NWIR Provides Sponsorship for The Women Roofers to Attend Girls Build Camp

National Women in Roofing (NWIR) announced that it provided funding for two members of the Women Roofers to attend a Girls Build camp this summer in Portland, Oregon.

The Women Roofers of Rutherford County, North Carolina are a local group of volunteers that works with the Rutherford Housing Partnership (RHP) and Habitat for Humanity to roof houses. The Girls Build program offers day camps for girls ages 8 – 14 to learn the basics of building, including carpentry, plumbing, electricity, concrete, sheet metal and much more. Both organizations recently gained national attention after being featured on separate episodes of Mike Rowe’s show, “Returning the Favor.”

“Members of the Women Roofers wanted to attend one of the camps, but being a volunteer organization, didn’t have the funding to travel across the country,” explained NWIR Chair Shari Carlozzi. “It just seemed like such a good fit with our recruitment pillar to support an initiative that promotes the trades as a viable career to young women. Our executive committee wholeheartedly agreed and we decided to provide scholarships to cover travel costs for two of the women to attend.”

The Women Roofers sent four members of their crew to the camp, with two covering their own costs and the other two using the funding provided by NWIR. “The goal of sending the two founders of the Women Roofers to one of the Girls Build camps is to share our roofing story and our roofing expertise with the young campers and their leaders,” said Nell Bovender of RHP. “The Women Roofers are contemplating replication of the idea in our rural, impoverished neck of the woods — maybe camps for both boys and girls — to encourage entry into construction trades, which are so desperately needed in this county.”

RHP is also hosting a field day for high school and college students on October 3 at the local community college where they will share what they have learned about the need for construction skills.

For more information, visit www.nationalwomeninroofing.com.

 

National Women in Roofing Taps Into a Powerful Force

Photos: National Women in Roofing

In 2014, an organization devoted to helping advance the careers of women in the roofing industry was just an idea. Since then, the idea has become a movement. National Women in Roofing (NWIR) was officially launched at the International Roofing Expo (IRE) in 2016. The volunteer-based organization focuses on connecting and empowering women, and it has the support of more than 1,000 members — many of them men — and nearly two dozen sponsors. They all share the goal of working together to raise the professionalism of the roofing industry, bring more people into the field, and provide the education and training necessary to ensure its future success.

This February, Heidi Ellsworth handed over the position of NWIR chair to Shari Carlozzi. The two women shared their insights on the founding of NWIR with Roofing, detailing its current initiatives and plans for the future.

A Movement Is Born

Carlozzi and Ellsworth first discussed the idea of an organization to support women during a break at a meeting of the Midwest Roofing Contractors Association in 2014. As they shared their thoughts about working in a male-dominated industry,

Officers and directors of National Women in Roofing include (from left) Jennifer Stone, vice chair, executive committee; Jennifer Ford-Smith, secretary; Ellen Thorp, executive director; Shari Carlozzi, chair, executive committee; and Heidi Ellsworth, past chair, executive committee. Photos: National Women in Roofing

a light bulb went on. “We started talking, and we realized there are a lot more women in this industry than people give it credit for,” Carlozzi says. “There’s a lot of women! And we said, ‘We should start an organization where women can gather to network, to learn from each other, to mentor one another, and to help empower each other’ — because we are in an industry that we love.”

Ellsworth and Carlozzi shared the concept with Steve Little of Dallas-based KPost, who was then MRCA president. “He said, ‘That’s a great idea! We’ll help incubate you.’ And that’s how we got started,” Carlozzi remembers. “It went viral.”

As they traveled the country in their respective work roles — Ellsworth as a partner in RoofersCoffeeShop.com and Carlozzi as national sales manager for HAPCO Inc. — they soon realized that a lot of other women had the same needs. Many were even exploring the same idea. “At every trade show we went to, both of us would hear this from so many women,” Ellsworth says. “They would say, ‘We need to spend time together. We need to network.’ And networking is a big one because it’s sometimes a lot easier for guys to get together to network and women are left out. It was something that a lot of women truly believed in.”

Shari Carlozzi thanks the founding sponsors of the organization at NWIR Day. Photos: National Women in Roofing

After talking to others in the industry, it became clear the organization had to have a national presence. “We looked ahead to the IRE in New Orleans in 2015 and decided to have a little get-together and see if people are truly interested,” Ellsworth recalls. “We had 75 women show up. It just grew from there.”

The group formed a leadership committee and held meetings at industry trade shows throughout 2015. “It was at IRE in 2016 that we officially launched National Women in Roofing,” Ellsworth says. “We realized very quickly that there was a tidal wave — a tsunami — of women behind us who really needed this. We realized we had to take this to a national level, and we did.”

The Four Pillars

Overarching goals of the organization are exemplified by its four pillars: networking, mentoring, education and recruitment.

Heidi Ellsworth welcomes attendees to the inaugural NWIR Day, held February 4, 2018. Photos: National Women in Roofing

“Our four pillars we started with — networking, mentoring, education and recruitment — have been the focus of what we’ve wanted to do from the start,” Carlozzi says. “Some people are a little bit more involved in education, some people are a little bit more involved in networking — it all depends on what works for you. We’ve stayed true to our four pillars, and that has been extremely helpful in giving women opportunities to engage in what’s most important to them.”

Ellsworth agrees, pointing out that networking events and mentoring initiatives developed hand in hand. “Our first events were networking events,” she says. “One of our themes is ‘from the rooftop to the boardroom,’ and we had top leaders at companies including GAF, ABC, Owens Corning, Johns Manville — all of these ladies showed up early and then stayed on and helped to drive this. We partnered with 28 founding sponsors that first year.”

Mentoring relationships seemed to blossom. “I wish we could all take credit for it, but it just happened so naturally,” Ellsworth says.

Kelly Wade, CEO of North American Roofing, gives the keynote address at the National Women in Roofing’s Mentor Reception during the 2018 International Roofing Expo. Photos: National Women in Roofing

NWIR is launching a mentoring program this year, under the leadership of Mallory Payne and Melissa Walker, who head up the mentoring committee. “Mentoring has always been a big part of what we do,” Carlozzi says. “Men have more mentors than women do, and we want to change that.”

The education committee, led by Shelly Duhaime and Jennifer Keegan, is working on a full slate of educational sessions at industry events, as well as a series of webinars on topics such as networking, safety and business management. “Our education committee is on fire this year,” says Carlozzi. “People crave information. The only way we can excel in what we do is to keep learning.”

Carlozzi points to the NRCA’s ProCertification program as a model for educating the industry’s workforce and boosting professionalism. “We have to elevate the perception of the roofing industry,” she says. “We share the same values as the NRCA, and we want to speak with one voice to get the message across to people that this is a viable career option for you, whether you are a man or a woman in the trade, or whether you are looking for a career as a chemist, or an engineer, or a salesperson, or in data entry. It is a solid, reputable industry.”

It’s also an industry facing a worker shortage, so recruiting a new generation of workers is essential. The recruitment committee, led by Michelle Boykin and Chelsea Welsh, is active at employment fairs and career days, and NWIR is reaching out to other trade groups across the country to increase the visibility of the industry.

Part of the recruitment effort includes a commitment to helping women in crisis find employment and pursue a true career path.

Memberships and Sponsorships

The organization might be national, but it is also active at the local level. NWIR is developing councils across the country to cater to local educational needs and reach out to area community service opportunities. There are 29 local councils now, with a goal of reaching 50 by the end of 2018.

NWIR members participate in a breakout session at a mentoring workshop. Photos: National Women in Roofing

“It’s the best of both worlds for everybody because they get that national input through our epicenter — our newsletter and our website — and they can apply the information to what they are doing locally,” Carlozzi says. “We give local councils a lot of latitude to put together what works for them as long as they stay true to our four pillars and our national outreach program with women in crisis.”

Carlozzi and Ellsworth encourage all women and men to join the association. The membership fee is $60 per year. Half of the membership fee goes to develop and support local councils. “We made a very conscious decision to keep our membership dues very reasonable, and they are owned by the member,” Ellsworth notes. “If your career path takes you to another company, the membership goes along with you.”

Companies can help NWIR as sponsors. There are four levels of sponsorships. “We are also in the middle of our sponsorship drive, and that is a great way to get involved as a company,” Ellsworth says. “The value to the company — and its employees — is incredible.”

A Bright Future

Looking back at her tenure as the first chair of the organization, Ellsworth is proud of the group’s achievements and thankful for the friendships she’s made along the way. “It’s one of the greatest experiences I’ve had in my life,” she says. “The women I have met and the experiences we’ve had have been so empowering.”

Networking and mentoring have always been key areas of focus for NWIR members. Photos: National Women in Roofing

As Carlozzi takes the helm, she plans to lean on the talented team of women ready to take the organization into the future. “It’s a little overwhelming when you look at it at first because we came so far, so fast, and we have to keep that momentum going,” says Carlozzi. “In the process, we’ve had some exceptional, outstanding women who have stepped up and taken on the leadership roles that are needed to develop and maintain a national organization like this.”

When the industry taps into everyone’s talents, everyone wins. Carlozzi sees that spirit every day at NWIR. “Everyone comes up with new ideas of how to make things better,” she says. “Everyone is open to new ideas and assistance, and everyone is freely offering it. No one feels threatened — we’re all empowered. That’s the beauty of it.”

For more information about NWIR, visit www.nationalwomeninroofing.com.

National Women in Roofing Names North American Roofing CEO Kelly Wade as Keynote Speaker

National Women in Roofing (NWIR), a national organization focused on the empowerment of women within the roofing industry, has announced that Kelly Wade, CEO of Tampa, Florida-based North American Roofing will be the keynote speaker at its networking and mentoring reception.

The reception is scheduled for February 5, 2018 from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, Great Hall C. Registration is not required.

“We are thrilled to have Kelly share her story of her career path in the roofing industry that eventually led her to become CEO of this large roofing company,” said Mallory Payne, chair of NWIR’s Mentoring Committee. “Her advice and experience are sure to encourage and inspire everyone attending the event. The NWIR Mentoring Committee works hard to find speakers that are not only influential, but also have powerful stories and passion for this industry.”

The event will feature an interactive question and answer session with Wade following her presentation. NWIR is encouraging those planning to attend to submit their questions to info@nationalwomeninroofing.org by January 31.

Wade joined North American Roofing in 2009 as the Director of Marketing, and moved to the position of Director of Sales and Marketing in her first year. She became VP of Strategy, Executive Vice President, and then in 2015, Chief Operating Officer. In August 2017, she became the CEO and is responsible for the strategic vision and overall operations of the company. Since 2009, the company has grown top line revenue by 300 percent.

Wade grew up in Ohio with a small business entrepreneur father influence, and graduated from Miami University with a B.A. in English Journalism, and built a 20-year plus career of sales, marketing, business development and strategic planning. Wade earned her Green Belt in Six Sigma from Villanova University in 2014 and is currently obtaining her MBA, scheduled for completion in 2018. She has two teenage boys and enjoys running, travelling, hiking, volunteering, sports, food and wine, family, reading, boating and anything outdoors.

For more information, visit http://nationalwomeninroofing.org.

National Women in Roofing Announces Association Staff

National Women in Roofing (NWIR), a national organization focused on the empowerment of women within the roofing industry, announced that is now fully staffed to handle all management functions of the organization.

“This is a significant milestone for our organization,” stated Heidi J. Ellsworth, NWIR chair. “It’s only been 18 months since the organization began, and we’ve grown to over 600 members and now have the support of a team of contracted staffers to ensure the success of the organization.”

NWIR has put together a talented team of consulting contractors that includes:
• Ellen Thorp, principal of Meridian Consulting, as executive director
• Sarah Harwerth‐De Marco, owner of 6 Sides Marketing, as graphic designer and
communications consultant
• Julie Massaro, owner of JBM Business Solutions, as member services consultant
• Michelle Schulp, owner of Marktime Media, as web designer
• Jessica Schaller, principal, The Accounting Resource, LLC, as bookkeeper
• Barb Ilyes, president, Go Figure Inc., as accountant
• Hilary Morgan, senior associate, Trent Cotney Construction Law Group, as general counsel

“We’ve been successful getting started because of the amazing support provided by our volunteer members, who serve on various committees and give their time to keep the organization moving and growing,” explained Ellsworth. “We will continue to have working committees who contribute to the growth and success of NWIR and should see even more positive traction now that we have this strong team of staff members to support us.”

For more information, visit www.nationalwomeninroofing.com.