This International Women’s Day 2021, we celebrate the many incredible women who have made our world a better place, especially those serving the asphalt industry. In 1911, more than one million women and men in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland attended the first IWD rallies to campaign for women’s rights. Today, we honor this important history and take pride in supporting the campaign for equality within our company, industry and beyond.
One of the efforts we are most proud of at Blacklidge is our support of Women of Asphalt — a national coalition that supports women in all aspects of the asphalt industry through mentoring, education, and advocacy, and by encouraging women to seek careers in the asphalt industry. We are also committed to the professional growth and advancement of women within Blacklidge. As part of that effort, I asked my women colleagues a few questions about their personal journeys and any inspiration or advice for women getting started in the industry. Here’s what they have to say:
Which woman (historical figure or current) inspires you and why?
“My mom. I never met a hustler who works harder than her, is more disciplined than her, or is lovelier than her. She is beautiful and loves us through and through. She doesn’t speak unkind words even during the most difficult situations but prays through them all. She has withstood some very tough times and made the hardest sacrifices to keep us all together. She doesn’t give up. God must love me a lot to have given me my mother. I wouldn’t be where I am without her.”
“If I were to choose just one, I would pick Queen Esther from the Bible. She had to make a choice: be quiet and watch her people die, or go before the king, her husband, advocating for her people, and still face death. Her faith in God and the love she had for her people propelled her to do the right thing. She was the reason her nation was spared from execution. I strive to walk out my faith and persevere through any obstacle that comes before me.”
“Rosa Parks. She spoke up for what she believed in, no matter the consequences. This quality is something that I see in myself.”
“My mom – she has been a single mother for many years and taught me the value of myself. She always said, “If you learn everything you can, you can move your way up in the world.” With all the knowledge that I have learned at Blacklidge, I have been able to move within the company and become the first woman in the sales department!”
Which qualities make a great leader?
“Servant heart, curiosity, humility, being vulnerable, helping others rather than enabling them, appreciating people for their efforts, meeting people right where they are at, grace, forgiveness, and having an honest heart through it all.”
“Self-awareness, communication, and discipline.”
“I have learned through the course of my career that leaders have followers, while managers have subordinates. The most influential leaders in my life have inspired me through being true servant leaders, always dependable, and jumping in to help whenever and wherever needed.”
“What makes a great leader is being a servant and having a heart for people. When we have a heart for people, we look out for their best interest. We find that when we help others achieve what they want, then as leaders, we will get what we want. Another quality is knowing the people that we lead – their personality, strengths, and weaknesses. If these can be identified, then the leader knows where a person fits best in the business. Knowing how to delegate assignments makes a great leader as well. Leaders know they can’t carry the load by themselves, so they trust in the leaders they have developed under them to follow through.”
“Integrity, active listening, self-confidence, problem-solving, and accountability.”
“Good communication skills: including listening to others, not just having the ability to speak clearly. Accountability: leaders should hold themselves to the same accountability standard to which they hold others — commitment: committed to leading others as well as to the personal and professional growth of their team. Be a team player: leaders should show that they are willing to join the team and help reach goals, not just watch from a distance.”
What advice do you have for women starting a career in road construction?
“Don’t be afraid to voice your thoughts and opinions gracefully.”
“Not to be cliché, but just do it!”
“My advice is to fall in love with the process of learning the industry. Strive to be better today than you were yesterday. Give yourself time to grow and develop because learning is a marathon, not a race. Find a mentor you can learn from and walk in their footsteps.”
“Do not set limitations – always strive to do better!”
“It may seem intimidating as a woman to start a career in a male-dominated industry. Still, I’ve realized that the road construction industry welcomes those who are passionate about making our infrastructure better. Something I’ve found surprising is that there’s a job for everyone. My advice: throw your hesitations aside and go for it!”
“Learn all you can from each department within your company and you will succeed! The more you know, the more power you will have to achieve success.”
Thank you to all of the wonderful women who work with me here at Blacklidge and to everyone who contributes to our inclusive company culture. Happy International Women’s Day!