When I accepted the position of editorial director at TMB Publishing last August, it was a big step for me in the direction of bold change. I spent the last 13 years of my adult career working my way up the corporate ladder — starting as an intern, and ending as an editor and community manager for a commercial construction trade publication.
In each role, I learned something new that helped me propel to the next step. I also had the privilege of having great mentors, both women and men, who recognized my strengths, and weaknesses, and helped me grow. And though I covered an industry that was mostly male-dominated, I worked in an environment that help pave my career path as an individual.
It’s not easy making a move from what’s comfortable, and nurturing — two things we are taught as women fairly early on, to embrace.
And yes, taking a leap into a new industry, in a new role, was intimidating. But I had to trust my training, and my ability to succeed in this next chapter. I had to be bold for change.
It’s turned out to be one of the best career decisions I’ve made. And I’m not just saying that because I’m surrounded by other strong, intelligent women … and men.
In the last few months I’ve had the opportunity to travel to industry events and attend sessions where I’ve meet some amazing women. Last month, I had the opportunity to sit in on four women-focused panel discussions at the AHR 2017 Expo; they were inspirational, and motivational. In the next few months you will be hearing more about, and from, some of these women and their journeys to success.
It’s our day: We should have more than just one
March 8 marks International Women’s Day 2017, and this year’s theme is #BeBoldForChange. There is a call to help forge a better working world — a more inclusive, gender-equal world. Speaking from my own experience, I know this is possible, and I’m ready for the challenge.
Joining in with me are some remarkable women I know, have worked with in the past, and work with today. I asked them, “What does ‘be bold for change’ mean to you?” Here’s what they said:
“Being bold for change is how women have to live their lives most of the time. I find myself being bolder as I get older and more tenured in my career. I teach my daughter to be strong, but empathetic and sensitive. It's a fine line for women, but I wouldn't change for anything!” - Cate Brown, Vice President/Principal at TMB Publications Inc.
“I was the first person, let alone woman, in my family to graduate from college, and I didn’t really appreciate the significance of this until I started my first full-time position representing a male-dominated industry that is niche, exclusive, word-of-mouth driven, and oftentimes technical. There is something isolating about all of this, but also challenging in a way that I crave and need to establish myself as a strong individual and connect with others. A couple years ago, I asked myself who my female role models and inspirers were, and I had very few who came to mind. I’m starting to allow myself to be inspired and to notice the changes that challenge the way we think about women — and men.” – Sarah Cimarusti, Editor of Plumbing Engineer and PHC News
“Standing in solidarity with women from all backgrounds and supporting one another in the fight for equality.” – Danielle Galian, Editor of The Wholesaler
“Be a mentor to young women at your firm to embolden them and help them move up in the ranks.” –Amara Rozgus, Editor in Chief/Content Strategy Leader? of Consulting-Specifying Engineer and Pure Power, and my personal mentor
“Being bold for change to me means to step outside of your own comfort zone and embrace the unknown. If you fail, it’s okay you can try again. If you succeed, be ready for the next challenge after that.” – yours truly, Sharon J. Rehana
My goal is to talk to leading women in the industry each month and share their stories, thoughts and insights. If you know a woman, or are a woman, who should be featured, let me know. This month, we talked to Sue Jacobs who tells us her story of being the only woman in a fifth generation family of Master Plumbers since 1895.
If you know any other women in the industry who would benefit from receiving this newsletter, please forward this link to them.