I was born in 1956 into a traditional middle class Canadian family – two older sisters and an older brother and a house in the suburbs. I was the baby by six years. My dad was a successful businessman, and my mom was a housewife, although I’m aware that’s not how we refer to women (or men) who stay home to raise their family these days, but back then that’s what her role was called.
When I was a kid I would go to the shop with my dad on weekends and school holidays. Dad was a partner in a Construction Equipment Rental company called Ray-Gordon Equipment and as a little boy it was a magical place for me, full of interesting smells and powerful machines.
As I grew older, I learned what all the machines did and how to operate them. I was taught how to perform basic mechanical work on the equipment and trucks. I was given jobs that exposed me to business operations and sales and customer service. I learned how all of this was interconnected and essential to running a successful business.
I was a boy in a man’s world, and I loved it!
The only females in the company were doing secretarial or administrative work. There were no female truck drivers, yard coordinators, mechanics, rental coordinators, salespeople, or customer service staff. If my sisters were offered part time work at the company, it would be in the office doing filing or working the switchboard. Yes, we had a switchboard! Google it!!
What a shame. Women did not hold operations, sales, or management positions in construction equipment businesses. Men did these jobs.
Fast forward to today. Things have changed. My daughter in law is the founder and CEO of a very successful tutoring company with operations in Canada and the U.S. My other daughter in law is the Vice President of a major marketing company with global reach. I am very proud of these powerful women in my life.
Countless studies have shown that companies perform better when there are more women in leadership positions. The culture is more inclusive and collaborative, and the customers of these companies are happier.
That is why I am so energized and excited for the future of our company and our industry. While it is true that our industry lags other sectors in employing women in leadership positions, this represents a great opportunity to make our companies better.
The recruitment, hiring, training, mentoring, and sponsoring of more women will make our companies better, and I, personally, am leading this initiative at Cooper Equipment Rentals. Not because it is the politically correct thing to do, but because it is essential to the long-term superior performance of our business.
I salute the women of Cooper and look forward to all the wonderful things ahead for you and all the women that will join our team in the future.
There are no limits.