Bob Cook dispenses tips on the interviewing process during his seminar on hiring practices.
ST. LOUIS - Education and inspiration topped the bill at the first annual "Women in HVACR" (WHVACR) Conference, which was attended by more than 50 women and men.

Education sessions covered a variety of topics and included abundant participant interaction, the association said. Sessions included:

  • "Women in Leadership" - Sharon McGee, a consultant based in Austin, Texas, encouraged women to get involved in the industry and also to get other women involved. McGee cited energy, enthusiasm, maturity, and the ability to make good decisions as traits of good leaders, male or female.

    Dottie Gandy describes her experiences as a founding member of the National Association of Women Business Owners.
  • "How Would You Handle This Situation?" - Bob Cook, of Preeminent Technologies, Tacoma, Wash., led this situational management session.

    He included small group discussions of the interviewing process, asking participants to consider what types of interview questions would help expose candidates' strengths, weaknesses, character, judgment, and ability to work under pressure. Cook stressed that character is more important than what you know, and encouraged participants to keep this in mind when making hiring decisions.

  • "Choose! The Role That Choice Plays in Shaping Women's Lives" - Dottie Gandy, author of the book by the same name, shared her experiences as a founding member of the National Association of Women Business Owners. Over time, Gandy said, she has concluded that the ability to make choices is what really impacts the direction of women's lives.

    Consultant Sharon McGee encourages women to get involved in the industry.
  • "Earning Respect in a Male-Dominated Industry" - MCAA board member Kathy Crosby discussed the progress women have made throughout history and offered the following tips for women seeking to gain respect in industry and in life: get involved, establish business alliances, dress the part, don't be afraid to get your hands dirty, take an interest in people, and develop a creed.

    Crosby cited her own creed: "Take the high road; you will never be sorry. Be a human being first and a businessperson second. Be yourself; people will see through you otherwise. Don't be afraid to take risks. Be prepared. Do what you say you're going to do. Constantly look for the hole in your armor and fix it."

    Valerie Stakes, vice president of Women in HVACR, addresses attendees at the group’s inaugural meeting.
    Ferris State University, American Standard, CertainTeed, and North American Technician Excellence (NATE) were among the conference's sponsors. Founded last year, Women in HVACR has grown to more than 130 members from all facets of the industry, including commercial-residential contracting, manufacturing, supply houses, consultants, trainers, associations, and publishing.

    For more information, contact Valerie Stakes, vice president of Women in HVACR, at 216-931-9439.

    Publication date: 12/20/2004