Women in the Mechanical IndustryPosted on July 19th, 2019
Following is an interview with Liz Learoyd from Trystate Mechanical. Liz was recently one of the attendees at the first Women in the Mechanical Industry Conference (WiMI) organized by the Mechanical Contractors Association of America.
TMI: Liz, you broke some new ground by attending the first annual Women in the Mechanical Industry Conference in June. Can you give us a brief overview of the purpose conference and format of the program?
Liz: The purpose of the conference was to bring together a group of women from all corners of the mechanical contracting world in the US in order to network and cast a wider net when it comes to having support. Most of the conference was conducted in the form of information and motivational seminars. At one point, we broke down into smaller groups for round table talks so we could discuss more personal issues and challenges.
TMI: Sounds like a valuable experience. Which parts of the conference did you find most interesting and why?
Liz: I found the round table talk I attended to be the most interesting. The title of the talk was “Finding the Work/Life Balance”. I thought that this would be mainly about balancing a family and working full time in a demanding industry. Boy was I wrong. This talk focused on our own well-being on an individual level, how we needed to focus on ourselves in order to have more to give to work and home. How putting ourselves first was actually the best thing we could do for both our productivity at work and at home.
TMI: That sounds very interesting. Now, what about the attendees…did they come from any particular types of businesses…what were their backgrounds…did they come from technical backgrounds…do you have a sense of their impression of the conference.
Liz: The women that attended the conference came from all facets of the industry. There were CEO’s of HVAC companies, there were controllers, project managers, assistant project managers, technology developers, any position that you can think of in the industry was represented at the conference. There were also women from the supplier end of the industry. One of the women that I connected with was the Sr. Manager of Construction Technology for a very well-known HVAC tool manufacturer.
TMI: It must have been very enlightening interacting with women from such diverse backgrounds. So, what did you bring back with you from the conference that is going to help you personally…and, what about professionally?
Liz: I learned that confidence and connecting with people are two of the most important things in life both personally and professionally. Trying harder to understand people for who they are as well as knowing my audience are the main things that I learned about that I believe will help me to be a more successful wife, mother and employee.
TMI: That’s sure seems like a powerful lesson. Was there some facet of the conference that you found particularly valuable or motivating…or, something you would like more of?
Liz: I would really like to see more opportunities to get to know more of the participants, to network more. There were 168 attendees over a little more than a day and a half. Though I did get to meet some great women, I would have really enjoyed the opportunity for more communication with one another rather than sitting at a table while listening to a speaker most of the time. More round table talks, where we could use our voices to relate to one another would have been incredible.
TMI: So, Liz, any final words about your experience at conference or advice to anyone who might consider attending the next one?
Liz: My advice is that if you are afforded the opportunity to go to the WiMi Conference, by all means, go. If the thought of it makes you uncomfortable, if you are intimidated by meeting new people, this is the conference for you. It will get you out of your comfort zone in the most comfortable way possible. You will meet other people just like you and people who have been walking the path for a long time. There is a lot to learn out there and this event makes it possible to tap into a wealth of experience, information and comradery that you just can’t find anywhere else.
TMI: Liz, thanks for your time and sharing your experiences at WiMi with us.