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Building the workforce of the future is difficult. Everyone knows the struggles faced by the construction industry when it comes to finding skilled trades or hiring employees. Join us for a conversation with Christi Powell and Judy Dinelle from 84 Lumber and the things they are doing to bring change to the industry.

Show highlights include:

  • How to do your part with the workforce emergency in construction before it becomes an even bigger disaster (2:42) 
  • How to convince parents to encourage their kids to get into construction instead of going to college (4:58) 
  • Why women have more fun building a career in construction than in accounting (8:29) 
  • How education and training in the construction industry can finally get rid of the stigma most men have towards women on the job site (16:28) 
  • The weird, yet powerful way to double the size of the labor force overnight by being more welcoming (21:57) 
  • The “Gentle Conversation” method for attracting more women into construction (without anyone feeling intimidated) (22:50) 
  • How being in the top 25% of gender diversity makes you 46% more likely to crush the industry average (27:35) 
  • Why women in a sales role in construction have an easier time than men (33:45) 
  • The “Elevation Secret” which makes the most misogynistic men appreciate women’s role in construction (36:23) 

If you’d like to connect with Nick or NS Builders, you can find their website here https://ns.builders/ and their Instagram page here: https://www.instagram.com/nsbuilders/ 

To get the most out of this podcast, or connect with Duane and Dave, head over to https://buildernuggets.com and join our active community of like-minded builders and remodelers.

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So I sat there and I thought to myself, wow, what an impact, not smiling had

Welcome to builder nuggets hosted by Dwayne Johns and Dave young. Hey, our mission is simple, build freedom. We are a couple of entrepreneurs turned business coaches who have dedicated ourselves to helping our builder remodeler clients create the most rewarding businesses in the industry. My co-host Dwayne has been a successful builder and remodeler for over 30 years. He's seen the highs and the lows. From the beginning though, Dwayne has been on a quest to find a better way to run a contracting business. In 2016, he found that better way. That's how I met Dave, a lifelong entrepreneur and visionary who measures his success by the success of those around him. He reached out one day with a formula on how to transform my business and the rest is history. Since then, we've teamed up to help hundreds of contractors like you build better businesses and better lives. Now we've decided to open up our network and share our secrets so we can start moving the needle with you. It's collaboration over competition. Each week, we bring together industry peers and experts who share their stories so that we can all build freedom together.

(00:59): We have two rockstar guests with us today that have dedicated their careers to elevating the construction industry. They work with many small businesses related to construction to build awareness for diversity and inclusion in the workforce by supporting efforts like minority and women owned businesses, national and, and local HBA programs like professional women in building along with a long list of community focused initiatives. These two women are true leaders in our industry. It's my pleasure to introduce Christie Powell and Judy Nell from 84 lumber to the builder nuggets community. Welcome to the show. Hey thank you. Thanks for having us. Yeah. So the two of you, I know they extremely busy, so definitely thank you for taking some time to chat with us today. Probably a good place to start is for the two of you, maybe tell a little bit about yourselves, your roles with 84 84 lumber. So who wants to go first? I could kick it off if you want. I'm Judy Nell, like, like the Wayne said, and I'm the building ambassador for 84, a lumber. So you ask what is that? It's the liaison between all home builders associations and like organizations and 84 across the country. That's what I do.

(02:14): That's cool. Christy. So I am the women business enterprise market manager. What that means is I handle the women own business for the company, and I'm kind of the liaison between women and minorities in our industry and the company. That's what I do. You know what we've talked about this in other settings, whether it's through HBA stuff or some of the events that we have connected with in the past, but you know, the, the, one of the things that's a common place is that every, everyone about the workforce in the industry and how they can't find anybody. And the sad part is, you know, very rarely does anybody step up and actually do anything about it. We came to agreement. I mean, it's time for the builders, modelers other folks in the industry, vendors, suppliers, everybody, that's a part of this industry and holds it near and dear, they have to step up and try to, you know, do their part to fix this. What kind of things do you guys specifically see that that folks would've to do?

(03:08): Well for me, getting involved in the home HBI with the national home builders association would be a perfect start. We have a, we have been opening up divisions in a lot of states and very quickly, because I think people are starting to realize it a lot more. Now that it's an emergency than it was when they were just you know, wanting people and looking for people. Now it's the emergency thing that sets in. I believe that a lot of this starts with not only the skills USA and the, and the H BS of the industry and the state and locals that are doing a lot with with workforce development, but it's still goes back to the same philosophy if we don't get parents educated, that our industry is a valuable industry to go in, right, right. Outta high school. And that most most people that wanna come into our industry, aren't really interested in that college education.

(04:13): But the fact is, if you could get the parents to understand that if your child goes into our industry, eventually they're gonna want to own their own business. And they start doing business courses and different education online to further their further their career and their paychecks. So I, I think that's the biggest drawback that we have right now is trying to get that education out there to, to the parents and to those leaders, or that are out there that are trying to push the further education, nothing wrong with the further education, if that's where you wanna go. But there's a lot of people out there that don't want to, but they're very, very good at what their trade would be. Yeah. And a lot of it is around that. We've mentioned at the dinner table conversation, you know it's, it hasn't really been a popular topic to, to encourage your, your children to get into the construction industry. But I, I think people are starting to realize that, wait a minute, maybe there is something viable here. You know, there's a need for craftsman trades. These can be high paying rewarding careers. So I think it's is definitely time to change the narrative. So it would be cool though. Judy, if you touched on it, I'd love your, you know, your, your journey from, from getting started and to, to where you are. Why don't you just tell everybody a little bit about that?

(05:32): Well, my journey led through through relatives when I decided that I was going to take a vacation after I graduated from college and go down and visit my relatives in Florida, and they were all carpenters and had lots of crews and, and I said, well, I'm just gonna go to work with you, cuz I'm bored of being on the beach after two days. So off I went to to work with them one day and I just said, Hey, give that piece of paper, not knowing that the name of it was a blueprint. I said, gimme that piece of paper and I'll show you how to build this being Judy. And I opened it up and low and behold I could actually read the blueprint it and see what was on there and be able to look out and know that I could build this. So it was it was a great revelation. It was one of those roads that I was supposed to go down and, and I did. And from there it ended up being that I had my own framing cruise and and this was back in the eighties. So it was like a women pioneering of construction coming into that, that, you know, builders and other people that wanted that saw our work and wanted us to go frame for them were always talking to my employees and my helpers and my, and my carpenters in set up coming to me because there was no way that a woman owned these companies. So it was a great revolution in those times. And that's the funny story about where I came from. So, and now here I am

(07:12): Kinda reminds me: So many years ago and I hate saying that eighties because it gives me my age out there, but well, I know you're young. That's right and how about you Christie? I mean, how about, how did you get even exposed to the industry? I mean, what brought you into it? So what got me exposed to the industry was just actually applying for a job that I actually applied for a credit manager position at a home supply store and female manager there thought that I would make a better salesman than I would a credit manager. And I laughed at her. However I, I did, I'm always been intrigued of learning something new. I get bored really easily. So I was like, you know, I'll try it, let's see how it goes. Now, are you gonna gimme the credit manager position if like it? And she said, I sure will. So I came on board and before the store was even built I had found 420 people to fill out an application. So then I got a bonus and I was a single mom. So it was really cool that my salary increased really quickly and I was literal just driving around, talking to my friends, filling out credit apps and asking 'em to sign it.

(08:24): And so I thought this might be my thing. And once the store got built I ended up meeting a couple of, of builders who really loved the fact that I was in the industry and just like Judy, they opened up a blueprint. They wanted to see, you know, what I knew and what I didn't know. And because I have a strong math background, he asked me if I knew what the exterior perimeter and interior perimeter were were. And I had a pretty good idea what it was. And he said, you know, the first thing we have to do is we have to look at these. First of all, I fell in love with the prints, but he said, the first thing we have to do is we have to figure out what that is. And I did it in my head and he said, oh girl, you're gonna be good at this. I'm gonna teach you everything. I know. And so that's where it started. And honestly, I really loved blueprints and, and they were easy for me to read because of my math background. So that's really how I got into it. And now my passion is to help more women understand all the options that they have before they make a decision where they go to work, because I really didn't like accounting. I was in that industry for a while and it was a chosen path for me, right? Like my teachers, you're good at math, you're good at English. You need to go down this road. And so, you know, I saw there was money there. I went to work for general motors when I was 15. And I worked in plant one for the president of the company and in Indiana. And I got bored with being a secretary and he'd moved me to another plant.

(09:55): I'd get bored with doing that. And then I'd be out in the plant doing something safety. I think I did. I literally did everything cuz I got bored and wanted to learn something new. So it was really easy for me not to go to college because most of my friends and family who'd graduated were making less money than I was once I left general motors. Literally I had all these opportunities to go to work because of all the experience that I'd gotten. But I chose the accounting field because that's kind of how I was directed. If I could go back and change anything, that's what it would be. I wouldn't be sitting in a cubicle or an office working inside all day long. So you mentioned that part of role is to provide women coming into the industry with options. What, what does that look like? What are the things that they're considering and are there any preconceptions that they come in with that you are able to unlock them from?

(10:47): So I think some of the preconceptions that they come in with are, you know, you're gonna have to lift heavy things. Right? Well, that never scared me. So obviously that didn't de deter me at all. But I think the mental picture of, of somebody that's in the industry is that you're gonna have to do hard labor. Right. And I did because I wanted to, I wanted to throw shingles in the back of my truck and take 'em out to my customers. Right. But I didn't have to, anybody would've helped me load those up. When I did find out after I got older and had to have knee surgery, is that I wish I had let those young men help me. So one of those things, as you get older, you realize that you didn't have to be prideful and do it yourself. I think that's probably one of, one of them.

(11:37): And the other one that's not as fun to talk about is just the fact that as females walking around on a job site and being around all the males that were around, I felt like I needed to cover up, you know, and, and to be, you know, more mindful of what I wore. And, and I do think that because that, you know, as you, and I know you can go out there and look up women in construction and you see the images that I'm talking about, we all know what that is. Right. So you think about all these men on a scaffold, right. That are about to fall off cuz this chicken and nice dress walks by with high of heels on. Right. So I think that is the other thing that we need to work on in our industry. I guess is more of a better word. I wanna, I'm interested in talking about the options still too, but what do you think is the image in the industry today, do you think, do you see it away from that and more towards respect for women because of their merit and their skills and their contribution and, and the things that they're amazing at, have you started to see that

(12:43): Maybe, maybe a percent, maybe a percent, if you look at it overall, it's it's I think the education that the Christie and the ju and the PE professional women in building and those that are in our industry, whether it's, whether it's a carpenter all the way to an estimator, to whatever you're doing, you're in you know, sales and marketing or whatever it is that you're choosing to do. It's still the construction field, the industry overall, I think it's still, the perception is not quite all the way there. The younger generation still is, is much better than, than what we were. Yeah. And that's where I'm saying that 1%, because if you wanna talk about the industry as a whole, there's a, there's so many different fingers in there, but if we're gonna talk job site and literally the trades, then the perception is very minute and I think exactly very talking about you, maybe in some of the office settings, there's been some, some more changes, but the job site. Yeah. I agree that can still be pretty harsh and that's back to what I said before then it can be, but I told you, I see a lot of the building companies now are, are adopting the DEI and bringing that into force and actually enforcing that. I can't say that all the women owned building companies are doing that, but they're starting that trend. I do know some male owned building companies that are really, they, if they have a lot of daughters, they're really forcing it. And daughters are starting to come to work more right. With with their fathers and their mothers to see what exactly it is that they do. But we know like said the stigma of still the one bathroom, you know, the safety issues, the what it is to come onto job site and get that respect that we're not there just, you know, people think we're there for another reason than what we're there for. And they look at it as a whole different perspective. You know, when I was framing, it started back in the eighties where like, like I said, I would get builders that love my framing, but they would talk to the male on the job instead of talking to the own owner of the framing crew, who is the, you know, and my guys used to say, you gotta talk to boss lady and they still would not get it. No matter how many times you said that.

(15:20): Yeah. And this is, this is what I said about the, you know, the dinner table conversation. I think that's, you know, when you have that and the visual comes from, from, from Hollywood, from everywhere, you know, when you picture that, that job site and the, the stereotypical construction guy or worker slabs of meat, you know, and it's just, it's a rough and tumble place and people don't treat each other well, and there's not a lot of respect. That's gotta change top to bottom. There's just, there's just no doubt and you see it still, you know, the whistles, the all of that stuff, or the, you know, let's stop and watch somebody walk across the street and I'm like, what are we looking at here? You know, why DIDNT, we stop our jar job to do something like this. Or, and I know Christie has said it many, a times too, that you come to the job site and there's, there's some guy that wants to harass you because are the only woman out there on that job site. And they just feel that it's their right to do this. And you're like, no, this is not the right to do this. Right. Absolutely. And I'm here for a reason I'm here, you know, for this job. So I think it's difficult.

(16:29): I think I've seen a little bit of a change over the last 18 months. And honestly, I think it's because we're doing a lot of educating and a lot of training with our, our own associates, but also with some of the builders. And I think the work's gonna have to come from us as females, as well as the males. So there's a point in where I should have stood up and said, Hey, wait a minute. Like, why would you say something like that to me? I, I'm just curious because honestly, a gentle conversation could actually open the door for them to understand where I'm coming from, right. Instead of just being aggravated, which I used to be and just walk away or embarrassed, let's say, you know, so I think that education is the key and we're doing a lot of talking to schools, middle schools, career centers, high schools, colleges.

(17:29): And every time I get the opportunity and somebody ask me to come talk to their girls, I, I tell, I, I really would like to have your boys in there too, because boys, those boys need to see, or men need to see that there are very successful women in our industry. And so they can start to, to learn our respect for the women in our industry, right? Like if you leave the boys out, how are they ever gonna know? My biggest challenge was just getting people to treat me with respect in my own office, no matter which office I was at at I've worked for several different companies. And that was my biggest challenge. And sometimes it was just a communication breakdown. Like I didn't get to know where he was coming from. He didn't know where I was coming from. And once we figured that out, it was respectful.

(18:20): Right. And so I think we both have to be able to add to that conversation in a way where we're not cussing each other out or, you know, stomping off and leave in the office cuz you didn't wanna hear it. And honestly, I didn't sell to any women. I I'm, I'm gonna be the first one to, to tell you that unconscious bias is real. So when I started this job and I, I was gonna be handling all the women own business for the company. I thought it was pretty interesting that I didn't have any female builders. None, you, you have this vision, you know, this cloud in this sky, these are the customers that you're supposed to chase, right? These are who we want to do business with and you just didn't look outside of that. So all of my customers were, I had a couple of minority customers, but they were all men.

(19:05): I didn't have any females and didn't even think about it. But now that I've been in the industry, I've met some many amazing women just hearing their stories is kind of sad sometimes because they have to send their men into supply centers and to order things or to get connections with subs because they feel like they're not being taken care of. And that's why 84 just initiated are build the way initiative so that our associates are now being trained. That if a female or minority comes through our door, that we're gonna do everything we can to help them. We're not gonna just assume that they are there looking for a job or assume that they're there because they're a homeowner. We're gonna find out who they are, what they're doing and we're gonna jump over backwards. You know, we're gonna bend over backwards to try to get them hooked up with a seasoned sales professional that can help their business grow. And I'm hoping that that's how we're gonna build the way to change this atmosphere. That's out there in the supply world

(20:05): And on the home builders side of this at the HBA I've had the proud honor of being a co-chair of our new DEI program, our diversity equity inclusion program within a H B and by co-partner Brad, Simon's out of Utah. We've now that the legalities and everything have been through now, we, we get to start doing the teaching and you'll see at international builder show. When you go right at the bookstore, right? When you first come in, we have a huge booth and banners for DEI, R D I program. And it's H B is, you know, welcomes everyone. So it's very important that we understand that. So when all the, everybody, all the whole crowd comes in, they understand that the, the, the head of the industry is for DEI. And that we pride ourselves. That like Christie said, if you see it, say something about it, you, if you see it definitely say something about it, or if you hear it in the background or it's in the corner. And you know, it's one of those conversations that you walk by and, you know, you can hear what's going on, get yourself in the conversation. It just, there's no room for that in our lives.

(21:26): One oh level up connect with us to share your stories, ideas, challenges, and successes. The builder nuggets community is built on your experiences. It takes less than a minute to connect with us@buildernuggets.com, Facebook or Instagram, Want access to the resources that can take you and your team to the next level. One call could change everything. It's, it's one of the reasons we're of talking about it today is because Christie, when you were speaking earlier and talking about now, you know, you feel better equipped to have the conversations. I think a lot of the time what's happening is people are ignoring the issue. They're afraid to have the conversation. They don't know how to have it. So by talking about it more now and saying this, this really exists, it's a, it's a barrier to elevating other people. There's amazing women who could be working in the industry who are choosing on their own, not to participate in it, cuz it hasn't been a welcoming industry. So we need to have these conversations, you know, at every single level man, woman, whatever part of the organization that you're in and realize that it's, it's a okay to have them. It's healthy to have them. It's not something that we are going to, you know, shy away from anymore, including in podcasts or, or, you know, education centers, wherever we just need to have the conversations.

(22:41): I was gonna say, I get to tell everybody when I do get the opportunity to talk to a group and that seems to be a lot these days. But I do tell 'em, you know, we can change the world one gentle conversation at a time. We really can just by getting to know the other person, right? Whether you're a male or you're a female, if you don't understand something, instead of doing the cancel thing, let's have a conversation. Let's get to know them. Try, try to make friends with that person. Right. Because they may coming from a place you don't understand. And obviously I was coming from a place I didn't understand. Right. So I just assumed nobody wanted me there. Well wasn't they didn't want me there. There were several men that I worked with that were intimidated by me. And to me that was mind blowing.

(23:26): Why would a man in this industry be intimidated by me? Right? You belong here. And I don't, well, that's what I was told right at when I got started to get into the industry. So it's just been really cool to hear the real, the real things right behind, behind the problem. And, and it really, isn't a matter of, we don't like you and we don't want you here. It's really not that you know, you've got your few that are gonna say that. It's just a matter of, we need to, we need to talk more, you know, we need to communicate, we need to learn how to talk to each other with empathy and try to understand

(24:00): One of the things we talk about, you know, a good bit here. We, we talk to of builders, remodelers that we work with is as business owners, you know, one of the biggest things is, is, is how, how well are we working on being leaders and how well are we working to create other leaders? And when you think about it, a lot of all, everybody on your team is a leader to some degree, you know? And I don't think they don't, they don't really ever get the proper leadership training or any kind of guidance around the way they carry themselves, the way they talk, the way they appear in the job site. They, I don't think they realize the influence that they have upon others. You know, again, because they've never really been, been, been either trained or, or taken through anything like that. So I, we, we certainly have to step up as, as business owners and, and anyone else that's responsible for teams, you know, to make sure that people are working on their leadership skills and, and have the things like you said, empathy and the ability to help others. Because as this industry continues to battle the need to find workers, we're gonna have to find a way to, you know, bring people together and work just work a whole lot better together. Yeah.

(25:01): So, yeah. And I'll tell you, I think, yeah, totally. I think one of the reasons that I felt like I is really successful in sales is because I did care about everybody at the job site. I didn't treat the guys in on the job site any differently than I treated my own family. You know, sometimes I would bring them donuts and I'd shoot the breeze with them and find out how their kids were doing. I was friends with everybody on the job site and it made a huge difference in my, I think, because I didn't have to go out looking for business for very long because those guys on, on the job site and gals, there were just a few back back then, but they were telling everybody, you gotta work with Christy. Like she's honest and she's fair. And she treats us really good. And even though we're not the boss, like she always asks us, so how we're doing and how she can make our job a little bit better. I think, I think that's, our industry needs to be a little more humble and include all the people that are there. Right. It doesn't matter what kind of job site you're at or what kind of office you're in for that matter, just including each other, I think would, would be very helpful.

(26:05): I'm glad that she brought that up there because as I also was in sales at 84 lumber after I was a framer, but when I was a framer, it was one of those. Also one of those things that you have to not only teach the leadership, but you also have to take an initiative to help your employees get to that point, whether it's education and banking or whether in the, you know, you gotta help the trades that are coming in and the younger generation that's gonna be working for you to help them get secure. Whether it's you teaching them how to do banking, teaching them how to do investing, teaching them what leadership is, teaching, whatever, whatever it is that it looks like you want your business to grow on. That's where the leadership training comes in. And just like Christie when I was in sales.

(26:56): And I believe it or not, I haven't been in the position sales for quite some time, but I still have people from 40 years ago calling me, asking me to help them out with 84. So getting some things same as Christie, they're still coming to us after this many years. So obviously something within that realm of us being caring has brought P people to more to the 84 part of that. But you know, when we were talking about where companies were trying to turn, some companies are trying to turn this over because this is, this is reality. Now I think it was a few years ago, the Peterson Institute said that companies that were in a top 25% in diversity, I think it was where 40, 46 or 45 or 46% more likely to outperform their industry average. I saw that. So by higher. Yeah. And that was a few years ago. I'm not sure if they've come out with a newer version of that with the percentages and don't quote me on this, everybody in the audience. So don't quote me on that. But it's it was somewhere around those percentages, which we always thought were as like super, like, why would you not want to hire when you're getting that kind of percentage return free money, right.

(28:21): Yeah. What I go back to a little bit here is Christy what you were talking about. It's like, it's really simple, be a good human lead with being a good human. Yes. Because that opens everybody up and we all know the basics of what that means. And, and it's interesting because there is, there has, there's definitely that, you know, hard mindset where, you know, it's not really human. Sometimes that mindset where, you know, everybody is supposed to be tough and, you know, you know, focus on what they're supposed to be doing and even hear, think expressions like man up and, you know, get it, get it done and that sort of thing. But just going back to the basics, being a good human and having your entire team work on creating a culture where everybody feels safe to just sharing how they feel about different circumstances and different conversations.

(29:10): That's really easy. But yeah. Start with being a good human, we, you know, Christy the way you positioned it is you said, I just treated everybody. Like I would treat my family at home. It shouldn't be any different anywhere. It's another, it's another human being. Yeah. That's for sure. And you, you know, and when you think about that, it's how much the impact will have, as you said, Christie, having the gentle conversations, having some empathy, being a good human, that goes such a long way in an industry that has filled with hotheaded characters. I mean, it's just, it's kind of what the industry has, has brought upon us, but yeah, it, it, it will certainly go a long way. I, I definitely, I wanna get to, I know something you guys are really passionate about. We're excited to, to kind of learn a little bit about it, but, you know, bringing young women get them inspired in the industry, but tell us about the house that she built.

(29:55): So the house that she built was the Utah chapter of the professional women in building, I was very fortunate to be one of the first people from H B to be out there to help them start get this off of the ground. And so they, their initiative, one of the first things that they wanted to do was something that was gonna be out of the ballpark and larger than life. And of course, I always say, that's great, but let's start, let's start with something that's tangible and grab that and then go for the, go for the big, you know, go for the touchdown, right? The game winning touchdown. And they weren't having any part of it out there. And they just said, we're going to build. And all women hope, meaning they were gonna use all women contractors or all women trades. It's just everybody in that house is going to be women owned or women trade doing the work. And so they did it, they accomplished it. It took off like fire across the country. And then Molly picked it up. Eckman, Molly Eckman is the author of the book. So we now have a book all about it, by the way, the house sold for an enormous amount of money. And very pleased for that, because that just goes right back into the education I'd like to, but Molly live

(31:24): In a house that all women built. Yes, it was absolutely phenomenal. If you get a chance there, of course the books are at IBS or you can order 'em online, but the author will be there and you can get it signed. And they also came out with an activity book. So now we have an activity book. We have a book you'll see live characters. It's the country has taken this by storm and it has absolutely opened up the mind and the minds of all of America looking at this. And actually it's gonna be worldwide. It's starting to grow that big to understand, oh, I never knew there was a woman that did plumbing or that owned a plumbing company. I never knew, you know, that there was women in the trades. What one downfall of it is we have, if you're in Utah, you had to go across the country in some places just to find some trade or, or a supplier that was women owned or operated, just to be able to do that. And so we had to, you know, fly people in and out and, and to get the job done. But they, the, the women that were on that job, the PWB, they were doing things that they've never done before in their life is, but if you taught them how to do it, they just went and did it. It was one of those initiatives that we're just gonna do this and get it done. So I think that has really broadened the minds of a lot of people I in the book has just sold like crazy.

(33:01): That's really cool. What kind of things? I wanna hear some excitement around the things that you're doing, the things that you're saying, maybe the things that you're seeing in some of these young women that are getting them excited about getting in the industry versus being scared to get into the industry. So I think that just giving them the awareness of being end of the, in our industry is helpful. Like just being in sales, right? Like we've mentioned that several times, you know what that means? That doesn't mean I'm a used car salesman. Like that was the first thing I thought when somebody asked me about it, you're a project manager, you're a superintendent, you're a purchaser, you're an estimator, you're a load calculator. You're a floor designer. You're a roof trust designer. You're a window and door designer. Literally. There's so many options out there, right. If they don't wanna pick up something or they don't wanna, like, I didn't wanna sell, like I, when she told me I was gonna be in sales, I was like, you've lost your mind. Like, I, I can talk with the best of 'em. Like, for as long as you wanna talk, I'll find something to talk about.

(33:58): But when it came to actually, I want you to buy this that I knew I could, I can sell Avon. I can sell ice to an Eskimo or in the desert, however, that goes, whatever. But, but I did know how to have really good relationships with people. Right. And I think we, we steered away from that. And, and I think I'd love to see more women in a sales role because they're good at multitasking. So if you have to be a purchaser and estimator and load calculator and a designer and a PM, you can, right. That that's just how we were made. And I think that's really good. I think that the biggest excitement that I've seen, I'm just gonna be honest is we started a pro called the ambassador program. And when it just started, because I knew I was the only one in the department.

(34:47): Now I have two I have a 23 year old female who's working in our department and she's amazing. She's gonna be much better than me one day. And anyway, I think that that ambassador program, she was an ambassador from the very beginning. It, it really just means I I'm gonna, if you're interested and you're willing to spend an hour or two a month, I'm gonna invest in you and help you understand more about what it means to be a woman owned business. And as they saw those opportunities come in and most of them were guys, I think we have 44 now and 42, our guys, and two are women, but as they saw the opportu come in, and then I was volunteering to sit in on the calls with them. And the next thing you know, the, the females were buying from us just to see that transition, like, they'll call me now and say, Hey, how do I handle this?

(35:36): I mean, really that's all we've gotta do is just help each other. Right. Like if I need something from his store, I call him and ask him. But, you know, we had a situation. I, I think we talked about this before, but I had a situation where I was really having a hard time connecting with one of our ambassadors in Michigan. And we, we went round and around. It was like, but I knew I wanted to connect with him. He was really good at what he did. And there was a reason he wanted to be a WBE ambassador. Right. So I knew he had his heart. Right. But it was like, we just couldn't find that communication thing. You know, we, we just, and we just kept, we kept talking, but it was like, we couldn't get anywhere. And I remember one day I felt like really made it like, like I was making a difference and that really matters to me.

(36:20): Like, I really wanna make a difference. He called me in the middle of the afternoon. He said, I gotta talk to you. Like he was super upset. And he said, I just saw one of my customer treat his female engineer really poorly on a job site. And I don't, I don't know what to do. I wanted to punch him in the face. And so I was like, well, let's, let's calm down for a minute. First of all, he's probably one of your best customers as an, we might not wanna punch him in the face. And second of all, that's probably not gonna make her feel any better. Let me explain to you what might help this situation. Right? So it just opened up a new door. And when I realized that him and I came the to friends, because we finally found a common ground, right.

(37:01): But it took a while. It took us like four months to find that common space. But once we were able to find that common space and I was able to like, help him understand what he could do, that wasn't harmful at all to help her and amplify her on the job site. He was just over the top, happy about the fact that he had an opportunity. And all, all I told him was, look, if you're standing there in front of him and, and you get the opportunity to say something, when nothing else is going on, not after some crazy event, maybe he did something he shouldn't have done just elevator. Did you know that Sally is doing such a great job for us? It's save, she's saving your company money by getting us statistics and the data that we need before the job starts, or you get in the truck with them, just brag on her. You know, that's gonna be the biggest thing. And he may not say a single thing about it, but you've planted a seed in his mind, she's added value to his company, right? Because she did add value. That was not a lie. That was the truth. And I said, that's the best way that I feel like you can make a big difference for females in the industry. When you run into a situation like that, don't punch. We said

(38:15): Powerful thing. Yeah. Don't punch. Anybody said two very powerful things there. It sounds like a couple more starting points are, don't be afraid to ask for advice to put up your hand. And you know, this gentleman reached out to you and asked you, and how did that feel? Amazing, right? Absolutely. That, that they were asking you for advice about how to deal with the situation and for him. I mean, how easy is it to have that conversation with somebody that you know is gonna be open and receptive? So that's, that's the two way conversation that you were talking about earlier. So don't be afraid to ask for advice. Don't be afraid to give it don't judge somebody. If they don't know, allow them the opportunity to ask you and then do what exactly what you did, like share that information. And then it's amazing what you said about elevating.

(38:59): The other person, always talk about the value of other people. You know, so much of this is around negativity. Take every chance you have to share the value that somebody brings to your team, to the rest of the, to the, to the experience, to the clients, to the process, wherever it is, they add value, focus on that man or a woman. It, it, it doesn't matter, but especially in this, you know, in this case, if you're looking for a starting point and you want be positive and you may be struggling because you don't have somebody right there to ask, just start thinking about the areas that they add value to your experience and share that with the other person. Awesome. Starting point. So easy to do. You know, one of the hallmarks foundations of what we talk about here on this show is, is collaboration.

(39:39): I mean, it's collaboration over competition. And I think that's the message I'd love to get out to everybody, to young women, minorities, anybody that's just trying to get into the industry. Don't suffer and struggle with trying to figure it all out yourself. There are so many, there are so many people in this industry that are willing to share. You gotta do a little work to find them. And it might be through podcasts might be through HBAs might be through, you know, programs like the house of Sheba, all, all these different things. Take action on that, because it's hard to figure it all that on yourself. And it's really easy to shut down. You know, when you don't quite either get the information that you need or you know, you're struggling to find the answer. So definitely definitely collaborate. It's such a such a powerful thing to do. I would love to know when another woman, whether it's a young lady, any female, and is, is talking to you and shows the, you know, a little bit of interest or, or asks about a ask about the industry. What's your advice to them? What do you tell them in two minutes or less? If you've just got a few moments with them, what is it that you share with them as a leader in the industry already that inspires them?

(40:50): I think a lot of times I start with work ethic. If you really want a job, that's gonna keep you from being bored. This is the industry, right? I, I got bored very easily. And when I fell into this, I fell in love because every day is different. So what do I tell 'em if, if they wanna be successful is be consistent show up every day, work really hard and be a lifelong learner that that's the key to being successful in this in industry, whether you're in sales, whether you're, you wanna be your own builder, whether you wanna be a plumber, whether you wanna be an electrician, whether you wanna be in manufacturing, it really doesn't matter. Whatever you wanna do. The key is being consistent and being a lifelong learner showing up every day. And when people ask me about the industry, I always, I always try to deflect to positive things, right?

(41:42): Like it, it wasn't the greatest experience for 27 years. I, I could, I could tell you some stories that would probably blow your mind, but however, the benefits way weighed the situation. You know, the, the situations that happened, the benefits were, you know, I got to be a PM. All those things I just listed, I got to be a superintendent. I got to be a purchaser. I got to be an estimator. I got to learn how to design a floor system. I got to learn how to design roof trusses. I got to go measure jobs. I literally love the small wood. You know, really, you really need to look at all the options before you choose one. But if you think you're interested in it, just try it. You know, and what we've done recently at 84 is we set up a, a call once a month where all the ladies of 84 are gonna get together.

(42:29): Whoever wants to anyway. And we're, we've created kind of a supportive network for the women in our industry so that when they do have questions that maybe they'd feel more comfortable asking another female we've, we've created a support system there. So I think that that's key too. Find a mentor. I'm very big on mentoring. So we, we're doing a lot of mentoring right now, actually, I'm mentoring a sweet gal and Georgia right now, that's taken over daddy's business. And she's a minority in Atlanta and I have gotten more. She thinks I'm the greatest thing ever, but I'm gonna tell you, I have gotten more joy out of helping her than anything else I've done in a very long time. So I think mentorship is really important. Just those women to feel confident in what they do, no matter what choice that they make.

(43:18): I think that's very helpful that actually turned into because I can't mentor everybody, right. Not that everybody wants me to, but there were several people that were reaching out to us one on one not long ago. And so we created a group called women confidence builders, and we just have valuable speakers that, that want to lift up women and lift up men that wanna lift up women and women that lift up women that come and they just pour life into these girls. And so they've got a, a place of feeling together and a place where they can ask questions and a place where they can get that kind of, of question answered. What is it like in your industry? Explain it to me, right? So the industry's amazing. It's fast paced. The day goes by fast. Like you can make some good money. You make the best friends ever 84 in general has the best culture of people. Maggie loves people and it shows all the way from her down. It really does. And once I got to the corporate level and started meeting all the area, managers, these people are good humans, and I am so blessed to be able to work for them. So that's really what it's about. You know, find the people, right? Find your people, find your tribe. Yeah, it's not necessarily about the job.

(44:36): The, the people are out there, the right people, the right business owners, the right culture, the right teams are out there. If you find them. And those are the ones that are going to thrive. Like one of the things I was gonna bring up earlier was that throughout history, and we're in one of those situations, now there's a massive labor shortage. So, you know, it's, it's basically a crisis. So it's like, that's the time that you turn to women out of necessity. Right? Which is a shame. If you look at times of crisis or times of war, you know, all these male jobs, when the men went off to war, the women stepped up and they nailed it and we're in. And then we just to go right back to the way of was, well, we're in one of those situations now where there's this crisis that has created well, we better get women.

(45:16): You know, we really need to look at women. Well, okay. Let's not make the same mistake again, this time let's realize that these women are amazing and create these opportunities so that we don't ever go back to that. You know, I think what you were saying when Dave originally asked you things and what can, what can women and something that we have, I think it's a word we're kind of started off this year is that we're holding ourselves to, and, and encouraging others to be, and it's, it's undeniable. Right. You know, if, if you can make yourself undeniable, do the work to make yourself undeniable, it's hard for anybody to, to look past that. It's true. Well, look at what

(45:49): It brings a lot of energy that undeniable, hat's what, the house that she built, the house that she built, it's like that project, those women made themselves unreliable. Yeah. This has been real awesome. You know, that's children's book. Right. Which that's what I love. It's a children. Yeah. That is a children's book. Yes. So we're teaching our 5, 6, 7, 8 year olds, right? Like, I'm give that book to pretty much everybody. I know that has kids because it's just, you know, every color's in there, there's women in there with a wheelchair and a wheelchair. You can do anything you wanna do. That's what I tell women really. Like, honestly, you need to find out where your passion is and you need to go with it because that's where you're gonna be the happiest, that's where you're gonna perform the most. And that's where you're gonna make the most money. Awesome. Well, thanks so much for being cool. This was great. Thank you so much. Thanks for what you do for our industry.

Hey, thanks for listening, Dwayne and I love hearing from you. Your stories are inspiring and your challenges can be overcome. Got a cool tip idea for a show problem that you haven't been able to solve, or maybe just struggling to figure out what you need next and where to get it. We can help hit us up@buildernuggets.com and start building freedom.

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