With an abundance of talent in the EM NARI chapter of women leaders in the remodeling industry, several members came together with Executive Director Michelle Glassburn to launch a new event: the Women in Remodeling luncheon (#WiRE). Once the tickets were made available, the event sold out in record time.
The panel featured moderator Kimberlee Dow-Marcotte, VP of Dovercraft, Inc. since 1986; Kathy DeMeyer, General Manager of Encore Construction and currently serving as EM NARI chapter President; Allison Iantosca, Owner/President of F.H. Perry Builder since 2008; Sarah Lawson, President/Owner of S+H Construction since 2016; and Julie Palmer, President of Charlie Allen Renovations since 2013.
They were also all advisors to the event along with Janet Ceddia, Altair Construction; Gail O’Rourke, White Wood Kitchens; and Julie Platt, Platt Builders. The event planning committee was chaired by Kelly Pappas, Foster & Sullivan Insurance, and included Sterling Bump, Custom Contracting Inc.; Amanda LaRose, Studio Bowerbird; Katharine White MacPhail, dEmios Architects; and Hannah Wirtz, Custom Contracting, Inc.
The luncheon was held at Wellesley College on Tuesday, November 13th with more than 90 members and guests in attendance. Female students and faculty from Old Colony Vocational Technical High School attended as guests of Dovercraft. A buffet lunch was served before the panel discussion. The event would not have been possible without the support of our sponsors: Gold Sponsor Foster & Sullivan Insurance; Silver Sponsor, Dovercraft, Inc.; Bronze Sponsors: Designer Bath, Yale Appliance, Encore Construction, Payne Bouchier Fine Builders, Elaine Fredrick Photographer, Federal Kitchen & Lighting, Elisif Photography, and GA design & architecture, Inc. Thank you to our sponsors and Jay Groccia of Onsite Studios for event photography.
Questions and Answers Posed to the Astute Panel
Michelle Glassburn introduced the discussion by citing a statistic: only 3% of the building industry is composed of women while 53% of the U.S. population is made up of women. This set the stage for an enlightening discussion about gender intelligence, leadership, and measuring success. The panel was asked to answer the question “what would you tell your 18- year-old self?” Answers touched upon mentorship, authenticity, respect, expectations and stereotypes, community and professionalism.
Julie Palmer’s advice to her 18-year-old self was “don’t think you know it all, don’t worry too much and be yourself – and this will change. Change is good. Don’t measure yourself against other’s success.”
Allison Iantosca’s advice was “get a dog sooner, take all three months of maternity leave,” which injected some humor and truth into the discussion, and “the sooner you figure out that no one else has it figured out yet, the easier it will be. Be gentle with yourself.” She also emphasized, along with the rest of the panel, the importance of mentors – both male and female.
Kathy DeMeyer explained that she had a wonderful female mentor – a building commissioner – who taught and encouraged her early on in her remodeling career. Her advice to her 18-year-old self was “Trust your gut.” And “Take direction from people who know more.”
Sarah Lawson spoke about assumptions and expectations in the remodeling industry and how those can both hurt and help women. All of the panelists spoke about company culture and life/work balance issues.
Questions from the attendees included handling emotions, encouraging more women to join the trades and developing community and opportunities.
Thank you to Jay Groccia from OnSite Studios for photographing our tournament. The photos from the tournament have been posted on the OnSite Studios Facebook page. Feel free to like, tag, and share photos. (Downloading and re-uploading is not allowed.) Please contact the photographer directly to purchase photos for use on your website, newsletter, advertisement or any other use outside of Facebook.