On September 27th, 120 women representing 30 states and all facets of the HVACR industry gathered in Fort Worth, Texas for the first ever stand-alone conference for the Women in HVACR. Described as “first class” by attendees, itwas a sold out event that included networking, technical trainings, soft skills training, and so much more.
The conference began with a meet & greet at the highly acclaimed Reata Rooftop, where women enjoyed a cool Texas evening with unobstructed views of the Fort Worth skyline all while engaging in conversations and expanding their network of women in the HVACR industry.
Tarrant County College Center of Excellence in Energy Technology partnered with WHVACR to host the conference. The state of art HVAC facility at TCC was the backdrop for a day full of inspiration, mentorship, memoirs, and a step-by-step guide to soar to success.
Elva LeBlanc, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost for Tarrant County College, kicked off the event with her own inspiring story. Julie Decker, current president of Women in HVACR, followed with a strong message on how to discover, build, protect, and empower our legacy. Mary Jo Gentry, Vice President and 2018 President of Women in HVACR, discussed the growth of women in our industry and what we can expect in 2018.
Rhonda Wiggins, Instructor, Hennepin Technical College, educated the attendees on the sequence of operation for a gas furnace. She had the room on the edge of their seats as she told stories of her career experience, including valuable lessons on wearing cotton to avoid the aftermath of melted undergarments in heated situations.
Just before a delicious lunch from Z's Cafe, Fort Worth Councilwomen Kelly Ann Grey energized the audience and encouraged each attendee to be a cheerleader for women. Jessica McKinney informed the audience on the efforts HARDI is making in Washington DC on behalf of our industry.
Melissa Santillan, graduate from the TCC HVAC program, taught the attendees to be winners and cheer each other on in a competitive game of rock, paper, scissors. Along with the staff at TCC, Melissa gave us a tour of the facility and then discussed how her experience in this program can help recruit more women into the HVACR industry.
The education component of the conference wrapped up with keynote speaker and former U.S. Army Black Hawk Pilot, Elizabeth McCormick. Elizabeth shared her experiences, demonstrated the power of positive thinking, provided tools to banish negativity, and showed us the steps to soar to success.
Following the conference, attendees gathered at Joe T. Garcias for an evening full of fun, food, and festivities. Mariachis and margaritas made the night one to remember. The women who attended the WHVACR conference left feeling empowered, energized and connected to women all over the country who want to help them succeed.
The organization and coordination of this event would not have been possible without the commitment and many hours volunteered by of the Women in HVACR Board of Directors, AC Supply Co, and Chris Noonan and Dionne Bagsby at the Tarrant County College Center of Excellence in Energy Technology.
Women in HVACR is a non-profit all-volunteer organization dedicated to supporting women in HVACR through networking, mentorship, and education. For more information about the Women in HVACR visit womeninhvacr.org
You have worked hard to get to where you are today. It took sacrifice, perseverance, dedication and yes perhaps a little stubbornness to forge the path for your legacy.
In the past 2 newsletters we discussed discovering your legacy; regardless of our ages or stage of life, we are constantly developing what we will be remembered for. We also discussed building your legacy; building a legacy is perhaps not something you think of often but every day we leave an imprint of ourselves.
Our third newsletter is about protecting your legacy. As a business owner you may be considering a succession plan to protect your legacy or as a career sales person, you may be working toward protecting your legacy by developing a reputation of trust and integrity. You may also be a woman protecting her legacy with your family. In any instance, protection is a very key element. It is to keep something safe from harm or injury (Merriam Webster).
Some questions may come to mind as you consider this:
What can I do?
Life moves at such a rapid pace that we don’t often stop to think about basic steps we can do to protect our legacy. First, write down your goals and dreams; you may be surprised at what you have already accomplished. Seeing them in ink and paper (or digitally) may bring clarity to what you have kept inside.
These will change as life experiences occur which is a great thing.
Visualize these goals and dreams like a road map in front of you. You will find you remain very focused. I call it staying in my swim lane. Distractions and delays will occur but the map will get you there.
Don’t be so hard on yourself. That’s probably the most difficult part of this as we strive to protect our legacy, achieve our goals and to make the lives of others enriched and better.
Announcing WHVACR 2017 Scholarship Awards!
Congratulations to the amazing women selected to receive the three $2,000 scholarships from the Women in HVACR 2017 Scholarship Program! This year the WHVACR organization received a record number of scholarship submittals from all over the country with highly qualified, motivated and inspirational women who have decided to make the HVACR industry their career choice. Though we could only pick three women to receive these scholarships, so many of the applicants were deserving and we wish you the absolute best in your studies and encourage you to apply again in the future.
Below is a brief summary of the backgrounds of the selected applicants:
During the course of one day, I might meet with a customer, use the forklift, drop off a bid, climb up a roof hatch ladder and attend an evening fundraising event. What does one wear to navigate a day like this? Steel toed high heels? There just isn’t a works-for-everything wardrobe for women in the HVACR field. No matter what I wear, I am literally NEVER wearing the right shoes.
I am an HVACR contractor and my role is mainly administrative and managerial. Rarely does my day require any tools or safety equipment, but yet I still struggle with finding appropriate clothing to get through a day. If I wear jeans and boots, I end up in a meeting with business suit-clad men and women feeling grossly underdressed. If I wear a suit, I end up getting laughed at by our technicians and getting grease on me from, well I’m still not sure where exactly or I would avoid it!
My solution to this clothing crisis? Most days, I end up wearing some amalgamation of business and business casual, but keep a stash of “work” clothes readily available for quick wardrobe changes, a la Superman/Clark Kent. I also keep a spare toothbrush, makeup and hair styling apparatus in my office if I have to get “spiffed up” for a business meeting or event. That way, I’m covered no matter where I end up in the course of a day. If you have suggestions/solutions for how you navigate from the office to the boiler room, I’d love to hear it! Share your #HVACGirlProblems on the Women in HVACR social media pages. We can swap tips and tricks and find some best practices.
The WHVACR Annual Conference held on September 27-29 in Fort Worth, TX was a fantastic place to revisit old friends and meet new. It was also the perfect place to connect with a future mentor. With lots of networking and social opportunities, many women shared common stories and challenges and established new connections to help them succeed with professional advice or sometimes just a sympathetic ear. Even days after the event, many women are still reaching out through social networking sites to continue to build on the relationships started at Conference.
Whether or not you attended Conference, we encourage you to join the conversation on social media. Find your mentor (or mentors) there or apply through the Women in HVACR website and we’ll help you find a mentor match just for you! Dozens of women have already connected with a mentor through our online Mentorship Program. To sign up for a mentorship match, or to become a mentor, please visit www.womeninhvacr.org today!
Don’t stop at the stat!
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