As we all came together in Las Vegas, NV on August 8, 2021, for National Women in Roofing Day we celebrated women of our industry. For many of us it was our first time to travel since COVID-19 shut down travel nationwide in 2020. It was great to be together again, and even more exciting to be focusing on the topic of this year’s day- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The day kicked off with NWIR’s first TikTok station focusing on DEI with the hashtag #morethanjustalabel. The participants filled out forms describing themselves as more than just everyone assumes or perceives. We are incredibly excited to put this content out there. Many of you will be stars!

Heidi Ellsworth of Roofers Coffee Shop then set the stage with her speech “Setting your Stage”. Lead by a song written and sung by the rising star Megan Ellsworth, this speech was an incredible beginning for the day. Focusing on recognizing equity and pushing kindness and connectivity, she set the stage for the day and our lives as she reiterated the importance of embracing differences and celebrating the care surrounding them.

The next speech was a tear jerker by Megan Keyes with Johns Manville. Her heartfelt testimony of her life and the effects this past year has had on her and her family was definitely the way to share the emotion and experience with everyone in the room. Megan, we salute your bravery and honesty. I can speak for us all when I say, we stand with you and black lives do matter. The next segment was the first of its kind, leading the way in our industry for LGBTQ+ discussions. Never before has any roofing company or event spoke of this topic. That’s right, NWIR was first. Beacon Building Products’ Alaxandria White and Margi Harney were the proverbial men on the moon with their session on LGBTQ+ 101. Beginning with a heartfelt truth and ending with tools to be better allying humans, these women knocked it out of the park.

Owens Corning’s Houston Young (the only man in the room!), Great Love, and Shelby Smith provided a segment on Courageous Conversations around harder topics that may be more vulnerable to discuss. This program is designed to further efforts to embrace diversity, encourage compassion, and build a culture of appreciation within and beyond the workplace. We were able to text in questions to strike up courageous conversations and see what implementing those into our own daily lives might look like. Great job on your forward thinking of future communication and a huge shoutout to Houston for being the lone wolf for the day! We appreciate you!

Remarks were then presented on the Equity Imperative by Jennifer Stone and Ellen Thorpe focusing on the importance of DEI within our industry with the introduction of the DEI-REIP (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion – Roofing Industry Education Program) that will be presented by NWIR in the near future. The industry is beyond ready and excited for this, and we are ecstatic to be leading the way.

Following this amazing first half, we were able to sit together in our own regions and connect on a level that presented close bonds and friendships throughout. Yes, some of us snuck in tacos but the champagne was on point! We had an amazing turnout for sign ups on committees. Now is the time to personally thank each of you for your commitment and volunteer work that keeps us one step ahead at all times. Break-out sessions marked the second half of the day with options for hot topics regarding material shortages, negotiating power in your life and career, family business navigations, mentoring and many many more. The TikTok station continued capturing the wonderful women in the halls, well and Houston. These conversations were spot on for the year and the future of roofing. Kudos to the Executive team and NWIR day committee on your selections for the day.

After the breakout sessions, everyone came back together for closing remarks and presentation of the annual World Award. This year, NWIR kicked it up a notch with the first every Rising Star Award. The resumes and words written by this year’s winners not only show they deserved it, but immediately created the feeling that we must all hunt them down and be their best friends. To our 2021 World Award Winner, Christine Mockenhaupt (Regional Ops Controller of SRS Distribution), we applaud you for all of your volunteerism and support. We applaud your work life balance and your award-winning performance in the office and as a mother. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom with us. To our 2021 World Rising Star, Heather Estes (Senior Codes and Regulatory Compliance Specialist with GAF), we applaud you for your willingness to always be there. We applaud you for your vulnerability and professionalism. We applaud your venture into motherhood and the grace with which you’ve allowed to yourself and to others. Thank you for being a friend to most and an open door to all.

Following the IRE on Wednesday night, SRS presented NWIR DEI Committee with $50,000 to further the education for the roofing industry around Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion efforts. DEI was presented the check during the Raising the Roof concert featuring Darius Rucker and Little Big Town on the closing concert for IRE. More to come on the importance of this moment and what it meant to us!

NWIR Day 2021 was a day for history. Write it in the books and stamp it on your walls. Women, History was made!

As November comes closer and we are talking about things we are thankful for. The DEI Committee is looking to highlight a few members (anonymously if you prefer) with personal stories. Are you Thankful for me November? As a woman of color, a woman who identifies as LGBTQ+, a woman of different social economic status, position and title in a company being overlooked in this industry happens often. We as diverse women often struggle with climbing the corporate ladder because of other things that set us apart other than just being a woman in the roofing industry.

Many of us love the roofing industry but have faced discrimination for many reasons. It often leaves us wondering “Are they really thankful for me and what I bring to the table?” We would love to hear from you and your real-life struggles and stories that will help start tougher conversations and give an honest perspective and representation of who you are and what you have had to overcome working in the roofing industry.

Reminder: the DEI has recommended to the book club “So you want to talk about race”, pick up your copy today for great discussion and a sneak peak into NWIR Day 2022.

Have a wonderful October and remember we are #morethanjustalabel.

P.S. It’s entirely possible that Ellen Thorp may be going viral today on Tik Tok! Head over and check it out- the weekly releases are coming! Lets rock the world!