This year in honor of Women’s History Month, Roofing Is Celebrating Women. Let’s not just celebrate the women who are written in the history books but let’s also celebrate ourselves. This month, you will see highlights of women to be celebrated within our industry.
LeeAnn Riddle, Southeastern Metals
1. 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?
I wish I had payed better attention to my dad when he was trying to teach me about construction. 😊 I joined the roofing industry in 1998 when I was blessed with an opportunity to join Southeastern Metals in Jacksonville Florida. I had a background in sales and customer service but in a totally different industry. I found out quickly that I had a lot to learn. The key thing I learned about myself is “listen to the customer and don’t be afraid to ask questions.” Open communication is the key to great customer service. The more you know the better equipped you will be to become an invaluable asset to your customers. I am proud to say that 23 years later I am still growing with Southeastern Metals.
2. In the spirit of Women’s History 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 cannot just pick one.
First and foremost – my mother. She was born in 1933. She was a strong, confident, intelligent, moral woman and ahead of her time. She played sports long before Title IX, she was the Class President as a senior in high School. She was involved in her Community and Church her entire life. She was married to my father for 63 wonderful years until he died in 2015. She accepted me for who I am without hesitation and she backed me in every endeavor I pursued. She molded me into the person I have become.
Second would be my wife. We have been together now for 17 years and she is my rock. She has incredible passion for everything she undertakes. She pushes me to enjoy life to the fullest. She understands the importance of working hard and playing hard. She has gotten me thru some difficult times over the past 17 years and she never waivers when times are tough, but even more important than that she gives me the opportunity to embrace life to the fullest with a wonderful companion. We enjoy travel, boating, golf, friendship, sports, and lots of laughter. She is as solid as they come and I love her dearly.
3. As we know, many of the women in our industry are always juggling multiple responsibilities. How do you manage a work-life balance?
I spend time with my family and friends and my puppies. I try to not work on Saturday or Sunday and I spend those days having fun with my family and friends. Boating, golfing, feeding goats and sheep (not enough time to explain how adorable they are when they are babies), yardwork(yes I do enjoy that), going out to dinner, playing games on my ipad, watching sports, playing with my dogs, and so on….. Weekday evenings are wind down time……Cook, talk, eat, watch a little TV – never the news – usually “no-nutritional value TV” with no stress.
4. Share an example of a time that you realized you were one of the first women to do something?
I was the first woman to graduate from college in my family. I am a proud Graduate of Clemson University. Go Tigers! That has always stuck with me as a tremendous accomplishment. I was also the first member of my extended family to “come out of the closet”. I believe that I opened a lot of minds to accepting people for who they are. I am very proud of that as well.
5. What have you done to ensure other women can follow in your footsteps and pave new trails in the industry?
I encourage women to learn the trade. There is tremendous growth in the roofing industry happening right now and the opportunities are there! I am proud to say that my company has strong female representation in the industry. New product development, sales, engineering, customer service, installation, transportation – there are no boundaries to what women can do in this industry.