellsworth: Jennifer, you are so right. I am just so excited to listen to both of these ladies speak and to really learn more. I mean, last year when we were there, we were able to listen to Sasha and also to listen to a number of Congress men and women. And what you take from that is just incredible.
And, you know what? I do also just want to say I am a huge Teri Dorn kind of fan girl. I think she's amazing. She works with [inaudible 00:15:43] all the time. And she just ... she's always on and working with Dwayne and Nate and Reid. I mean, the ROOFPAC team is pretty amazing.
How are we ... You know, how is National Women in Roofing working with ROOFPAC? What are we doing and kind of maybe you can make that connection for everyone listening?
Jennifer Stone: Yeah. Sure. I completely agree with you on Teri. She is an incredible woman who works incredibly hard and, you know, I had the pleasure of having dinner with Reid Ribble a couple weeks ago. And she actually used to work with him when he was in politics and brought her over to the NRCA. Which we're also lucky and really ...
Okay, so working with ROOFPAC, it's really the NRCA that's bringing all these issues to Washington. And with Reid at the helm over the last year and a half, two years, he's really energized the NRCA and ROOFPAC to focus on these solutions that represent every day contractor issues.
It's been really exciting to watch and see. To see Reid, Teri, the whole team at the NRCA. You know, especially all the focus for advocating and Roofing Day. And National Women in Roofing, we're a strong supporter and partner of NRCA. You know, we have all of these partnerships and we're kind of this spoke in the wheel that works together to improve and promote our fabulous industry that we all love so much.
We supported the ROOFPAC event at the International Roofing Expo in Nashville. Which raises money for events like Roofing Day and for our collective voice to be heard in Washington.
So, our partnership runs deep and I'm excited to see where it's going to go from here. All we want to do is support that, their efforts and to better everyone. Yeah.
Heidi Ellsworth: Yeah. I love it. I'm also ... I think Reid has done an amazing job. And the fact that we can all come together and really bring all these different ... all the different people from the industry.
And that's really what the Roofer's Coffee Shop's about, too. We are able to reach out and touch so many different people, National Women in Roofing does that, you know. So, we're all sponsors of Roofing Day. And it ... I don't know. I think it's incredibly important for ... It is probably one of the best things I've ever done, was going last year to DC.
So, one of the things that was a little difficult for me is really kind of understanding, really taking the time to understand the legislative agenda. And how to speak to that. And so we have some great initiatives this year. Maybe you can talk a little bit about that and at least prep some of our women who might be going to DC and all of our listeners on what are some of those initiatives. What's that legislative agenda that we'll have at Roofing Day next week?
Jennifer Stone: Yes. Yes. Well, we kind of touched on it a little bit when we talked about the congresswomen and what they were speaking on. Because it's really important that we all come to DC really with one, true voice. We don't want several different topics. We don't want our luncheon to be different than what the topics and the agenda is. Because all of us coming together to Washington is the most important part to actually make change on some issues for our industry.
During Roofing Day this year, there's going to be three topics that are advocated on. Now, you can find a massive amount of information on the NRCA website on these initiatives. I'll touch on what the three of them are, but there's so much more information out there.
The three topics. The first one is a robust buildings component for infrastructure legislation. Now, there's a long paper on what all of that means. But really the bottom line is the request to Congress is going to be to support the inclusion of public buildings in the broad infrastructure legislation. And to co-sponsor HR 1251 to encourage the needed investment in our nation's infrastructure. Again, you can find more information on exactly all of that on the NRCA website.
The second one is immigration reform that meets the roofing industry's workforce needs. You know, immigration is such a hot topic right now. But the bottom line in the request that we are going to go to Congress for is to co-sponsor the Workforce for an Expanding Economy Act. It's HR 1740. And also to support advancing the Dream and Promise Act, which is HR 6. Really, on a bi-partisan basis to address kind of these desperate workforce needs that we have in the roofing industry. So that's the second one.
The third one is expanding workforce training incentives. Training, training, training, education. And really the bottom line, the request for Congress on that is to co-sponsor the Jump Start our Business by Supporting Students Act and the College Transparency Act. And to include these bills in that broader educational reform for legislation.
I probably did not do them the justice that they need, so I would encourage everyone to go to the NRCA/RoofingDay to really read all the papers.
Plus, once you get there, at registration, every participant receives the position papers on each one of these really important issues. There's a kickoff with a briefing and tips on the best way to interact with Congress.
So, you're not, you're not going into it blind. You know exactly, you know, you've met some mentors now at your women's luncheon. You've had the kickoff, you have a good idea. And the NRCA staff is so efficient at really relating these so that you are strong and courageous when you go in to meet with the staff that you meet with the next day.
Heidi Ellsworth: Yeah. It's really true. Having gone through it last year, the training was phenomenal. In fact, Reid got up on the stage and actually role played how to talk to a Congress, someone in the Congress. And so, he really kind of ... It really helped me. I was able, "Oh, okay, I get it. I see how," you know, the things that are important, respect, and how you speak and how you bring the topics up. And so, it ... They do a phenomenal job. They really do.
Jennifer Stone: We really ... we're really lucky to have them in our industry. To be so strong and courageous. The government relations committee they have and the staff over there. You know, if you're not involved, get involved just so that you can be in awe of what's happening in our industry. Right?
Heidi Ellsworth: Exactly. Exactly. And I think it's so important that it really made me, last year, really sit back and look at my congressmen, my senators, what are they doing? And where do they stand on the issues?
And so, I know that's one way that women can get more involved is just by being informed and educating ourselves. But what are some of the other things that ... I know Ellen is just phenomenal at this and she's going to speak at the luncheon. What are some of the things, you know, that we have been talking about and that Ellen's possibly going to talk a little bit about on how women can get more involved politically?
Jennifer Stone: Okay. You know, Heidi, women have been involved in politics for a long time. Especially in their local communities. The PTA board is probably the most common as far as having those kind of board positions. But if you look at the high female turnout at the polls, you know, that's also politically involved. So there's ... Like you said, there's lots of ways that we can get politically involved.
And if you've seen this like force of nature that's happening on the national arena, look at the 2018 elections. Women were elected to Congress, to state, to municipal offices in record numbers. There are ... There are so many ways to get involved. You don't have to run for political office. But there's ways for you, for women, for men, to have a voice and to be politically engaged without taking the leap for office. You know, obviously one of those ways is to attend things like the NRCA Roofing Day. You know, your experience last year, just opening your eyes to new thoughts and ideas, that's what we can do to become more involved.
And, you know, the other thing, too, that we can do as an industry and as people that are working together, is stop steering away from these meaningful, political conversations. Especially with others in our roofing industry. Like, we don't need to be so divided. If we start ... If we have these conversations and mentor and initiate and give ideas, we're going to find we're a lot closer on these issues, especially as an industry, than we are divided.
So, I guess for women, just participate. You know, each one of us has such a strong voice. Use your voice to strengthen. You know, this our chosen career. And what we do right now and what we advocate for is going to help the lives of everyone around us and, you know, all of the families that we have to support within our skilled trade.
Heidi Ellsworth: That's true.
Jennifer Stone: So, together, yeah. We can make sure that the members of Congress are hearing directly from the roofing industry and women about our thoughts and concerns. I mean, it's so important just to show up and participate. I think that's probably the biggest takeaway on what we can do, you know, politically as women.
Heidi Ellsworth: That is exactly ... showing up. And I have to say, I was a little ... When I first started getting involved with ROOFPAC and NRCA and Roofing Day, I was a little concerned. Because I was ... politics are a scary thing. You know, we learn never to talk about politics or religion.
Jennifer Stone: Yeah.
Heidi Ellsworth: Right. But the thing that is so amazing about what the NRCA and ROOFPAC is doing is that they stick to the issues that are important to the roofing industry. So, it is a place where we can all participate.
Everyone agrees on the importance of training and of vocational schools and of a strong workforce. These are things that are very easy to talk about and to be passionate about. And so, I agree with you, Jennifer. I totally encourage anybody who is concerned about the future of our industry, this is probably one of the most important things we can do.
So, before we go. Of course, we just got to put a little bit in here about what is going on with National Women in Roofing? I have to at IRE. So, since then, what's happened? What's going on?
Jennifer Stone: Oh, my gosh. Okay. There's ... Well, first of all, I'm incredibly honored to be the chair it's a huge honor. I get to go around and speak with tons of women in our industry and be part of that excitement. It really ... It kind of makes my head spin how much is going on.
As you know, Heidi, it's funny. Because when we first started this association, we set out those long term goals. You know, we sat down a lot of time and effort went into the planning and set up of our association. And, you know, our five year goals, they were met within three months. And again, and again, and again, it's been the same story and the same story.
The viral movement we have witnessed is indescribable. It's just ... It's indescribable to watch. You know this. We have 38 councils of women across the country who are making a local impact through education, networking, recruiting, and really that true mentorship of one another. Oh, man.
So, you can see my head is spinning, we have so much going all the time. We can't even keep up.
Heidi Ellsworth: I know, I know.
Jennifer Stone: Our partnership keeps expanding. I know. It's like, what else is going on? There's too much to list. Our partnership keeps expanding as we continue to kind of be that wheel in our industry. The spoke in the wheel. We're the shiny spoke.
And as we see the need for inclusion, you know, in every aspect in association, you know, we see these partnerships coming, you know, from all over. Which really helps us stick to our pillars and our mission. You know, the newly branded IBEC, which was RCI, has recently become a really strong partner for us as we look to education. There ... So, some of these educational components of National Women in Roofing, their technical education is stellar.
And National Women in Roofing education, that content is different than what you find on the market in roofing. You know, it really includes diversity, inclusion, that emotional intelligent piece for employment, multi-generations working together, and that mentorship. You know, these are things that are really needed by companies and associations.
So, we have the opportunity to make a difference here. And clearly, we were ... it was much needed. You know, within just three years, we have over 1,200 members. It's true passion in a viral movement. You know, we anticipate big things this year. We have several pilot programs launching for community service, new to give back, recruiting and retaining women, and certainly education.
You know, to learn more, you can ... I highly recommend everyone to follow National Women in Roofing on social media. You know, there's, of course, several hashtags, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, you can always check out our website. And, you know, even become a member. Membership is very inexpensive. It's only $60. We keep it low as possible because, really, what we want is every woman and man out there to be able to join and afford it. And be able to, you know, become part of what we're doing with the industry.
We've also had tremendous support, Heidi, from our sponsors. Which you help us with massively. And this helps us keep our program funded. It helps keep membership really low. So, every single person out there can be a member. And it shows how actively participatory our industry is in this. I mean, we ... I'm in constant awe of the generation ... generosity and participation that just continues to grow and grow around National Women in Roofing.
So, I know this podcast is only so long, because I could talk all day about what everyone is doing. So, I'll just stop there. That if you want to know more, get the newsletter, you know, get involved.
Heidi Ellsworth: That's the trick. That's the trick is getting involved. And I have to tell you, every person who gets involved with National Women in Roofing gets so much more back than they ever ... you know, than that $60 or whatever it may be. I talk to ... you and I both, we talk to women every single day who are like, "This has changed my career in roofing." I know it's changed mine. And it just opens us all up to so many opportunities and potential.
Jennifer Stone: It really ... I think that's an understatement. In that I don't think we've been able to show the impact on a tangible level. Unless you're personally involved. And there isn't a day that goes by where I don't get some sort of email or call or card or something about, you know, how can I fix this or what should we do here, and look at what I've done here. And just this participation. It's incredible.
Heidi Ellsworth: It really is. And you're doing a fabulous job. I tell you, it's ... Having been on this journey with you for the last three to four years, it has been the highlight of my career. I am so happy to be able to have this podcast and this chat back and forth. And we are definitely going to do this again, Jenny. Because this is exactly the type of thing that we're hoping to continue to get information out in a really fun way.
Jennifer Stone: I love it, I love it. I'm happy to ... I'm happy to talk anytime.
Heidi Ellsworth: Awesome. So, let's ... few little details.
Jennifer Stone: Okay.
Heidi Ellsworth: Become a member or sponsor of National Women in Roofing go to NationalWomenInRoofing.org or reach out to Jennifer Stone, you'll find her on the site, to myself, email@example.com. We talk to women every single day and love it. The more the merrier. We want to bring it on.
Also, NRCA.net, you know, that backslash thing, Roofing Day. That's where you get all the information Roofing Day. I know it's only ... it's probably going to be a week out when everybody's hearing this, so if you can't make it this year, get it on your radar for next year. And also, we're going to be doing follow-ups. Right? This is a Roofing Road Trip. We're just talking ahead of time.
Jennifer Stone: Yeah.
Heidi Ellsworth: Yeah. So we will probably have some snippets next week. We'll definitely be writing it up. I may even be able to get some podcasts and some live takes there at the National Women in Roofing Day Luncheon. So, please stay tuned, everybody out there. Watch social media, that's-
Jennifer Stone: And you can still register. You can still register for the luncheon.
Heidi Ellsworth: And you can still register.
Jennifer Stone: You can still register for the luncheon.
Heidi Ellsworth: So many people who [inaudible 00:35:09]. Right?
Jennifer Stone: Yes, it's right on the front page. There's a link on NationalWomeninRoofing.org. There's a link right on the front page. You can click it, you can register, super easy. We'd love to have you.
Heidi Ellsworth: You know what, I used to live in Carlyle, Pennsylvania, I know that's an easy drive to Washington, DC. And I know there's a lot of women who work at Carlyle there, plus all the other women. Guaranteed I know is in ... you know, outside of Philadelphia. We've got lots of women in roofing that can drive to Washington for this luncheon. So please join us. It would be great.
Jennifer Stone: Yeah, it won't be ... yeah, but they'll ... You won't be disappointed.
Heidi Ellsworth: No, it's going to be perfect. So, Jenny, thank you. Your commitment to this industry and everything that you do is incredibly inspirational and motivating to me. You've always motivated me.
Jennifer Stone: I love that.
Heidi Ellsworth: So, our ... love it. We're here for each other. To all of our listeners, stay tuned. Because this is the first of many. We will be having several Roofing Road Trip podcasts. Still going to be writing blogs on it. If you have something that you would like us to talk about or someone you'd like us to talk to, just let us know.
Be sure to visit RoofersCoffeeShop.com for more podcasts, videos, webinars, and articles about the industry. We're committed to bringing you information how you want, when you want.
So, from the road, this is Heidi Ellsworth with Roofers Coffee Shop.