by: Ivanna Rice-Flewharty
Previously, I covered a topic using a structured interview with a woman in the electrical industry in Texas. We learned that Karen is highly educated, had many years of experience in her field, initializes protocols and directly relates company goals and criteria to her associates. Also, it is impressive that she was able to demonstrate that if one keeps an open mind to progress while applying traditional values, one will be able to find a foothold in this industry. She is successful because of her willingness to work hard, progress with the new trends, and be a leader for her company.
This week, we speak with someone that is a valuable decision maker and who manages the local IEC branch in Lubbock, TX. Wanda Rennie is the Executive Director (E.D.), and her skill set includes member enrollment, program director for the Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) school, communications facilitator, event coordinator, and compliance oversight for her trade association. Her role as an E.D. in an electrical trade school/organization is important because she is driving the success of those joining this business sector and producing an atmosphere of collaboration within this environment. Women have more opportunity to participate in the electrical industry than in previous years because growth is steady. If interested in joining the school, a girl/woman would need to interview with board members and others at the IEC of Lubbock office. There are other regional branches as well.
In order to gain a better understanding of how women view their position, gain leverage, see the perspective of women in the electrical industry on average, I asked Wanda to provide answers to questions in this survey. Again, the survey covered general information as well as gender conflicts and/or bias. There were several questions asked in this structured interview, however, Wanda was able to provide distinct and complete answers for the following:
Q: Do you believe there is a gender bias in the industry you work for? If so, why? If not, why? Are there policies in your company involving Equal Pay/Compensation Discrimination (EEO)?
A: “In my specific position as an Association Director, no, I do not believe there is gender bias. However, in the electrical industry, on the level of electricians working in the field, I do believe gender bias exists. I feel that it exists both ways. In other words, not only are men biased against women, I believe that very few women consider a career in the electrical industry as a viable career for themselves. No, we do not have a specific policy regarding Equal Pay/Compensation.”
Q: Do you feel limited in your job setting or in the past regarding wage or advancement?
Q: Why is your position important to your industry, in your words?
A: “As Executive Director of a trade association, I feel that we do very good work for our members and the industry as a whole. More specifically, our association’s role in training future electricians is critical to the industry.”
Q: What are you looking forward to in the next ten years regarding your industry?
A: “I look forward to more people – men and women – getting interested in being in the trade, so that we can continue to grow our much-needed workforce.”