May 19, 2022

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Healdsburg Lumber CEO wins North Bay Women in Business award

We have done our best at HLC to offer flexibility to all of our employees to help them cope with whatever burdens they are facing.

We want our staff to be able to take care of their personal life because it will reduce stress and help them focus when they are at work. I think that for the most part, our team has remained relatively calm during pandemic because they know we are there to help support them.

Lastly on COVID, which changes in routine or approach to your job you’ve made as the result of the pandemic will remain in place, either at work or in your outlook on your home life?

Like most people, I’ve been spending a lot more quality time with my husband and daughters since SIP began.

The after-school activities and weekend errands that once dominated and dictated our family time have been replaced with a much slower, more relaxed lifestyle. I know the quiet won’t last forever, so moving forward it will be a priority to schedule that time.

At our company, we’ve had to step up our technology-game to function during the pandemic. Pre-Covid, some of my staff had tech-phobia. I’m so proud of how they have stepped up and embraced new ways of doing things.

Being able to have meetings on Zoom has been so convenient and a big time-saver. We have several locations, so being able to jump on the computer instead of driving to a separate location has freed up a lot of time and scheduling issues.

As a successful female professional, what were the biggest obstacles you faced and how did you overcome them?

Beginning a career in a very male-dominated industry was intimidating, to say the least, not to mention that I am also significantly younger than many of my counterparts.

I was fortunate to be brought up in an environment which greatly valued the contributions of women, but I knew that was not the case everywhere.

Early in my career, there were times that I was spoken down to, as though I didn’t know what I was talking about.

But I did know. I had to learn how to stand up for myself and have inner confidence that yes, I do know what I’m talking about. It takes practice to master that. I always encourage my female colleagues and staff to speak up and own their voice.

How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?

The building materials industry has a lot of room to grow technologically. I expect that we will see a lot of changes in how we quote and order materials, and interface with our customers, especially as it becomes less and less necessary for people to be working from a traditional office.

Who was your most important mentor?

Dan Weaver has been an important mentor in my life. He is the vice president of Sales at Healdsburg Lumber and has been with the company for over 40 years. I often look to him for insight and advice because not only does he know our company inside and out, he also knows the industry. He has taught me the true meaning and value of customer service and communication. He lets me make mistakes, but is always there to help guide me. I’m so grateful for his enduring support.

What advice would you give to a young woman entering your profession or the work world today?

The world is a lot different now than when I started out, which was very different than when my dad started out. I think there is great value in learning from your elders; both the ins and outs of the industry, and the history of how things came to be. It will give you a strong foundation.

Ask questions and ask for help, even if you feel silly doing so. And don’t be afraid to be wrong or make a mistake. That’s a great way to learn.

Most admired businessperson outside your organization: I admire Christine Marvin, of Marvin Windows and Doors. I’ve met her a handful of times, and it was so interesting that it some ways, she and I have similar stories: women with leading roles in the family business—in a traditionally male-dominated industry.

She’s out there working some really innovative new products for a huge company, but it still so approachable and down-to-earth.

Typical day at the office: The day must start with tea! I usually start by checking emails and returning phone calls. It’s really important to me to get face-time with all of my department managers regularly, so I make the rounds to as many as I can to get updates or answer any questions.

I want to make myself accessible to the rest of the staff, as well. Since we have a location in Gualala, I try to spend a day out there every few weeks. If I’m not out on a jobsite with a client, I’m often focused on helping with whatever is top priority for our company. Lately, that has been a lot of planning and communication about our new building.

Best place to work outside of your office: I try to avoid working while on vacation, though sometimes it’s unavoidable. That said, answering a few emails while sipping ice tea on the balcony of a hotel in Hawaii hardly seems like work. I’m definitely on board with working remotely!

Current reading: “All Adults Here” by Emma Straub

Most want to meet: I would have loved to have met Jane Austen.

Social media you most use: Instagram

Stress relievers: Lately my favorite stress relief is some sort of exercise. I especially enjoy taking walks. It’s time to myself when I can collect my thoughts and organize them. Plus, the endorphins from even a short walk help relax my body and give me an energy boost.

Favorite hobbies: I love reading, and spending time outside with my daughters, exploring nature.

But I’m also kind of a home body, and really enjoy spending mellow, quality time with family and friends.

If asked what would parents or significant others say about you?

I know that my parents are incredibly proud to see me take over our family company, and that I have a true passion for it. And though the company will evolve over time, I am committed to preserving the HLC DNA and culture established by my father and grandfather.

My husband, Chris, tells me that I am a caring and thoughtful wife and mother, and that I work hard to help provide for my family—financially and emotionally.