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  • Writer's pictureNalani Smith

NWiR - Growing into the Industry

SA Roofing is very proud to have Kendall and myself both be members of National Women in Roofing. For those of you who don’t know, NWiR is a volunteer-based organization that was started in 2016. It “supports and advances the careers of women roofing professionals, from manufacturing to design to installation, investigation to repair to management, and every step in between. NWiR provides networking, mentoring, education and industry recruitment opportunities… Through a commitment to connect and empower women in roofing, NWiR members contribute to the overall betterment and professionalism of the roofing industry.” Kendall helped start the Oregon council in 2017 and has been an active member ever since.

Kendall is well known in the roofing industry, as it has been a part of her family for generations, and I have a very different professional background. My professional experience is extremely varied as I have been in multiple industries wearing different hats within each one. I worked full time to put myself through college and get my degree not knowing what exactly I wanted to do but I did know I wanted to support my family in whatever way was needed. My husband, Brandon Smith (co-owner with Chris Ekerson), has owned his own businesses since the day we met and over the last 10 years of our marriage I have seen all the ups and downs that come with small business ownership and the pros and cons it has for a family. When this business launched in the fall of 2021, I was very excited to help support it in whatever way I could and knew that learning about roofing was going to be part of that process. I was a little intimidated to go to my first meeting NWiR meeting since I was so new to the industry, and would be attending with Kendall who was so well integrated, but I am so glad I did!

This group of women is so welcoming and encouraging. Of course, it didn’t matter that I was so new to the industry as the whole point of this group is to get you plugged in, learning, and growing. Its foundation is to be an enriching environment and I figured that, out for myself, very quickly. Elaine Welteroth says “when we affirm women, it unlocks our power. It gives us permission to shine brighter”. The previous industries I came from all had a lot of secrecy between competing businesses, so cards were held close and there wasn’t a lot of friendly mingling amongst competitors. It’s so refreshing to be in an environment where the goal is to better the industry (especially for women) and encourage others along the way. A lot of friendships form in this group as women, mothers, and as professionals. Kendall and I sit as the Marketing Chair for the leadership of the Oregon Council. I have loved having the opportunity to get better acquainted with the industry while already being able to help put my professional skills to good use.

Last week our council put on a membership drive that we hope to be an annual event. We had over 50 people in attendance from different areas of the industry: manufacturing, distribution, contractors, installers, etc. The Oregon council started with four people and it has grown to this! It was such a fun evening and we all made so many new connections. It’s been so exciting to be part of a group with such a positive energy towards growth. I have found my participation in the NWiR group to be of great value. I think it’s extremely important for our youth, especially girls, to know there are so many opportunities in a variety of fields where their unique skills can be utilized. From one of my favorite author’s, Maya Angelou “A woman in harmony with her spirit is like a river flowing. She goes where she will without pretense and arrives at her destination prepared to be herself and herself only.” May you be encouraged to show up, exactly as you are, and shine brightly.

Check out some photos from our event last week!

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