Kitchen & Bath Design News

MAR 2019

Kitchen & Bath Design News is the industry's leading business, design and product resource for the kitchen and bath trade.

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publish her projects. "By the mid-'80s, the magazines had many women at the top, and I would say that perhaps that helped, as the editors understood what their audience was seeking." Knowing that audience has been a big help to Karen Schroeder, co-owner with her husband of Mayberry Homes, and a leader with the National Association of Home Builders and its Professional Women in Building Council. "I've been involved in residential construction since 1979," she says. "I do see more women getting involved, being promoted in their companies and being recognized on a national level. As a past presenter and attendee of the Women in Residential Construction conference, it is encouraging to see more women in leadership positions throughout our industry." "The biggest change is that now there are more women in engineering and manufactur- ing," observes DePalma. More women in more diverse decision-making roles has had a ripple effect on how women are regarded on both sides of the desk. "I would like to believe our collective voices have shaped a world where women are no longer limited to pink power tools and we no longer encounter many 'booth babes' at trade shows," the agency head shares. "The number of women in senior man- agement positions has grown tremendously," NKBA's Williford points out, "and I am con- fident it will continue to rise to a more equal level. I am also quite pleased to say that there are many agencies, showrooms and manufac- turer rep firms where women have key execu- tive roles. This industry does seem to believe in meritocracy; if you do the work, you will be rewarded." Women industry leaders say get involved, volunteer, continue to train and network to really tap into professional rewards. Before she joined the staff of NKBA, Williford had been one of its presidents. Schroeder is a leader with NAHB and Hoffman is a chapter presi- dent with the National Association of Women in Construction. Thanks to the insights she's gained from members across the career spectrum, the tile estimator says, "I feel I am more well-rounded as a person, thus able to contribute more. Furthermore, I know I have a nationwide team of strong, intelligent, success- ful women on my side – to encourage me and to help with new areas." "There are workshops, webinars and classes that have proven to be invaluable," Schroeder says. NAHB offers them. So do NKBA, NAWIC and other professional and trade associations. "Our programs have always been well rep- resented – I can honestly say dominated – by women," Williford shares about NKBA's affil- iated schools program. Notably, many of the women who graduate from these kitchen and bath design courses remain and grow in the industry, unlike in architecture where many leave the field after a few years. "Architecture is still very male-dominated," Williford com- ments. On the other hand, NKBA's popular "30 Under 30" program for young industry achievers is also heavily female, the association executive adds. "This year's class is comprised of 21 women." "I love the fact that more and more women are getting involved," Schroeder declares about home building. "While it is still a male-dom- inated sector, make no mistake, women have a phenomenal presence and will continue to grow," she predicts. GROWING TRENDS AND GROWING PAINS One area where women can enter the field, grow and prosper is the building trades. There is an industry-wide shortage of skilled plumb- ers, electricians, carpenters and others essential to the creation of successful projects. "Bringing women into the trades in greater numbers is an untapped resource to help with the labor shortage," construction company owner Myers comments, "and I think our industry leaders need to step up to make this happen." But can women transition from being cat- called by construction workers to b ecoming con- struction workers? It doesn't all come up roses – or rose gold. "#MeToo is everywhere, in every industry," observes marketing pro DePalma. "We'll probably never know all the stories, because they are so hard to tell, but I'm grateful for the many women who have come forward. Thanks to those women – and the many men who support them – it has become much harder for this nonsense to keep happening." Myers is optimistic about the industry's prospects: "Healthy, strong companies are made up of a work force that is diverse on many levels, and companies that recognize this potential will be well served. Everyone needs to make a commitment to broaden how we see work getting done, who does the work, and set about redefining the future of our industry." LAST WORDS "When I first started in my career," DePalma remembers, "there wasn't an equivalent to the 'old boys network' lifting up the next generation of women the way men had always done it. As more women have assumed leadership positions, we set our own rules and have our own ideas about when and how to network." Now there are networks just for women in the industry. "The beautiful thing about organizations like NAWIC," Hoffman notes, "is we are there for each other – to help us gain confidence and build each other up. I know we are all busy and an organization membership takes time, but I also know the more involved I am, the stronger I become as a person and the more energy I have to put into my life overall." ▪ Jamie Gold, CKD, CAPS, MCTWC is an independent designer in San Diego, the author of New Kitchen Ideas That Work and the New Bathroom Idea Book (Taunton Press), and a design journalist, NKBA Chapter Presenter and industry consultant. Her website is She was named one of Kitchen & Bath Design News' 50 top innovators for 2017. Hoffman's estimating skills contribute to projects like the bath showcased above. Home builder Schroeder inspires future women industry leaders. Karen Schroeder with Mayberry Homes. Photo: Washington Square Condos/Designed by Houndstooth House, Sioux Falls, SD Photo: Mayberry Homes Photo: Mayberry Homes 42 Kitchen & Bath Design News • March 2019 TREND SPOTTING

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