Being a woman in the HVACR field can feel very lonely. Since you’re reading this, you’ve probably read some of my “sob stories” in Confessions of an HVAC Chick, so you know about some of my more awkward moments being one female face in a sea of men at HVACR conferences, or in HVAC continuing education classes. These experiences have prompted me to seek sources of estrogen outside my daily work life by participating with such organizations as The Women’s Fund and with events like the Women’s Forum, and is one of the main reasons why I joined the Women in HVACR Organization.
My participation in WHVACR allows me to surround myself with like-minded ladies who share my passion for HVAC and don’t make me feel like the “odd (wo)man out.” For me, the WHVACR program was a great source of networking opportunities, education and moral support. The only thing it lacked was a formal mentorship program…until now.
My Dad has been (and still is) an excellent mentor to me. Before he handed over the reins of his company my brother and I, he took great pains to teach me about running an HVACR business – from business finance, management, HR, estimating, permitting, industry trends and beyond. But despite his 40-plus years of experience, there was one thing he couldn’t mentor me on: what it is like to be a woman in this industry. I have discovered that in many cases men think and behave differently than women. Our perceptions, experiences and take-aways can be very different, even given the same circumstances. Though I’ve learned a lot from my own limited experiences (aka mistakes), I would have benefited greatly by advice from someone of my own gender who “gets” where I’m coming from and can help me navigate these male-infested waters to get where I want to go. That is why I am so excited to participate in the WHVACR mentorship program. I get to play a roll in connecting the next generation of women in HVACR to the wisdom of women who came before.
Designed to be a little like Match.com, but for mentors and mentees instead of couples, participation is as easy as filling out a simple online form. The form provides the organization with the information it needs to match applicants with an appropriate mentor to meet their schedule, background and future career goals.
WHVACR is currently seeking both Mentors and Mentees from all aspects of the industry. Anyone interested in participating either as a mentor or mentee (or perhaps both), should contact the WHVACR Mentorship and Education Committee by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out an application online at http://www.womeninhvacr.org/webapp/p/320/mentorship.