Last week, I had the privilege of attending the Women in HVACR 14th annual conference in Fort Worth, Texas. It was a great event, full of energy and inspirational women; these types of events usually are.
What really stood out for me, however, went beyond the usual call for mentorship and leadership. It came from a young lady who is new to the industry herself. She was one of the speakers at the conference, set to deliver her presentation immediately after lunch.
Melissa Santillan, inside sales at AC Supply Co., graduated from Tarrant County College (TCC) (which happened to be the site of the conference this year) with an associates of applied science (A.A.S) as a residential installation technician this past spring.
She wasted no time in waking up the crowd from their post-lunch state of mind with a fun exercise in teamwork, encouragement and confidence.
She invited the women to stand up and play a game of rock-paper-scissors. Every one of the 120+ women stood up to listen to her instructions. “Start by playing with the person next to you,” she said. “If you win that game, move on to the next person. If you lose that game, you must now become the cheerleader for the woman who won. Keep going until we have only two women left.”
And just like that, it was a room full of women cheering each other on. It was truly a feeling that stayed with me for the remainder of the conference, and one that I brought home. Women who cheer each other on help to raise each other through the ranks, and in life.
You should read about the conference and all the great takeaways, and then also consider joining Women in HVACR if you haven’t already. It’s a great organization.
Keep it going
There are quite a few industry events coming up this fall, and a number of them have events specifically for women. Starting with the American Supply Association’s (ASA) Network 2017, held in Nashville, Tennessee, Oct. 11-13, the Women in Industry will hold an executive council meeting, as well as committee reception.
Next, the American Society of Pluming Engineers (ASPE) will hold its 2017 Tech Symposium in Montreal, Quebec, Canada from Oct. 19-22. I know it’s early, but if you’re attending, be sure to make it to the Women of ASPE Committee Meeting on Saturday, Oct. 21, 7 a.m.- 3 p.m.
Greenbuild will be in Boston this year Nov. 8-10. You’ll want to attend the Women in Green Power breakfast on Thursday, Nov. 9. Separate registration is required so be sure to look into purchasing a ticket for this event.
Last, but certainly not least, the HARDI Annual Conference, held from Dec. 2-5 in Las Vegas, will host the Women in HVACR networking event and workshop on Saturday, Dec. 2 from 2 – 5:30 p.m. Make sure to register.
Who’s on top?
For the December issues of Plumbing Engineer and PHC News, we’ll be featuring the 2017 Engineer of the Year and the 2017 Contractor of the Year, respectively. I’ve been on the search for engineers and contractors, or their firms, that have gone above and beyond to stand out in the industry. Are you that person? Tell me why and you might just be the one we spotlight.
As always, 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.