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S2:E7 Coffee Conversations - The Rise of Women in Roofing - PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION

NWIR - Coffee Conversations The rise of Women in Roofing - Social size podcast graphic
December 1, 2020 at 7:42 a.m.

 

Editor's note: The following is the transcript of an live interview with Jennifer Stone and Renae Bales, the co-chairs of National Women in Roofing. You can read the interview below,  listen to the podcast, or watch the webinar here.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Good morning, everybody and welcome to Coffee Conversations. Today, as many of you know, we have a very special treat. Something that is probably the most dearest to my heart besides Roofers Coffee Shop, is National Women in Roofing. I'm Heidi Ellsworth. I am an owner and partner with Roofers Coffee Shop and today, I have the co-chairs of National Women in Roofing in the coffee shop and that is Jennifer Stone who is with Johns Manville and Renae Bales with KPost. Ladies, welcome.

Renae Bales:
Good morning.

Jennifer Stone:
Hello.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Hello. We have a full house out there. I'm telling you we have all kinds of people online. Thank you so much for being here today and I just want to remind everybody that this is a live Q and A, right? I was teasing Jennifer and Renae yesterday and I said, this is like the view but all about roofing and so we're going to have some great conversations with some great chats and what we really want is to have all of you be a part of this conversation today. So, in the background, we have Ms. Megan Ellsworth and she's going to be chatting with anybody and everybody out there to see who wants to ask a question, make a comment, share a story.

Heidi Ellsworth:
We don't care. We just want to hear what you have to think, what's happening with women in your company, what's happening in your area and share with Jennifer and Renae. In the meantime, we have questions that have already come in. So we're going to start there today and start talking about what's happening in National Women in Roofing right now. I probably ... amongst the three of us, we can't believe that anybody doesn't know what National Women in Roofing is, right? Everybody knows.

Jennifer Stone:
Right.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. Just in case, there is that one person out there, Renae, will you start us off and just kind of give the elevator speech, let everybody know what is National Women in Roofing?

Renae Bales:
Yes. Thanks Heidi. National Women in Roofing is a volunteer based organization and really our primary thing is to support and advance women in the roofing industry. We offer mentoring, education, industry recruitment and networking opportunities for these women and Heidi and Jennifer both, I think you've been in the industry long enough and it's just a matter of here and there, you pick up on different people or that one right person that helps launch you, helps educate you, help move you forward and this is a great place to allow that opportunity to happen.

Heidi Ellsworth:
It really is. It's a safe place. It's a safe place where you can really kind of help grow your career and make things happen. Speaking of that ... and I'm going to throw a little bit but Renae before we go too far, I would love it if you would introduce yourself too. I just want people to know you because you're so amazing, so can you just tell everybody a little bit about where you work, what you do, a little bit of your history?

Renae Bales:
Yes, I work for KPost Roofing in Dallas. We are a commercial roofing contractor and one of the owners, also started a residential roofing contractor. I'm the vice president of brand and risk and so that covers anything that comes out here with a logo on it, from a truck to a T-shirt, to an ad somewhere that comes out of offices. We do all the contracts for the company. We do banking, surety, insurance and then, I help with the residential team as well. So, I've been here for 12 years, I think maybe 13. So, I came in actually as one of the ... for both of the owners actually, as their assistant years ago and just over the course of time, again, doing more and more and was promoted to a vice president. So, I work some place that they value, a good work ethic in what you're doing and it doesn't matter if you're male or female.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I've heard a rumor, actually, it's not a rumor, I know it's the truth that all of the women and a number of the men at KPost are members of National Women in Roofing.

Renae Bales:
Yes, every women that is hired at KPost becomes a member and we do have some male members as well and I know, renewals came out the other day so I know, one of those male members said, "Do I need to renew or you guys are going to do it for us," and so, yeah, but we renew everybody every year and the company pays for it.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah, it's more than just saying it, it's doing it and that is ... we're going to talk a lot about that today. I think that's really what it comes down to. So, before we get to that, let's talk just a little bit about the history. So, I want to start this and that in 2014 or '15, maybe somewhere in there, Karen Edwards and I was at a bar at IRE, which probably no one is surprised about, that happens and I had this gentleman come up and say, I want to introduce you to this young lady who's just gotten involved in our company and who is running our roofing division, doing marketing, all this different things and upstep, Jennifer Stone.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Jennifer Stone said I want to talk to you and that's how our conversation has been ever since. So Jennifer, can you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about what, your part of the history of National Women in Roofing.

Jennifer Stone:
Well, I'm thankful that I did renew that day and that that gentleman said, "Listen, I know exactly who you need to talk to and her name is Heidi. I think you two are going to click. So, that's who you need so much and go talk to her about these things.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Thank goodness.

Jennifer Stone:
Okay, so now I forgot what you're asking. All right. So I'll just say real quick that I'm Jennifer Stone. I work for Johns Manville, which you said, which is great, I work on our owner services team which is a national account team that really works with owners. I've been with JM for about two and a half years and before that, I was on the contracting side. So with the roofing contractor and really on the operations roofing, business development side, it's incredible and how it started really for me with National Women in Roofing is my friend Liz Garza, who is part of National Women in Roofing, has this saying and it says ... she said, "Be the change," and when I moved from the ... I got into roofing from the horticulture side, green roofing.

Jennifer Stone:
When I came into the roofing side, there was some issues there with feeling included and seeing diversity. I started to complain a bit about it and how women were being treated in certain areas and potential and what I saw. It really came to that saying that she has, that you have to be the change and then when I met you, Heidi, there was a group of women that got together and through some other courses and such, we came together and started this association to make sure that there was always that inclusion and networking and education available to be very specific towards women and growing that diversity in roofing.

Heidi Ellsworth:
The thing is that again ... and I just want to say Johns Manville was one of the first along with SRS sponsors of National Women in Roofing and The Roofing Alliance. There's so many, I got to be careful when I say it first. Jennifer Ford-Smith was part of the national executive team also. I want to point out too, just having been part of that history, I want to point out that ... and this is going to be close to Renae's heart is that it takes everybody. It takes everybody to start this kind of an association. So I want to do a shout out to Steve Little, who works with Renae Bales at KPost, because Steve was president of MRCA. I pitched this idea to him. I said, we want to do this and he was one of the first to say, "Yes, we will support you," and from there ... and this is where Jennifer really was, I think ... Jennifer is like, "You know, that's great. It's great, we got started but this has to be national, Heidi and this needs to be national yesterday. So what are we doing?"

Heidi Ellsworth:
Then now, was where the second gentleman came in, who I want to call out ... and that's Trent Cotney because if anybody has been involved in an association or starting an association, you really have zero idea of what you're doing. You just do it and you just start bringing people together and then, you need people like Cotney Construction Law, who gives back every single day, who's still our general counsel at National Women in Roofing and makes all the details happen, right? So I think through that and then, all of the women who came together, it's been a great ride.

Jennifer Stone:
Yeah, it definitely has and when you talk about the journey and the ride and where we started and where we've come, it is incredible. I'll say real quick, Heidi, when we first got together, we put those five year plans together which we met within like a year and then, even Renae and I today, we're like trying to come up with these strategic long term plans but the councils and then our board of directors to run each committee. There's so many women that have so many great ideas. We can't even keep up. We can't even keep up, which we'll talk more about.

Heidi Ellsworth:
That's what I've seen from the very beginning. All the phone calls, all the ideas, I look at all the people who are on this call today. So many of the women who were involved, I mean, Shari Carlozzi. I got to give a call out to Shari, she's online. Shari, we did this on a beach at an association meeting, talking through these ideas way back. So, I think, really ... I don't want to spend a lot of time on that but I do want to share with everybody out there, just anything is possible when you bring the great people together. It's not just about men or women. In this case, it was a lot of amazing women but it's just bringing people together for that change, Jennifer, I think it's so true.

Heidi Ellsworth:
So let's go on because we're just going to assume everybody knows about National Women in Roofing. If you don't, there's a website, you can learn more. So we want to go looking into the future. So, 2021, ladies, you have been doing a lot of strategic planning. You are with the board of directors, I get to sit on that and kind of listen in. I still get to be kind of like a ... I don't know, I just didn't like the founding person there who gets to speak every now and then. You have some really cool goals. So Renae, maybe you can start out and I just found out about this yesterday. I love this, what you're doing and that's volunteer development? Can you tell us about that?

Renae Bales:
Yeah. So it's something that, we just kind of came across with so many women in the industry and having boards, having committees and many of these women have never participated at such level before. So, we just noticed that and we're looking at across the board that we need to do some leadership training. I think in these roles, I think they can learn a lot from these roles that they're in and it's things that they can go back and take them into their daily work and into the industry. I know, I hadn't been on a board before so sorted out on a committee and worked my way up but there was a lot I just didn't know.

Renae Bales:
I think there's so many women out there that could benefit from different trainings that we can put together and I think their companies will appreciate it, making them stronger within the company and make them a more viable candidate.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I think when you're putting volunteer training together like that or even just hands on training, being on a committee, being on a council, getting into leadership roles, that is huge ROI for the companies that they work for because all of a sudden this confidence blooms and it's easier to speak up, it's easier to share the creativity. I mean, Renae, you've seen that, right? I mean, with all the women who are involved right now.

Renae Bales:
Yeah and sometimes too, it's easier to speak out, women speaking out with women and once you feel the strength that you gained, that you really do know your trade and understand things, they'll definitely feel more comfortable stepping up in other areas and we really want that for everybody.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah, I love that. When you two shared that yesterday, I was just like, brilliant, brilliant. I've been working with some other women associations, Women in Metal, different things and I've been hearing this theme a lot. I know I'm going to kind of jump just a little bit, Jennifer, but that theme seems to be very active in a lot of professional women's groups right now. It is really giving the experience of volunteer leadership opportunities and that's another goal, right, for National Women in Roofing in 2021, to work with other associations.

Jennifer Stone:
Absolutely. So yeah, National Women in Roofing put together sort of three overarching goals that filter down through our committees or really, that's filtered up through our board of directors and committees. That's really how it happens, and we do. What we have is looking ... really looking at recruitment and sort of this cross industry developments, right? How we can connect with other associations, other women's groups, other people that are working in the trades, that are working to better all construction in all trades. That's another one. We have Ellen our executive director. We've moved to a new association management company, which we'll talk a little bit about later.

Jennifer Stone:
Ellen's focus now is a little bit more on that coalition, building coalition because there's so much knowledge, there's so many wonderful women's associations and wonderful associations within roofing and construction and kind of bridging that gap a little bit. That's another one of our goals this year.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah, we just kind of did it, right? I mean, when I look back over the last six, seven years, we just did it and I think there was a beauty in that. I think we knew roofing and we knew what we kind of saw and what we needed but now, you ladies are taking that to the next step and Ellen, leading that is so brilliant, because she has ... she's so good on an association level, things we never knew, right? So she ... when we talk about the history, I think we have to talk about Ellen Thorp and the fact that she kind of came in and herded cats for a long time. I mean, with me, she definitely-

Jennifer Stone:
She still does. She still herds cats. Yeah.

Heidi Ellsworth:
She's the one who really brought the organization and brought it to work together and then, I know ... and Megan, it looks like we have Shari out there with her hand raised, so we'll bring Shari on here in a minute. Shari brought more, more detail, more ... we always talked about using all the talents of all the women. Yes and I think we can only learn more from working with other associations, other professional women associations.

Jennifer Stone:
Ellen also is part of the larger coalition of associations that came together during COVID and that has been highly successful. So, that PR piece and that coalition piece is going to be a charge of ours for sure.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah, I loved it when, during the NRCA townhall, Ellen spoke and she talked about the group she's involved in, which is ERA, EPDM Roofing Association, National Women in Roofing. She mentioned the Roofers Coffee Shop, which I was like, "Thank you, Ellen," but to have that collaboration between all these associations, I think is so powerful.

Jennifer Stone:
We have to. We have to work together to move forward. We have to.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Speaking of working together and before ... we're going to have a question here in just a little bit, but before we go to that question, Jennifer, you've been working on something that has been so dear to both of our hearts and I know with Renae and the committee, the board of directors as a whole, but this year it's really come to the forefront and that's a new committee that you've put together, the DEI. So can you tell us all about that?

Jennifer Stone:
Yeah, when you talk about the evolution and the journey, we're all in different spots in our lives and how we see things and how we are and when we started, we thought putting National Women in Roofing together was the diversity, right? Like this is so diverse, this is DEI, this is DEI and then you soon come to realize through the journey of an association and humans, that we could do a little bit more here. We can do a little bit more. We had a call out for anyone, women, men, anyone who wanted to join the conversation and help us really look at what diversity, equity and inclusion looked like, for National Women in Roofing and the program and the content that we put out.

Jennifer Stone:
We had a great group of responses. We had three women who really rose to the top with their energy, their passion, their knowledge and really coming from their own space and story which was really beautiful, and even pushing me to, "Let's go, let's go, let's go," I can't even keep up with them now. So, we started a new committee. It is the DEI Committee and there is co-chairs, there is Rae July and then, Jess Cress and then, the vice chair is Meredith. We can talk a little bit more about those ladies and their information will be up on the website soon. They now are running this committee and the first goal that that committee has is to really create liaison to every other committee, right, so that every program that we look at, every content we put out, how does this look for diversity?

Jennifer Stone:
Diversity is one thing but then when you look at inclusion, what does inclusion mean? It's so different for everyone. It isn't a button you can push or a training that you can do and you're done. So, what does inclusion look like for all women in the roofing industry and how do we include more women from all backgrounds? Diversity isn't just gender or race, it's economic, it's political association, it's so many things and how can we start to put that in a framework? This committee has come together and I'm really excited to see them start to get more involved and some impactful program changes with the National Women in Roofing.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. Okay so for those out there who are maybe wondering, what does DEI stand for, what is it?

Jennifer Stone:
Its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and you really have to look at those three components together and separately, to have an impact within your associations or business or lives.

Renae Bales:
The biggest thing, going back to that too, for National Women in Roofing is the inclusion. Making everybody feel welcome, making everybody part of this fabulous group and I know with inclusion, I know Jennifer's mentioning women but the inclusion goes all the way out to the field, just between different races of employees or maybe it's even the same race, but it's a different culture within that race and how to break down those barriers, even for them.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I think it's hard to tie ... and I want both of you ladies to kind of touch on this, because it is sometimes hard to talk about equity and to talk ... because people often go "Oh, you're talking about my financials, you're going to hurt me," but we have to, because for so long ... and I'm going to kind of call us out and I'm going to call myself out but we would be at an event or something and we'd be really excited about saying, "Hey, construction is so great because women are making 98% to men," right and no other area is doing that as much and most places, women aren't getting paid as much and all that kind of stuff. When you dive deeper and you dive in to women of color, they are not getting 98% and in different ethnicities, different job roles it is not equitable.

Heidi Ellsworth:
So, I love the fact that when you ladies came up with this, and the Board of Directors and everybody who worked on that, and that I was able to sit in on these committee meetings that we talk about equitable and fair wages for everybody. I love the fact that National Women in Roofing is diving deeper and really-

Jennifer Stone:
Yeah, and we could talk about that the entire hour, right? Then, there'll be much more to come because there's a lot in there.

Heidi Ellsworth:
It's great. So, Renee, one of the things that we kind of talked about too ... and then I'm going to read some of these comments. In fact, I'm going to do that now. I'm going to read some of these comments, because they're just like, "Oh, it is so cool." So first of all, I mentioned Shari and Shari just sent a quick note and she says, "I was waving. I'm happy listening." So I just ... Shari I want to know, we love you and I'm reading the notes here as we go along, and from Rae July, who's one of our chairs on the DEI, she's also on sitting out there listening and she's like, thumbs up on everything that's going on. We have some folks here who have sent us in some notes. So Lorna Ross, who I think we all know. Megan, she just wanted to say National Women in Roofing is a big supporter of diversity.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Big supporters in my development. Jennifer and Renae are great, regards from Lorna. So, I mean, that's the kind of stuff that we've seen over this last year. Thank you, Lorna and Julie Vosenmire, we are a women owned roofing business. Yes. Love that, and company and we want to mentor women in construction industry also and they are loving what we're talking about here. There's another women owned business. Chelsea Line, "National Women in Roofing has been an amazing way for me to network and meet mentors that have been inspiring me since day one. I joined the organization last year and I've learned so much, I met so many wonderful people, even virtually in such a short time."

Heidi Ellsworth:
I want to talk about that. I want to talk about 2020 and COVID and what National Women in Roofing did and how it came together. So Renae, can you start us out, just your looks at COVID, at 2020 and the role National Women in Roofing played this year.

Renae Bales:
Yeah, I think it was a little bit kind of a slap in the face because we had just come off of having such a great IRE. We had such a great National Women in Roofing day, record attendance, everybody's emotions are high, spirits are high and then, 30 days later, a massive halt comes to the world. So, I felt bad for everybody just because everyone's so fired up for councils and getting together and all these ideas, and then, we all couldn't use those things. So we wanted to be able to keep everybody in communication and we just didn't want to break that line of communication. So, we came up with different educational pieces and virtual pieces to do online.

Renae Bales:
We did safety training. We did the Better Together series. We currently have a series going on for a mental health series, which is a series I'm looking forward to the future in roofing. I mean, so we've put all these different ideas together to keep people engaged and keep them knowledgeable about what's going on in the industry. One of my favorite things that has come out from this is with the events committee, they put together a book club, they put together a cooking class. The book club, they actually came together with that and they actually did it with women in restoration and engineering. So, that was a place for us to bring in another association, as well.

Renae Bales:
I know a lot of people had said, like, thank you for hosting these. Thank you for having these. They needed the communication during the time. They needed to see friendly faces and this was a great way to do it. I think on average, our numbers were about 174 registrants per each one of these items that we had going and even for the wind down Wednesdays with Christine. I mean, there was always something to look forward to or know what's coming up.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. So, as you all know, I love networking and my favorite were the happy hours. I mean, the education, I love it. It's awesome. It's off the charts but I just love the happy hours. There were a chance where people could talk about what was going on and Jennifer, I know you were on a ton of those happy hours, I was too, across the country because every council was having them. So, we were like, it was an opportunity actually, to get to go to council meetings all around the country without traveling, it's simple. So tell us about those and about all the different councils that are out there and how they're dealing with COVID.

Jennifer Stone:
Yeah, a couple things. So I think a good thing that the webinars did, The Together More Than Ever series or one of the benefits was really that personal connection and a lot of times all people that are in their employment and workspace, it's like how do you ... I mean, nobody knew how to juggle this, right, with all these kids at home and all this stuff and you're trying to do the best you can for work but yet ... like I have five kids at home. I have five kids still at home, doing school online and then, just that connection of those happy hours coming together regionally and with the councils and these sessions, where you see like kids climbing on you.

Jennifer Stone:
Now, Renae just said when I got here, she said, "Oh my God. Your hair is down, I haven't ... He knew like this messy bun or like six months." That is what makes us feel more included and whole and wholesome, like everyone is struggling. Everyone is trying to deal with this. Everyone is wearing sweats now. Everyone has to stop what they're doing and go help their kids and then come back. Those are the kind of things that really help, especially women, because that's mostly what we speak about, come together and feel whole, right? That was something that I'm happy that we did. It helped me personally. Seeing everyone else's story and be able to kind of have those conversations even at work like, "Listen, this has been months now."

Jennifer Stone:
"I can't be necessarily at full capacity, because I also have all of these children at home that can't go anywhere. That's not my fault. I can't do anything about it." Also, I'm a fabulous employee so what do we do and thank God I work for such an incredible company but everyone needed to have those stories. So, those connections, we have 38 councils, 40, is that right?

Renae Bales:
40.

Jennifer Stone:
Okay, 40 some councils across the country and it's been hard to stay connected and get together this year. So this series has really been helpful and the happy hours are fun, because you can just take a second. We've done some ... all sorts of fun things out there. It's from the book club. Now, we have a painting night so sort of mixing that personal touches, the education, your networking and then, looking at also making sure we're retaining these women in the industry. We don't want to lose women right now during COVID in our industry. We need them so we have to have this space for conversation.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. Renae, you mentioned Christine Mockenhaupt. She has been fabulous.

Renae Bales:
My gosh. Yeah.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I mean, she's just amazing and she has come with such creative have ideas. She's a council chair right now on the board. She ... Well, with Karen, sorry, Karen Edwards. Karen and Christine. She's just done such a great job and she just wrote here and I just ... anybody, Christine, anybody out there, if you guys want to come on, just let Megan know but Christine wrote, "National Women in Roofing has been the best and brightest part of the past COVID months. I've had so many forever relationships that may not have happened otherwise." I think it's going to make me teary. She says, "I love this organization of fantastic women."

Heidi Ellsworth:
I mean, that's the kind of stuff that I'm hearing because it's really been fun for me to be a little bit backed away a little bit and I hear so much more. When you're in the thick of it, you kind of hear all the problems. Then, when you get to be a past chair, you can hear all the great things. It's really awesome and I hear this all the time, Michelle Boykin who's on the board, an executive, she just said, "National Women in Roofing has had a huge impact on me personally, as well as our company. All of the mentors, advocates and friends I've met through this organization have been amazing." I know Michelle did a lot of these webinars on how to deal with small children at home.

Renae Bales:
Yeah, Heidi, if I can jump in real quick. Karen and Christine have been a big part in this as well during the COVID. There are councils, chair and vice chair and they, every week, have a call where councils can call in and ask questions or they talk about different topics but keeping that line open and alive, and they're out there checking in on councils. Maybe somebody hasn't joined the call for a couple of weeks, they'll call that council person and be like, "Hey, how can we help you," and they're giving them different ideas during COVID of like, "Hey, what can you do, so your councils can still stay connected," because they've come up with great ideas to share with the councils or maybe the councils have given them ideas, have shared it on the calls.

Renae Bales:
They have done a fabulous job just keeping those councils ... like not letting them just fall apart because they can't be together. So, they've been a huge ... just a huge connection for that.

Heidi Ellsworth:
To me, it's one of the most progressive parts of the industry right now. I mean, really learning how to not just say, "Well, some day, we'll all go back to normal, we'll get back to it." Nope. What are we doing right now to help each other and to make this happen? I just think it's incredible. So we have a couple more comments and I'm going to come back to those in just a minute but in our description of this Coffee Conversation, we talked about the recruitment and retainment of women and I think that is ... in the second half, I really want to focus in on that, on what is happening. Jennifer stone, maybe you can talk about what ... First of all, let's just set the base on what has the recruitment committee been doing?

Heidi Ellsworth:
I know that's ... you guys are probably thinking I forgot about it, but I didn't. That is the 2021 goal, the importance of recruitment, so why don't you share that with everybody?

Jennifer Stone:
Sure. Yeah. That rounded out our overall goals, the recruitment. During COVID, it was very clear that there ... with all of the unemployment, the layoffs, roofing becoming essential workers, of course, that there was opportunity there for us to really try to recruit into the industry and tap into some potentially unemployed or people that were looking for a career switch. Our Recruitment Committee, which is run by Paula and Brenna, incredible women, talk about two other women I can't keep up with. They put together this recruitment where people can post classified ads for free and really look at recruiting in our industry. So just like anything, we start sort of a pilot program.

Jennifer Stone:
We look at it. We plan it out, we pivot into something else and this is one of them. So one of the great achievements here is within like a three months time, we had 500,000 impressions on the ads for recruiting. I mean, that was incredible, so we took that and we looked at what can we do here? We spent a lot of time in our own industry and sort of marketing, if you will, to the normal group, right? What we're used to going after this partner with Roofers Coffee Shop for our classified ads, which is fantastic, and we appreciate that. How can we go outside and that kind of talks about other associations and networking that's another part of our goal.

Jennifer Stone:
So the recruitment committee has looked at new ways to target, right? So there's a new marketing campaign coming out. We're also kicking off the year with this Roofing Is campaign, which we'll all tie back into recruiting so that we can reach outside of our industry, right? What does that look like? How do we target hospitality? How do we target different schools? How do we look at our diversity in recruiting, not looking at the same old, same old, right? To really be able to pull talent from other pools so we can have the best of the best that could have been overlooked. So that campaign kicks off in January, so you'll see a lot more of that but really recruiting. Then, the second part of recruiting is really retaining, right?

Jennifer Stone:
Retaining women in the industry and National Women in Roofing is just one of those tools that can be used to retain women and help with that inclusion. It's not the end all answer for everyone, it can be but it's just another one of those tools to be able to retain women once they come into the industry. So recruitment is focusing heavily on those two things.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Well, I think ... Again, I'm going to go back to where we first started and Renae, maybe you can talk about this a little bit. When you see the company you work for, investing in you through membership, through sponsoring, through helping with these initiatives and KPost has been, I mean, just the leader in this. How does that help with your retention at KPost? How has that kind of helped you?

Renae Bales:
Well, that thing about that too, Heidi, going all the way back, kind to the beginning, Steve had said to me in the beginning like, "Hey, do you want to be the communications chair for Mass 11 Roofing?" Remember our newsletters back in the day, so it was like quite comical as compared to what we have now.

Jennifer Stone:
It's kind of long leg.

Renae Bales:
We have long leg. I'm just saying from day one, they were like, "Hey, you know, participate in this." So, Dallas has a local chapter here, that we have hosted different meetings on our campus or we've sponsored an event that they might be having and in our office, I think there's about 40 women that they encourage all of us to go like the events going to be in the afternoon somewhere, to go ahead and go. They encourage everybody to go to National Women in Roofing Day. I just know that girls came back after that, and just ... for a lot of them, it was the first time to go because it was in Dallas. They didn't have to travel. For them, they came back like, "Wow, now we see the bigger picture," but I think it's a great tool for them too.

Renae Bales:
They, themselves have met so many people just even here in the Metroplex, that they wouldn't have known before and have different connections. Then, nationwide, they do as well and again, I would like for them to join some committees and also, go through the leadership development, and I think that'll be another asset for KPost.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah, I really want to talk a little bit about the ROI because a lot of times ... I know there's a lot of people who believe in National Women in Roofing to their toes, right? I know there's probably some people out there too, who think, "This is kind of nice, you all get together." I remember at one point ... and that's probably my fault, where they're like, you just get together and drink wine and that's it, which is not a bad thing but again, it's so much more and so for every ... all of the roofing and distribution, all the owners out there, all the senior management folks who are listening, I think the ROI of diversity is something you have to put into your 2021 planning. It is one of the most important things you can do for your company.

Heidi Ellsworth:
The diversity of creativity, of thought, regionally, of gender, of race, of sexual orientation, it doesn't matter. Those type of things make a difference in a company that really studies ... study after study after study show that it's more profitable and it's also gross revenue on that top end. So Jennifer, what are you ... I mean, Johns Manville, I mean, obviously, huge and they give back so much to National Women in Roofing, not just in sponsorship, but in time, your time. Jennifer Ford-Smith's time, Melissa Walker's time. I mean, so many of them in there who have done things. How does that work? What kind of retainment do you see that helping with Johns Manville?

Jennifer Stone:
I'm not even sure how to answer that question because it's so deeply personal, right? JM, they're all in, right? They're all in. When you look at sponsorship, that's one thing that doesn't always come out in dollar and cents, right, is the time invested. We have so many big companies that are really allowing these women to gather, form, spend time and be invested as part of their job. JM is no exception. I spend a lot of time on National Women in Roofing, especially the last couple years, I'll move to past chair this year, and so that some other people can spend some time but that is such an important component. It also ... of course, like Renae, you were talking about the women within your industry. I know, there's so many other GAF.

Jennifer Stone:
Jennifer Keegan is on the board and she started talking about this mental health matters and GAF, was like, "Yes, let's get involved." SRS has a women's leadership and the retention that you see when you allow this sort of involvement in the industry, in any association but especially something that focuses so much on feeling included is ... I don't even know how to answer that because it's such a massive question, right? When you talk about the ROI, I mean, there's so many studies about effectiveness of diverse teams in all of this but that to me, it's like, why are we even still talking about this but I'm thankful. I'm thankful.

Renae Bales:
So, one thing I was going to say too ... so Jennifer, I know, when we go to speaking engagements that you're always ... to me, you've always come off as pretty cool and collected and then, I get behind the scenes with you and your little ... you're pretty little ... a little, hell of a panic stricken before this all happens. So, before National Women in Roofing like, I'm here doing my job. I mean, of course, I'm talking within our company but I'm not out talking to big groups of people. That is something that I would have said at the time like, scares the living bejeebers out of me. Now, I feel comfortable with it and it's something that I've gotten from being part of National Women in Roofing and being put in those positions.

Renae Bales:
I would probably say here back in the office, they might say now like, I probably speak up and say a little too much sometimes but I think that's a good thing as well.

Jennifer Stone:
It really is about helping people find their voice, there's a great quote by Ruth Ginsburg that says, "Use your voice, even if your voice shakes," right? I definitely have tried since joining this association and helping really pilot programs, I try to use my voice. I don't always say it right, most of the time, I don't and sometimes my voice shakes and I still try to get it out and hopefully that is inspiring to other women. Renae, we've talked about this. I don't always do it right. I was nervous this morning. I'm always nervous because this is so important to me. I don't want to screw it up, right? So, it's good for us to be human and see those things and come together.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I want to point out two things that you both have said here and it's that in the companies, allowing women to do these things, to get the more professional stuff like that, because guess what, if the men are doing it, the women should be doing it. It's just that simple. So, I'm always the one now, that I can shake the boat a little bit, not that I guess ... I guess I've always done that. The thing that's going to come down to it is the companies who do not create a culture of inclusiveness of everybody being able to do the things that need to do for their career, which then comes back to the company. It's not even about ROI at that point. This is about you're losing talent because this is not something that's going to go away.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I think there's a lot of times people are like, "Oh, they'll get tired, they'll go away." No, it's not and it's and really for 2021 planning and as people are looking at what ... this management is looking at what they're doing. It's not just about women, it's about everyone. Professional, career growth, networking, really moving beyond some of the old barriers and that's where diversity really will start taking root because you'll be looking outside of yourselves. One of the things I love about national women in roofing is that when you go into a council meeting and when you go into any meeting, the competition is left at the door.

Jennifer Stone:
Yeah.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I've had this conversation with so many different folks but they're like, "Well, my competitor is there, so I'm not sure I should be there or talking and stuff," and we're like, "Leave it at the door, we're not interested. Let's go in there and become the best professional we can become." I think that's made a real difference in the industry.

Jennifer Stone:
It's also interesting, Heidi that we've gotten that a lot, in the National Women in Roofing, I don't want all these women together talking about business but yeah, other associations and groups and forums have been together forever talking about the same thing. Why wouldn't we want women to feel just as empowered to be educated and there's so many emails right now, between councils, even that are going around like, "Hey, you know, what is this OSHA standard in this?" You need a tribe, where you can feel comfortable to ask questions, be included, get answers and grow the whole industry-

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. Okay, speaking of which, speaking of coming together, we have two people who we're going to bring on right now and I'm really excited about this. We're going to bring on Karen Edwards and Christine Mockenhaupt and they're going to talk about councils. They're like going, "Yeah."

Renae Bales:
Hi, girls.

Megan Ellsworth:
Christine, I do believe you are unmuted as well.

Christine Mockenhaupt:
Hi. Yeah. I'm on my phone. That's probably why it can't video but it's so exciting to listen to you guys talk because I think back to 2017, and I'm like, "Yeah, what's this National Women in Roofing? Yeah, you want me to start a council? What do I do? We don't have a toolkit. We don't have anything. We just kind of wing it." Just to see the progression that we've made over the years, so much information is available for all these people that want to start councils now and it's so exciting to find that person that gets exposed to it and gets excitement. It's like firecrackers, it just multiplies across the country. Like I said, in the comments, this whole COVID thing, there is not too many positives in this COVID mess.

Christine Mockenhaupt:
This is just the bright shining star. We started with those weekly wind downs, just because everybody needed a break on Wednesday night. It's like, we could just come together and reset and share with one another but we learned to become our authentic self. We've learned so much and grown from each other and I'm just so excited about it and you guys, sometimes there's a little wall and nothing is going on but when you have a meeting and you get everybody together again, the excitement just blossoms again. I'm excited to be on the council's committee chairing with Karen because we're just seeing it explode across the country. So I want to thank you all for having these webinars. Great start to my day.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I love it. I love it. Karen, there are so many comments on here about how do I start a council? How do I get involved? I just want to read ... Melissa Simon just said, "I love Rivers Coffee Shop." Melissa, I love you. Thank you, "And would love to be more involved in National Women in Roofing," it's her New Year's Resolution for 2021. So she's with Kim Lang in Texas. How does she get involved?

Karen Edwards:
Good question. I wanted to tag along to what Christine said, and sorry, I'm on my iPad today. So that's why I'm a little wobbly, is if you're on this call right now, on this webinar, and you're thinking, "Oh my gosh, I would love to be involved but there's not a council near me or in my area." You can always start one. It's super easy. It's free and we get incredible support from the board, from Christine, from me. We just had Virginia, Central Virginia get going again. The resources are there because you don't have to reinvent the wheel. There's a toolkit. We've documented the process over the years, so it does make it really easy. The other way to get involved is go ... Heidi, you're on the webpage right now. There's an events tab and every council adds their events to this calendar.

Karen Edwards:
I show up at different people's events because I can, it's virtual. Pittsburgh just had their first kickoff meeting. Christine and I were both able to join. Right before Thanksgiving, Virginia did their first Turkey Talks, I think they called it. So we hopped on for a half an hour. So you can look at this calendar and find the events that are happening and choose to come to some of them. The other way to get involved is to join a committee. There are many committees on National Women in Roofing, that if there's not a council in your area, Christee Holbrook is a good example of someone who wanted to be involved. She works with Kyle Thomas. Heidi, I can't remember the name of the company.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Thomas Roofing.

Karen Edwards:
Okay, and she's somewhere in the south. They didn't have a council and she said, I want to be involved. She became a part of the membership committee and participated monthly in the meetings comes to the board meetings now and there's opportunities on Communications Committee, Councils on Community Service. There are ways to get involved and that information should be on the website, easy to find but if not, feel free to reach out to any one of us and we're happy like ... who was it from Ken Lake that wants to get involved? Did you say, Chelsea?

Heidi Ellsworth:
Melissa Simon.

Karen Edwards:
Melissa. Hi, Melissa.

Heidi Ellsworth:
We'll get back to her.

Karen Edwards:
Karen@rooferscoffeeshop.com

Heidi Ellsworth:
I love it. Karen, you have done I think such a ... you and Christine have done such a phenomenal job on bringing people together on these councils and really getting past ... sometimes it's hard when you bring all these people together. There's a lot of, "What do I do? I'm not sure what happens," but meeting every week to help the councils succeed, that's a huge commitment.

Karen Edwards:
Yeah, every Tuesday, 3:00 Eastern Time, we are available from 3 to 3:45. Answer questions, and it's great too because the council share ideas then, "Hey, we did this and it was a lot of fun and it worked. Hey, we did this." Nashville did a hybrid event outside in the park but some people weren't comfortable, so they had virtual and in person and just talk about how did that work for you. How'd that go? So anyone is welcome. It's not just for leaders.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I am going to actually be on the Nebraska Council call today. They invited me to attend. Really, this calendar is so true. In fact, Nebraska should be on here, so I'll mention that today. This is really the way to do it and Christie is with Graham Roofing in Mississippi

Karen Edwards:
Graham. Thank you, Christie.

Heidi Ellsworth:
We had the wrong one there. We have about 10 minutes left, so I want to real quick, Karen. Christine, thank you, thank you, thank you. You guys can stay on or go. However you want to do. Real quick, I want to talk Jennifer ... or actually Renae, let's talk a little bit about the future, like what's coming up for National Women in Roofing. I know you've had a management change, maybe tell us a little bit about that real quick and then, what's happening?

Renae Bales:
Right. So we realize, we've gotten to a point that our growth has ... it's kind of got a little crazy. We started it out the first year with 524 members. I believe that was 2017 and the last I looked on the website today, I think it said 1400 and 20 some members. So, just the scope of work there, we've gotten to the point that it's way more than Ellen and her team can take on and really we were running Ellen ragged. So we went out and looked through the industry at different association management companies. So, we're doing what is called a hybrid with Civica. They're in Denver. So, Ellen is still our executive director and then Civica is more in the background, providing support. We still have all of our weekly meetings, executive meeting with Ellen. Ellen is essentially our liaison back to Civica.

Renae Bales:
Civica has an events committee that helps with National Women in Roofing day. They help with communications, they've taken over the newsletter. There's some big ticket items that they're doing that either Ellen was doing or our volunteers were doing on committees. So this has been great for us. I think it's going to be a great push forward for us as well. I think we can be more attentive to our members, offer some different help. We've gone through some management tools with Civica. We have some great new ideas to put out as well. So I'm super excited about it. In September, we had our board meeting. We put it off a few times but we did a virtual board meeting and honestly, it was fabulous.

Renae Bales:
I mean, everybody was on there, like maybe we have some glitches with computers or sound or whatever. At the end of the day, we've made it through, the message got across, all the committees got to talk and share information. So, we too have adapted to this whole virtual world from the top up going down.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah. I thought that board meeting was awesome. I got to hear everything and still work, which I know I probably wasn't supposed to but since I'm you know in that background spot, I can do that now. The upcoming events, Jennifer Stone, what's coming up and then we're going to end with on the pitch.

Jennifer Stone:
All right and then also, we want to talk about our wonderful sponsors too. We want to talk about that. Okay, so that was a great description, Renae as our new management team. That was a tough decision for our board, in the middle of COVID, to take that leap of faith to grow our associations that ahold. I think a lot of people in our industry are doing that, it really shows the resilience and future forward thinking of our industry. So, I'm really happy we did that. It's already paying so many dividends. What's upcoming? Okay, well, we have an annual reports webinar that's coming up. It's going to talk about all of these goals. Really go a little deeper too into what each of our committee goals are and the programs that are coming out.

Jennifer Stone:
That will be in mid January. As everyone knows, I think by now, the announcement has gone out. IRE has moved to August so our National Women om Roofing Day will move to August but there will be a lot of virtual content and ways for our councils regionally and nationally to get involved in the virtual events, so be looking for that. We have the Roofing Is campaign, which is ... it's really going to be incredible and going to tie back into recruitment. Our communications and our recruitment team is putting that out so you'll see sort of this Roofing Is come out. We also of course have educational webinars and content.

Jennifer Stone:
We're focusing a lot on our mentorship, that one-on-one mentorship and how we can develop that further within regionally in councils and affect ... really be able to pull in more women regionally. So those are just a few of the things that we have planned for 2021. It's too many to list.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Also, diversity day. We are partnering with NRCA on diversity. I don't know if that's what it's called but we're going to call it that today. Diversity day and stay tuned for that. We think March, sometime April may be that we're reaching out, reaching out, working with other associations to push diversity beyond just women, but a lot more diversity into roofing.

Jennifer Stone:
Yup. The diversity forum and there's three or four partners I know. I know for sure it's National Women in Roofing, the NRCA and a couple other partners that are coming together for that forum, so that'll be virtual too, I believe, we'll see. That's coming. Renae, what am I missing?

Renae Bales:
I think you did most of them, and I do want to throw out mentorship. So we would love for more members to go in and update their profiles, letting us know, would you be willing to be a mentor or mentee. I have a mentee and she's just been as much of a mentor to me as I've been to her. I think you learn ... I think they just bring a lot to the table. Michelle Boykin puts out a quote on Facebook multiple times it says, "Find another woman that you can lean on and learn from," and that's really what mentorship is about. So, I just hope everybody goes out there and takes a look at that because you never know who you can help.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yeah, and I want to do a shout out to Rackley Roofing because another company that really walks the talk. They are a sponsor, they're a platinum sponsor just like a KPost and you know what, I'm going to miss some sponsors out there so please do not be offended if we haven't said your name through this hour [crosstalk 00:58:20]

Jennifer Stone:
I mean look at Beacon. Look at Beacon. What beacon has been doing within their Women's and Leadership and getting involved, their regional. There's a gentleman named Todd Skaggs and he's pulled his regional teams and invites National Women in Roofing to come on and talk about it and talk about these issues and see where people can get plugged in. I mean, you have Tremco. All the women in Tremco, their sponsorship plus the amount of time that they let women spend to a lot like JM, all these companies, it's incredible and that really is a wonderful way to get involved. It has your company ... your company buys in, your women buy in and everyone starts to click.

Heidi Ellsworth:
They do and so ladies, just so you know because of this talk today, Jennifer Kramer, who's an amazing lady with Soprema and Derbigum just said and that they are so proud to be sponsors because both Derbigum and Soprema are our sponsors and that she wants to get involved in 2021. She wants to be involved on a committee, so watch out Jennifer.

Jennifer Stone:
We can't forget SRS and they're a sponsor, is donating the profits to National Women in Roofing. I mean, there's so many. I'm so blown away. You can go to our website too and look at the sponsors page. You can also see all the women on the board and committees and councils, the companies that they work for, the involvement. It's overwhelming.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I'm sorry, everyone out there. We're going to go a few minutes late, it won't be a lot but we're going to go for a few minutes. One of the honors that I have is that I still get to work with National Women in Roofing as head of sponsorships and so our chair, whatever. I don't really have a title but I use sponsorships. So, I'm just going to put this out there right now that if your company is ... it's as simple as 1000 to $25,000, if you want. This is something that again, what we've been talking about all along, enabled the opportunity for women to become members in roofing and men. I have to tell you, we have a lot of men who are a member.

Heidi Ellsworth:
This is something ... when you believe in diversity, it's a group you want to be a member of and consider sponsorships. This is an ROI, that you have no idea how much it gives back to your company. So, it's very simple, you can reach out to any of us. You can reach out to me, to Jennifer, to Renae, to Ellen. It doesn't matter but if you want to be involved, and then have ... just like Jennifer Kramer is saying, "We're sponsors, I want to be involved." That's all it takes. It's that simple and it happens.

Renae Bales:
Heidi, we want them involved. We want them, sponsor companies. Please, please, anybody just have your women sign up and become a part of it. I think it'll just be an experience that they'll grow from and just be so happy they've been a part of.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Again, Walking the Talk, a full volunteer leadership development program, opportunities to get involved. It just constantly gives back. I know I sound like I'm selling it but I don't have to. It's just the truth about the whole ... of what it offers to people and you can read some of these comments. I didn't even get to all of them but Brittany is on here, Jennifer Tropane, Wendy Marvin. All of them are just like, thank you, thank you, thank you. I want to say thank you to Jennifer and Renae because your leadership has taken this association to the next level. It gives me goosebumps and shivers because it's just so amazing to watch the two of you, co-chair to really show how women can work together and take something to a totally new level and that's what you've done.

Heidi Ellsworth:
So thank you for your give back to the industry and on roofing wouldn't be the same without you two.

Jennifer Stone:
Thank you, Heidi. I just want to say, even though Renee and I sort of helped drive the ship. It's all of our board of directors and committees that come up with all these ideas and really have to keep pushing us too, we just try to keep up. The shout out really goes to our board.

Renae Bales:
It does.

Heidi Ellsworth:
To every single woman who's involved.

Renae Bales:
Thank you.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Thank you. Thank you. So we're going to wrap up here but thank you all for being here today. I have to tell you, we could go another hour pretty dang easy. This Coffee Conversation has just been amazing. I challenge everybody watching to get involved, to get involved with National Women in Roofing, whether through membership, through sponsorships, or by simply getting on the E-news, getting on to the website and understanding all the great things that are happening and of course, National Women in Roofing is on Roofers Coffee Shop. So you can see their full directory, all their articles and most importantly, the recruitment ad. If you're looking to look for people, go to National Women in Roofing, place your ad and you will see it on Roofers Coffee Shop.

Heidi Ellsworth:
It is our way of putting that voice out there to everyone that roofing is cool, and you need to be a part of it. So ladies, thank you so much.

Renae Bales:
Thanks for having us.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Thank you. I invite everyone to join us in two weeks on December 17th. We're going to have our next Coffee Conversations and it's going to be very ... get the tissues out because this is going to be heartwarming. It is Trent Cotney and Cotney Construction Law is sponsoring our next Coffee Conversations and it's all about giving back and Trent and team, John Kenny, they're all involved in National Women in Roofing and now, they are helping to support roofing foundations. So we will have the chair people of the Roofing Alliance, of the Chicago Foundation ... Roofing Contractors Association, Florida and the Davis Memorial.

Heidi Ellsworth:
All on to talk about foundations, how to get involved, how to give back and why they're so important at bringing that next generation in to roofing. So join us in two weeks, same time. We'll see you all. Thank you ladies. Have a great day.

Renae Bales:
Bye.



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