The confessions of a woman, trapped in a man's world of construction for over 12 years. Michelle discussed her world of engineering, incorporating the good, the bad and the downright ugly. She is joined by special guests who share their own experiences of surviving a man's world.
Come and laugh, cry and gasp at their inspiring stories as they set to change perceptions and attitudes towards women in typically male dominated careers.
Rhian Evans, an Information Communication Technology consultant, joins us on this episode of the This is a Man’s World: She Who Dares Wins podcast. Rhian started out her adult life as a teacher before making a career move into the ICT area of the school construction industry. She is completely self-taught in the ICT business and she has found great success and fulfillment in this profession, even launching her own consultancy business 5 years ago.
She has pleasantly surprised with the industry overall and the increasing support that women on the job site are receiving, despite the negative and offensive experiences that have occurred as well. She is an advocate of implementing quotas in companies to ensure the optimal amount of diversity, both gender and cultural. With the increasing prevalence of the gender pay gap and #MeToo conversations in the world at large and in the construction industry in particular, Rhian believes that more women will be considered for positions that have typically been held by men and it will be more acceptable for young girls to aspire to careers in construction and the other trades as a result.
She encourages young girls and women alike to try out “non-traditional” careers in the hopes that some years down the road, all professions will be considered equally acceptable for both men and women. The more women that are out on the job site, the more girls will be inspired to follow in their footsteps. You never know if you will like the trades until you try.
0:48 – How Rhian got started in ICT work.
3:54 – Her transition from teaching into the construction industry.
5:58 – Advice for other women considering career changes.
8:01 – Making certain jobs more accessible to women.
10:03 – A discussion of quotas.
16:25 – Michelle’s experience in influencing her dad to hire more women in sales.
18:40 – The support for women in the industry doesn’t necessarily come from straight white men.
23:06 – How people react on site when they see women.
29:18 – Responding to verbal attacks or microaggressions.
31:07 – Practical steps for responding to mistreatment.
34:58 – Cultural differences Rhian has experienced.
39:57 – The benefit of experiencing other cultures.
44:49 – Advice for women considering getting into traditionally male dominated careers.
“I’ve had a massive learning curve because everything I do now I’ve basically taught myself.”
“Just by being there, we’re role models.”
“There are no men’s jobs and women’s jobs. There are just jobs.”
“Every company at some level benefits from diversity.”
“It’s too easy to hire someone just like you.”
“The construction industry is not going to get better unless women step up and go for the jobs.”
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On this episode of the This is a Man’s World: She Who Dares Wins podcast, our guest is Kelly Ireland, a commercial plumber based in Philadelphia, U.S.A. Kelly is one of 10 children and a 4th generation plumber. She never dreamed of following in her family’s footsteps, but when she needed a job to support her kids, she got some advice from her dad before entering into a pre-apprenticeship class and eventually applying to the Building Trades Union. She loves going to work every day because of the unique challenges and the rewards of the physical labor, particularly when driving past a completed project that she played a key role in building. While construction sites are still overwhelmingly male-dominated, Kelly does get to work with other women in the profession from time to time and she appreciates the comradery they all share. She enjoys getting to work with men who are supportive or neutral about women in the trades, and while it is never good to encounter prejudices and stereotypes, Kelly is always willing to put men in their place and stand up for herself and other women. Kelly has found great worldwide community through social media and she greatly enjoys getting to connect with other women in construction online as well as at events like the Women Build Nations event. She is also an advocate for the LGBTQ community, ensuring that they are not subject to stereotypes and discrimination and encouraging them to pursue their career goals despite what people may say or think. She encourages women considering a career move to look into the construction industry because of its physical and financial rewards and the fulfillment of a job well done.
Time Stamps: 1:12 – How Kelly got into plumbing. 3:11 – What it is like to be a 4th generation plumber. 7:24 – Entering into the plumbing industry. 12:04 – How Kelly’s kids feel about her being a plumber. 14:20 – The recent popularity of the trades. 16:13 – Kelly explains unions. 21:35 – Kelly’s perspective of the construction industry. 26:18 – Unfair judgments of women. 31:00 – The representation of women on the UK and US job sites. 34:30 – Connecting with other women in the trades through social media. 37:48 – Kelly’s desire to give a true representation of the industry in her posts. 44:47 – The down and dirty secrets about being a woman in the trades. 49:32 – Kelly’s advocacy for the LGBTQ community. 53:06 – The caveman mentality that plagues some job sites. 59:17 – How working on construction sites and motherhood overlap. 1:02:55 – Advice for other women considering getting into the trades.
Key Quotes: “No one looks at buildings the way construction workers do…I want to see buildings naked. I love the core of the building, the guts of it.” “In this country (the U.S.) we really undervalue labor work and trade work.” “I absolutely love going to work.” “Just as many men don’t belong in the trades as women.”
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An update on surviving a man's world of construction. It has been a while and now I am back with season 2! This is just a short intro to discuss everything that I have been up to as well as what you can expect from season 2. So happy to be back and welcome all you new listeners!
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Barbara Res, an engineer, author of “All Alone on the 68th Floor”, and former Vice President at the Trump Organization, joins us on this episode of the This is a Man’s World, She Who Dares Wins podcast. Barbara has truly blazed her own trail in the construction industry, the only woman in her electrical engineering program in college and one of the few women working on the Grand Hyatt construction project in New York City when it was being built. Donald Trump met her during her time working on that project and he liked her tenacity and drive so much that he hired her to work for him on the construction of Trump Tower.
She certainly experienced her fair share of harassment and prejudice from men around her, but she believes that it was all worth it to pave the way for the women that would come behind her in the industry. She learned to choose her battles and know when it was worth standing up for herself as opposed to when a situation was best ignored. While she wishes it didn’t have to be this way, she has seen the progress in the industry over the past nearly 4 decades and she sees a bright future for women entering the trades. Barbara has encountered some unexpected advocates for her and other women in engineering and construction along the way and she is glad that society is opening up to welcome women into more male-dominated professions.
1:18 – Michelle and Barbara met at the Women in Construction event.
2:30 – Barbara’s educational journey.
4:58 – How Barbara came to be hired by Donald Trump.
7:31 – How the industry has progressed since Barbara first entered it.
11:50 – Michelle’s story of recent situations she has faced.
17:26 – Barbara provides advice for young women entering the industry.
23:32 – Is it ok to want to be liked?
25:59 – Barbara’s perspective of men championing careers for women.
33:34 – What does Barbara think of quotas?
34:52 – Can you be a mom and work in construction?
41:43 – Having the right perspective when working as a woman in construction.
44:15 – What Barbara is currently working on.
46:12 – Advice for women considering jobs in the construction industry.
“The industry has certainly progressed, especially in terms of the law.”
“People don’t want women doing so-called ‘men’s work.’”
“You have to pick your spot. You might have to be a martyr but you also may be able to stand up for yourself.”
“At the end of the day, you have to respect yourself.”
“Whatever happens, it is not your fault.”
“Not everybody needs to be a CEO, but you need to know your capabilities.”
“If you make people happy, you’ll get more out of them.”
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Our guests on this episode of the This is a Man’s World: She Who Dares Wins podcast are Kate and Ella, plasterers, property developers, and sisters-in-law. After they had babies 4 months apart, they both realised that they wanted to have more control over their work lives and had a desire to go into property development. The first step of this career shift was to go through a plastering course while they were still on their maternity leaves, where they were the only women in the group.
After this course, they were hooked on the detail-oriented, tedious, and fulfilling work of plastering, so they started working with a builder on properties. Before long, they decided to start their own business which provided them with more flexibility and also the ability to cover for each other when needed and mandate that they will not work weekends. They have found this system to be tiring, but they are grateful for the incredible support from their families who help with the kids whenever needed.
As you may expect, they have quite a few stories of mishaps that were either funny at the time or funny only in hindsight, but Kate and Ella have learned that laughter helps ease even the most stressful of situations. They encourage girls and women considering learning a trade to just get out there and try it. You have nothing to lose and you could find your passion, as Kate and Ella have.
1:03 – Kate and Ella, plasterers, property developers, and sisters-in-law describe their journey into the trades.
2:56 – What it was like to start training for a new career during maternity leave.
4:10 – 6 months after taking their plastering course, they bought their first property to develop.
5:01 – What Kate and Ella’s previous professions were and how business is going now.
6:59 – Their perception of how customers accept them as women in the trades.
8:20 – Kate and Ella wish that they had given plastering or another trade a try sooner and they encourage other women to look into the trades as well.
10:35 – Their experience as women entering “a man’s world”.
13:07 – While it is exhausting to be self-employed, it provides Kate and Ella with more flexibility and they have set certain boundaries for themselves.
16:25 – What Kate and Ella think of working so closely together.
17:45 – They talk about some of their mishaps over the years.
21:51 – The hardest part for them is the work-life balance.
23:44 – They are both lucky to have supportive spouses and families who help them pick up the slack.
26:57 – Kate and Ella say that the key to plastering is “practice makes perfect.”
29:13 – They outline some of the helpful attributes or skills for people looking to become involved in plastering.
30:10 – A hilarious but tragic mishap on the job.
32:30 – They encourage girls who are considering getting into the trades to just go for it. You will know pretty quickly if it is right for you.
“Go for it. You’ve got nothing to lose.”
“The people you meet and banter you have with them is second to none.”
Connect us and with Kate and Ella: @plasteredsisters on Instagram
On this episode of the This is A Man’s World podcast, our guest is Amy, a diesel fitter from Australia who is working in Antarctica this year. Amy describes her journey to becoming a diesel fitter and the long journey (literally and figuratively) that brought her to this station in Antarctica with 18 other people.
Her experience in Antarctica has been spectacular and one-of-a-kind, from her encounters with penguins and other wildlife to the auroras she has been able to witness to the team’s excursion to view the wreckage of a Russian aircraft nearby. In fact, the day before her 6-month assignment was set to be completed, she was asked to stay through the winter, so by the time she gets back home to Australia in December, she will have been away for 14 months.
Amy went through some training before moving to Antarctica to prepare her for the cold, and she has found that she has adjusted better than anticipated. That’s not to say that she won’t be glad to get back to the warmth of Australia, but this is fine for a season. It is difficult to be so far away from her friends and family with no ability to go home at will, but she and her team have become like family. They each have primary and secondary jobs at the station and they play games or do some exploring in their down time.
To any girl who is considering a profession in the trades, especially diesel fitting, Amy says “If you want to do it, make it happen.” There is no way of knowing if the career is right for you except for getting out there and giving it a try. The trades community is so supportive and a great resource for getting started and continuing to grow in your passion.
0:20 – Amy is a diesel fitter from Australia working an assignment in Antarctica for the duration of 2019. She describes her path to get here.
1:45 – Amy’s impression of Antarctica.
2:03 – How Amy got into repairing and maintaining heavy machinery.
3:57 – Her experience working the service side of things after her apprenticeship.
5:05 – How she handles working in the trades and the community she has found, despite only encountering 2 other women in the 10 years in her field.
6:32 – Amy describes the journey to get to Antarctica.
8:15 – How has she found the transition between Australia and Antarctica?
9:25 – While she is equipped with common tools and parts, sometimes she has to make a specialty part for a specific fix.
10:35 – Amy talks about the various transportation methods they use.
11:32 – There are 19 of them living and working at the station, so they spend all of their time together. What do they do? What do they miss most from Australia?
12:58 – What is the purpose of the station? How is the work split up?
14:18 – Amy recounts some of her experiences with the wildlife in the area.
17:02 – When she gets home in December, Amy plans to adjust to Australian weather and all of the people!
18:12 – Amy’s advice to any girl considering becoming a diesel fitter.
19:26 – What is her greatest accomplishment and sacrifice?
20:06 – The curious patterns of the sun in Antarctica.
23:38 – Every team member at the station has a secondary job, since the station operates like a tiny town.
25:13 – What has Amy learned about physical labor?
26:18 – Amy talks about her plans for the future after this assignment is completed.
“It’s quite a spectacular place. Very unique.”
“There’s no way home. Once that ship leaves, you’re here until the ship comes back.”
“If you want to do it, make it happen.”
“Work smart, not hard.”
“I am opening myself up to opportunity.”
Connect with Amy: https://www.instagram.com/choots7/ - s
Our guest on this episode of the This is a Man’s World podcast is Dana Francis, a mom, steamfitter/pipe-fitter, apprentice welder, and podcaster. Dana got into the trades when she realised that she needed a bit more financial stability than she currently had in construction retail. She was accepted into the Women Building Futures program and quickly realised that this would be a much better situation for herself and her family.
Always one to appreciate a hard day’s work, Dana has found fulfilment in her career and encourages other women to learn more about the trades industry. Dana and Michelle swap stories about their experiences on the job site, appropriate and inappropriate treatment they have received, and the varying levels of support for women in the trades they have observed. It is interesting how even the simple act of wearing makeup is perceived, and Dana and Michelle discuss what it is like to be a woman, a mom, and a tradeswoman.
Dana encourages other women who are in the trades or considering a career in the trades to stick with it if it is what you really want to do and be open-minded about taking new opportunities. Don’t be frightened off by the long work hours but find a schedule that will work for you and your family, especially if you have children in daycare. It is important for women to continue to seek employment in the trades and to support each other along the way.
0:41 – Dana Francis is a steamfitter/pipe-fitter and apprentice welder and she hosts the Career Pod podcast – she describes her journey to get here.
2:16 – How Dana knew she needed to get into the trades.
3:42 – The Women Building Futures program in Canada was the jumpstart she needed to get into her new career.
6:00 – Dana emphasises the importance of employers supporting women in the trades.
6:51 – Is it difficult for women to start careers in the trades in their 30’s?
9:21 – Can only certain types of women survive in the trades industry?
10:56 – Has Dana received any special treatment being a woman on the job site?
12:34 – Dana’s experience working with other women on site.
16:24 – Advice to women entering the trades.
21:47 – Dana’s preference for extreme cold weather over extreme hot weather.
23:29 – How they deal with bears and cougars on site.
25:35 – Dana’s assessment of how the trades industry is doing in Canada.
27:34 – How Dana navigates home/life balance as a mom.
30:30 – The sleep deprivation and physical damage that new moms are dealing with are really impairments to their effective work life.
32:35 – Dana talks about her passion for diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
34:39 – Advice to women considering a career in the trades.
“I think you can pretty much start at any age.”
“You have to be able to navigate different social situations at work.”
“I don’t ever want to think that there is not room for improvement.”
“I have to find a way to laugh at myself every day because if not I am taking my job too seriously.”
“Once your foot is in the door, make sure you’re holding the door for someone else.”
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On this episode of This is a Man’s World, we are joined by Chelsea Smith, a welder in the US. Chelsea’s interest in welding began as a supplemental skill at autobody school, but she soon realized that she loved being able to create just about anything from a plain piece of steel. After receiving her Associate’s degree in welding, she got married, had a baby, and picked up a few odd jobs, but when her son went to kindergarten she decided it was time to pick welding back up and get on the job market.
She certainly experienced her share of resistance from potential employers for being a woman in welding, but she aced the tests to get a job building cement mixers, so she was officially in the industry. That job was a good experience-builder, but there were just a few too many things going on there that Chelsea was not comfortable with, so she started “rage job hunting.” It’s a good thing she did, because she found her “unicorn job” which provides her with the satisfaction of accomplishing a lot while having plenty of flexibility and independence.
Chelsea doesn’t personally know any other female welders, but she is encouraged by the work of women in other trades and she looks forward to seeing more women in the welding field before long. She encourages women to just give it a try to see if welding might be for them, and she encourages employers to give women a fair shot at the welding jobs they have available.
1:09 – Introduction of Chelsea Smith
1:28 – Chelsea originally went to autobody school, but found her love for welding and switched
2:11 – Currently, she builds steamer ovens for cafeterias and buffets, but she used to build cement trucks
3:07 – She went to community college and got her Associate’s degree in welding, then struggled to find a professional welding job
3:52 – Chelsea got married right after college and ran into her first employment roadblocks
5:11 – She was discouraged, but soon had a baby and decided to stay home with him until he was in kindergarten
6:30 – Getting out of your comfort zone and taking that first step opens up a new world
7:31 – Chelsea describes her previous and current workplaces
9:23 – The worst thing about her previous employer was the unsafe working conditions
13:31 – Michelle and Chelsea talk about their experiences with unsafe working conditions and the disregard for human life in some situations
16:20 – Sometimes when the big burly men are too intimidated to say something to the production manager, it has to be the woman to get up the courage and confront the issue
17:16 – As the only female in either of her professional welding jobs, Chelsea has learned how to stand up for herself and get along with the guys
19:15 – Chelsea provides advice to women in welding or one of the trades and brings in some interesting statistics about positions men and women are willing to apply for
23:39 – Attitudes that Chelsea has encountered about women being in the trade
26:45 – Chelsea and her husband’s similar workplaces create the opportunity for good conversations
30:19 – Examples of men who have been unwilling to work with women on the job site
31:58 – Chelsea shares a crazy story of when a go-kart caught on fire and almost landed on her while she was fixing it
36:25 – What Chelsea really loves about welding
37:19 – Chelsea’s advice to women considering a profession in welding
38:24 – What Chelsea wants employers of women in the trades to keep in mind
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I have a in depth chat with the Melbourne Chippy Chick AKA Stefanie Apostolidis. WE discuss everything from Instagram haters, The Tradie Lady club, what its like working for you dad and what skills she thinks you need to be able to work successfully alongside guys. Stef has a huge social media following and is inspiring the next generation of ladies to join the trades. Thanks for all your support, and if you want to grab yourself some podcast extras and help keep the podcast going please check out our Patreon page. https://www.patreon.com/Thisisamansworld Go Ahead and follow Stef on social media https://www.instagram.com/melbournechippychick/ https://melbournechippychick.com.au/ Social media links for us!
Hey folks and welcome to the “This Is A Man's World” podcast. This first episode is all about me, your host Michelle Hands. I am a UK based construction site engineer and today I break the silence on what it is like surviving in a man's world of construction. Join me for the ride as I expose some home truths about my 12-year journey. I'm sharing both the shocking and down right hilarious stories as well as giving a little insight into how I've navigated a career in a male dominated industry. For all future episodes, I'll be talking to like-minded guests as we share experiences and put the world to right about our industries and the future of women within them.
For show notes please check out the website www.thisisamansworld.co.uk
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