Natural stone is known for its endurance through time, testing and trends. It can withstand great pressure and all the elements and still retain its integrity and natural beauty. It sounds very much like the definition of a strong female leader. In the stone industry leaders must have these same qualities of strength and endurance, especially those who are women, as they face an industry that is still largely occupied by men.
To encourage more women to pursue a career in stone, and encourage the ones laboring in it to reach for leadership roles, it is important to showcase the talent, experience and leadership of the women working in the field today. Yet to say women in the industry have made great strides isn’t enough.
That’s why Polycor partners with Women In Stone – the MIA trade group that provides resources and opportunities to recruit, retain, and advance women in the stone industry. Women In Stone was launched two years ago in Las Vegas. Its services to industry women have grown from simple networking to mentoring and now to a premier stage to show off strong women in business who are an inspiration.
Last week at their Black Equinox event in Chicago, Polycor honored four of these women who have built and maintained stone companies with excellence, through changes in society and the industry: Barbara Cohen of Miller Druck Speciality Contracting; Brenda Edwards of TexaStone Quarries; Kathleen Stone of J.C. Stone; and Monica Gawet of Tennessee Marble Company.
From left: Kathleen Carle of J.C. Stone, Barbara Cohen of Miller Druck Speciality Contracting, Patrick Perusof Polycor, Monica Gawet of Tennessee Marble Company and Brenda Edwards of TexaStone Quarries.
At the event Polycor CEO Patrick Perus presented each leader with an achievement award hand carved by Polycor employee, Steve Schrenk, from a block of Alberene Soapstone. The image on the carvings is as unique as the women who were honored.
“I was thinking, What can I give these women that shows what it takes to be a leader in this industry? It must be something that is beautiful, strong, can weather any storm and a little bit hot headed. What can it be? A ram!,”Patrick Perus said with a laugh to the hundreds of stone industry members there. “I hope it will inspire other women. Over time the stone will change, with softer edges and a deep patina that tell the story of where it’s been, but its strength will never depreciate. And neither will the strength of these women or their accomplishments for their industry.”
The honorees with members of the Polycor staff and distributor partners.