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Level Up Stronger; Women in Trades

Updated: Jul 22, 2022



The really great benefit to trades industries is the opportunities and advancement possible. Many people go into the trades and work their way up to six figure careers, or find adjacent paths like Project Management, Supervisory Roles, and even Safety Managers.


Amazing women like the ones featured here are not letting their gender or those around them keep them from leveling up stronger in life.


In this season at Level Up Stronger we’re speaking with women across the globe who have found careers in the male dominated trades industries. It’s often hard for many women to see themselves in these male dominated careers but there are a whole lot of AMAZING AND TALENTED women who are not only working in trades but thriving, so we explore how they got there, what it’s like now, and get their advice on how to get started.


LINDSAY DAVIS, A JOURNEYMAN MECHANICAL INSULATOR, who has 7 women working on her team!! Like so many women, Lindsay knew she had to find a way to provide for her kids, and after a chance encounter with a Women in Trades group at a career fair, Lindsay began her journey into a career that will undoubtedly support her for a lifetime. She, so many other women in her field are finding ways to level up stronger.


AMANDA COOLING, JOURNEYMAN ELECTRICIAN, who knew after starting college that it just wasn’t for her and she most definitely didn’t want to sit at a desk all day. Seven years later Amanda doesn’t regret her choice to level up stronger and become a Journeyman Electrician specializing in commercial voice/data/and video. Now Amanda balances this dynamic career, being a mom, and supporting other women through the international brotherhood (or should we say sisterhood) of electrical workers.


E'ALA BURGES, CONSTRUCTION SALES, who is leveling up stronger in Construction Sales. Like so many covid impacted E’ala’s career and sent her into a completely new direction. Trades industries can be rife with stereotypes, and working directly with the public can be a challenge when it comes to historically male dominated industries because you’re working against those stereotypes within the public at large. E’ala sat down with me to discuss how she strives to grow her knowledge and be the best in the business, and how she’s helping to develop a new normal of women in construction.


JACKIE ROBINSON, INDUSTRIAL HVAC TECHNICIAN, currently on maternity leave, shows us how she completely shifted careers and manages balancing motherhood and trades. There are so many stereotypes surrounding gender roles and trades industries. But powerful women like Jackie are knocking those back. No matter where you are in your life, no matter what the circumstances are you can decided to shift into a new career. And there are women like Jackie who are showing us that they can be successful new moms while working in trades. Despite the gender disparity women can and do thrive in these industries, Jackie and others sharing their stories helps us to see that if it’s something you’re passionate about, take the leap.


RILEY NEUGEBAUER, SOLAR PHOTOVOLTAIC INSTALLER, who was tired of sitting at a desk all day and wanted a more hands on career than the one her bachelors in environmental studies was granting her. So, she moved to Colorado and joined a Solar Photovoltaic installation team where she’s thriving in another male dominated trade. As demand for solar power generation has increased, so has the need for skilled tradespeople, so why not women? Like Riley there are a lot of women who need or want something different, the ability to get out of an office and into the sunshine. Riley is a true inspiration and she’s tapped into a few really great organizations. I have no doubt that Riley will be successful in changing education for women in renewable energy and she and others in the field are truly an inspiration and shows that you can always shift your career, learn something new and level up stronger into a completely new industry. Riley is another great example of women thriving in trades and now giving back to the next generation.


NIKKI NOBEL, JOURNEYMAN WELDER, PROFESSOR, Nikki Nobel, a 20 year veteran in the welding industry. Nikki has an entrepreneurial spirit but perhaps her best super power, other than being a mom and running a farm, is teaching the next generation of welders. Nikki is truly an inspiration and shows that with perseverance and striving to go with what makes you happy, along with never giving up your dreams, will land you in a place you truly love. Welding is in the blood!! And I think her students are absolutely better off for having a teacher who’s so passionate about the trade and has such a long-standing amazing career.


TERRI DOUGLASS, JOURNEYMAN WELDER, a bad ass woman in welding. Did you know that less than 5% of the people in the welding trades are women? Terry Douglass has been leveling up stronger in the welding industry for more than 14 years. And I sat down with her to discuss how she and so many other women are thriving this the physically demanding male dominated industry of welding…. where she is often the only women on the job. Welding is male dominated industry with only 3% of women in this career. It commands skill and perseverance, and for women in this trade like Terry it sometimes mean you have to work 10x harder to gain the respect you deserve. Seeking out a career to enable her to give her son the life he deserves was a driving force for this career minded mother. Terri Douglas didn’t let gender bias get in the way of her success and is definitely leveling up in her career in as a journeyman welder. She is just one example of woman thriving in the trades and making a great life for herself and by joining us today she's helping other females to see themselves in a similar path.


JULIA WISER, APPRENTICE ELECTRICIAN, As an apprentice today is tougher than ever, especially for girls in the trades like Julia. A major electrical construction company recognized Julia's skill and passion for electrical, so they hired her - a woman in a male dominated industry and are providing on the job training and paying for her to go school! Julia like all women in trades is super inspiring!! Did you know that less than 3% of all electricians are women… so you can imagine that there might be a lot of challenges and barriers to entering this career for any women considering this field and a lot of challenges to thrive. Julia sat down with me this week to discuss how she became an apprentice electrician and how we can bring more women to the trades. In our conversation she describes what it's like to land a job that guarantees you can go to work while learning your craft. She shares the joy of finally realizing she can do anything she sets her mind to, and the relief of having a steady paycheck and a career path with exponential growth!


HOW CAN YOU LEVEL UP TOO?

Find a program, explore your options, keep an open mind and put in the work. Those are the keys to success for women looking to see if a trades career is the right fit. And there are women like Lindsay who are showing us that you can be successful.


Reach out to a sister in trades and ask their advice, everyone of the women we have interviewed this season bravely stepped into a new career that society tells us is not the right fit, but they’ve made a phenomenal niche for themselves and the trades are better for the diversity they bring. These amazing women and so many more are mentors and sisters at arms who are willing and capable to lend a helping hand.


At LEVEL UP STRONGER we’re striving to help women improve their lives, provide for their families, and build a career; and what better place than in the trades where women can be recognized for their amazing talents, the complete rockstar capabilities, and their extreme courage. We encourage all women to consider these industries, talk to women in the field like these women and get their perspective on how rewarding this experience has been.

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