As our Women in Asphalt Series comes to an end, I would like to thank all of the amazing women who’ve been a part of this series–you all are an inspiration. Also, I’d like to congratulate the Women of Asphalt (WOA) for an amazing inaugural event at World of Asphalt earlier this month. My wife, Courtney, and I attended the forum and were blown away by Audrey Copeland’s presentation and the impressive forum panelists and roundtable discussion. The information shared and the advice given transcends this category. There are takeaways for every business looking to advance women in their respective fields.
Now that the series is over and the month has come to an end, let’s not lose our momentum. In fact, I want to challenge all of you in the industry to make the advancement of women in asphalt not just a conversation, but a reality. In order to make our field more attractive to women, we’ve got some real work to do.
Infrastructure—Whether it means the creation of women’s restrooms in our plant, or nursing stations on the road, we’ve got to create a working environment that is built to serve everyone. Thinking through infrastructure amendments strategically will make us more viable in the future. It’s a win-win for everyone.
Safe Working Environment—Safety is our number one priority at Blacklidge. We work tirelessly to ensure the safest working environments for our employees and our clients. But as an industry, we need to discuss what a safe work environment looks like for women specifically. We have a zero tolerance policy at Blacklidge in terms of harassment. I want to challenge others in the industry to follow suit and make the policy amendments and culture shifts to ensure ALL are safe at work.
Employees First—As a family-centered business, the health of our employees has always been a priority. Making a cultural shift in your organization to put your employees first will ensure that you have a vibrant workforce. Some things to consider: flexible schedules, part-time employment, comprehensive benefits and paid maternity leave. Most women are the primary caregivers in their families; when you give women the opportunity to put their families first, you’ll gain loyal, hard working employees that will go above and beyond for your organization.
Lets come together to improve our industry. By focusing on the advancement of women, we will see exponential growth and pave the way for other industries.
When my daughters are old enough to join the industry, which I hope they’ll come to love like I do, let’s be ready.
Let’s be the leaders to blaze new trails.