Rebecca Falish and Kala McDonald 2017-09-06 05:35:09
Getting to know you Each year at our ASA Women in Industry conference we have the opportunity to network and meet women in every facet of the distribution supply chain. At this year’s conference in Austin, Texas, we took time between sessions to talk to our colleagues about the industry and what it means to them. Interviewed below are: Araceli Lee, senior manager, eCommerce Sales, at Elkay; Amy Souders, plumbing market manager, finished goods, at Winsupply; and Danielle Laird, marketing manager at Bradford White. What brought you to this industry? AL: My father worked in the factory at Elkay for 37 years and I would intern in the plants. When I started 18 years ago, I didn’t necessarily think this would be my career. I wanted to do something I was familiar with, but then while working here I fell in love with the people. The people always were so helpful and they wanted to teach me. It was a great introduction to the plumbing world. Throughout my entire career people have been taking me under their wing and mentoring me. That is why I love this industry. What advice would you give a woman entering the industry? AS: Take advantage of all the opportunities out there. I have had opportunities to move for promotions and I was able to take advantage of those and each has been a great step up and has been good for me and my career. I know a lot of people are nervous about the possibility of moving and everything that entails, but as those positions and opportunities become available to you, make sure you say yes more than you say no. AL: I would encourage them to seek advice, network and know the women here want to help. Don’t be too proud and too shy to step out and be willing to ask questions. What makes a great leader? AL: A leader delegates, encourages and mentors others. They give people opportunities to fail and learn, and coach them along the way. What makes you a good employee? DL: I never back down from a challenge! I like this industry because you can pave your own path. There are no limitations on what you can do and what you can be. Every day is a new adventure and never boring! What is the greatest challenge in this industry? AS: As I’ve advanced and had different roles, there are so many things I want to do personally and professionally. Time management and finding what’s most important are the biggest challenges I have now in that regard. I’m trying to make sure I am focusing on the things that make my company the most profitable and, as a woman, the things in my personal life that make me the most fulfilled. Trying to make sure I prioritize things correctly is probably the biggest challenge I have now. What does ASA WII mean to you? AS: Women in Industry has been a phenomenal group to be a part of. All three conferences I have attended so far have been extremely informative. It’s a very supportive and very fun group, and it’s a great networking opportunity. It’s amazing to see all these women from different companies – distributors and vendors – all in one room. I love Women in Industry; it’s one of my favorite events of the year. DL: This was my first Women in Industry conference and in the span of 24 hours, I made many relationships. It’s nice to know my struggles and my successes also are within these women. It’s also nice to have mentors and to look up to women who have been in this industry a little longer than I have to see where I can be and what I can do. By Rebecca Falish email@example.com Kala McDonald firstname.lastname@example.org Rebecca Falish is the director of sales-East at InSinkErator and Kala McDonald is the director of human resources at The Collins Companies. Both are members of ASA’s Women in Industry Executive Council.
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