The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) established the Women’s Industry Network (WIN) as a way to unite women throughout the wood flooring supply chain. The group provides women with opportunities to network, support, and learn from each other, while developing programs and resources to address the needs of women in the industry. Identifying ways to recruit, retain, and advance women working in wood flooring is a priority for the network.
The first WIN event was held during the 2022 NWFA Wood Flooring Expo in Tampa, Florida. The group of about 100 attendees was welcomed by Barbara Titus, WIN committee chair and Julie Russell, NWFA Board Chair, who shared their experiences with working in wood flooring. Kayleen McCabe, a television host, advocate for skilled trades, and licensed contractor, spoke about ways to encourage more women to enter the trades. After hearing about the career paths of McCabe, Russell, and Titus, other women shared their journeys with the group.
Rose Mary Cummings of Maxwell Hardwood Flooring says it was great to meet and network with other women throughout Expo and the WIN breakfast.
“Women add so much value to this industry and contribute a great deal to the success and promotion of hardwood flooring. I have been in the industry for almost 30 years, and I’ve seen a lot of changes take place, but by far, one of the most positive changes has been the addition of more and more women getting involved and bringing their vision, organizational skills, and fresh ideas to the table,” says Cummings. “It was encouraging for me to be reminded of how much we actually have contributed and grown in what was once a predominately male industry.”
Mark your calendars now.
The WIN breakfast will take place on
May 4, 2023 | 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
at the NWFA Expo in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
If you have questions, contact Anita Howard with NWFA at email@example.com or call 800.422.4556.
Rachel Bilchak, marketing and events manager for Palo Duro Hardwoods/Lägler NA, says having the opportunity to come together allows women to see firsthand the undeniable impact that they have on the industry.
“The WIN breakfast in Tampa was the first women-only event I’ve attended since entering the world of hardwood flooring nearly five years ago,” explains Bilchak. “It provided excellent networking while simultaneously opening my eyes to the sheer weight of roles currently held by women. Listening to insights and advice from these ladies enlightened me as to how much has been accomplished by women thus far, and also made me realize that I have the potential to contribute to the growth yet to come.”
Also in attendance at last year’s event was Donna Millard of McMinnville Manufacturing. She says it is important for women to hear and share the experiences of other women in the industry, and to inspire others to have the confidence to succeed. She encourages others to attend the next WIN breakfast.
“Be a participant. You can be that person who inspires others. Personally, I was uplifted by the meeting. I felt energized and proud to be part of such an amazing group of professional women,” says Millard. “When women learn from other women, it is very empowering.”
At the 2023 NWFA Expo, the WIN breakfast will take place May 4 from 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Those who attended last year are looking forward to seeing even more participants this time around.
“You will meet some amazing ladies who have inspiring stories and great advice about what it takes to succeed in the hardwood flooring industry,” says Cummings.
“Be a participant. You can be that person who inspires others. Personally, I was uplifted by the meeting. I felt energized and proud to be part of such an amazing group of professional women. When women learn from other women, it is very empowering.”
— Donna Millard, McMinnville Manufacturing
Photos courtesy of NWFA.