Leah Dougherty Commercial Excellence JM

AAPI Heritage Month Feature Questionnaire

1. How did you get involved in the roofing industry?
Total coincidence – I was working in chemicals manufacturing in the Northeast and wanted to find a job in product development out west. JM had role for R&D/Product Engineering supporting cover boards at the right time. Since then, I’ve moved into supporting our commercial teams and learning more about the details of commercial roofing.

2. What is one of the key things you’ve learned about yourself that you wish you would’ve known when you first entered the roofing industry?
How incredibly complex it is – and how much I’d really love it and thrive in trying to make sense of it all!

3. In the spirit of AAPI Heritage Month, who in your life has been an inspiring female figure that has helped you get to where you are today, physically, emotionally, intellectually and/or spiritually?
I am an adopted kid – both my Mom and birth mother have been essential in developing me to who I am. My mom has been incredible in coaching me to be a strong (physically, emotionally, intellectually) adult. It has never mattered to her that I look different than her and have made my own path in life – she has always been so supportive of this. My birth mother has always had a role – I can only imagine the strength it took for her to give up her child and to never know how her kid turned out.

4. As we know, many of the women in our industry are always juggling multiple responsibilities. How do you manage a work-life balance?
Boundaries, being flexible, meeting deliverables, and a really great boss.

5. Share an example of a time when you realized you were one of the first women at your job, school, family, or social organization to do something that had a meaningful impact or caused a positive change?

I am the first woman engineer in my extended family and it’s remarkably…a non-issue. It’s refreshing that my entire family treats it so normally. The meaningful impact is that it’s accepted and normalized – I think that’s one marker of success, where we see a woman in a role and don’t think “oh hey, that’s unusual!”

6. What have you done to ensure that other women can follow in your footsteps and pave new trails in the industry?

I think it’s important to be actively supportive and encouraging of women in the industry, in all roles – actively thinking about interactions with women coming into the industry and taking wisdom from women who have been working a long time. As I’ve heard a lot – this industry is all about relationships, and I think it’s no different here. It’s these small steps that help to create sustainable and real change.

Leah Dougherty
Commercial Excellence
Johns Manville