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.
Rhian Cooper, Beacon
1. How did you get involved in the roofing industry? After I had moved to Dallas from the UK I was hired for my English accent as a receptionist for a roofing distributor/ rep group. Less than a year later they promoted me and I became their first sales lady.
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? That I have thick skin and can handle confrontation. I used to hate any kind of confrontation prior to being in roofing sales but being in a customer service role I have learned to turn it into a positive.
3. 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? My mother has been a huge influence on my life. She was a teacher who worked hard to become a school Principal when few females were in this position. She carried our family as the main breadwinner and also cooked and took care of the housekeeping when my father could not due to his clinical depression which could lay him up for days. She is my hero and showed me that women are incredibly strong and resilient. I appreciate everything she has ever done for me and has encouraged me to do anything I set my mind to.
4. Who is one of your favorite Women in History? Tough question as there are so many amazing female pioneers. One of the lesser acknowledged ladies is Ada Lovelace. She was the daughter of the poet Lord Byron. Ada was a brilliant mathematician and worked with Charles Babbage ‘the father of computers’ in her teens. She is considered the first computer programmer which is an incredible achievement especially as women were considered intellectually inferior in the 1800’s.
5. As we know, many of the women in our industry are always juggling multiple responsibilities. How do you manage a work-life balance? Having a work and family calendar helps to organize my time. I also could not maintain a balance, and my sanity, without my husband. He is incredibly supportive and we share the responsibilities in the home and with our sons. We also play to our strengths. I hate paying bills for example and he loves it! We absolutely cheat and outsource the cleaning and landscaping as family time is too precious to waste when we are not working.
6. 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? Looking back over my career, I see that positive impacts I have made have not come from anyone thing I’ve done, but the accumulation of thousands of small impacts I make every day. I work hard every day and I hope I am demonstrating to my sons that women can be leaders in whatever they chose to do.
7. Share something that you have been a part of that other women can follow in your footsteps and pave new trails in the industry? Back in 2002, I was one of the few female roofing sales reps in Texas. Over the past 18 years more women have taken on sales roles but we still make up a small portion of the overall sales reps in manufacturing and distribution. I continually encourage women to join the industry and have helped women get positions in sales through my contacts in roofing.