As summer slowly draws to an end, we could not be more thankful for the AMAZING women who have become a part of our #WomenWednesdays campaign. June and July served as an amazing transition period for the campaign as we officially branded the campaign with the color yellow (to let you know that there is positivity on your news feed!) and had the opportunity to do a special month long series on Women in HVAC (thanks to the incredible Women in HVACR Facebook Group). Keep reading for more inspirational stories and advice from these business owners and HVAC technicians below!  Please be sure to support these small business owners by visiting their social media links and/or websites as well.

Clarisa Meadows & Courtney Crants | Co-founders & Co-Owners of Composed Rose | Nashville, TN

Instagram: @composedrose

Facebook: Composed Rose

Website/Online Store: Composed Rose

We first met Clarisa & Courtney via The Young Fables. Back in May, The Young Fables’ lead singer, Laurel, joined our campaign. We could not help but notice her gorgeous sense of style which had come from Composed Rose, and we had to know more about the women behind the brand!

USWHPRO: What is the story behind Composed Rose?

Clarisa & Courtney: Composed Rose was created between two friends, Courtney and Clarisa, who both had dreams to own their own business. Clarisa had always wanted a boutique, but had no idea where to start, and Courtney, with her background in business banking, offered to partner up and Composed Rose was started. We both LOVE clothes and shopping. We both felt it was extremely important to choose clothing with variety, as we all as women are different. The quality was top priority. We wanted classic pieces that had a trendy flair but could last long after the trend was gone.

USWHPRO: How did you come up with the name Composed Rose?

Clarisa & Courtney: We were looking for a name that embodies what it was we were trying to sell. In our discussions, one of the things we wanted to have were items that could create a while “look.” We wanted to help women compose outfits and also to feel composed or “put together” in the pieces they purchase from us. We feel every woman is like a rose, beautiful and unique, so “Composed Rose” was named.

USWHPRO: Is there a woman who inspires you?

Clarisa & Courtney: For Clarisa, there are so many but to choose one, Stevie Nicks has always been an inspiration. Her honesty and authenticity in her music, her fashion, and her spirit are all things she admires. For Courtney, her grandmother is a huge inspiration. She grew up in such a challenging generation and with so many rough times, facing so many obstacles. She married young and always taught Courtney about work ethic, strength, and wisdom. She taught her “if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right” and to always follow your dreams.

USWHPRO: Do you feel you have faced adversity as a woman in the workforce?

Clarisa & Courtney: Absolutely! Not with Composed Rose because we are a women owned and women run business for women. In other jobs, absolutely. We both experienced feeling “pigeonholed” into a position. Once you had a job title, that was it. People only saw you in that role and it made it harder to move up or change your role. For Courtney, especially in commercial banking, it was seen as a “man’s job.” Overcoming it came with working harder and basically doing the job you wanted before you had it, to prove that you could do the job and do it better than everyone else. Those times impacted both of us with Composed Rose. We had to fight to be here and before we even fully decided to open, we researched every single thing we could find on opening a boutique. We have worked hard our whole lives and the rewarding thing with Composed Rose, is that all the hard work is for OUR business. We are seeing where all the research, all the hours, and all the sweat and tears…all of it is so rewarding when we receive a message that someone loved our clothes or when we really get to know our clients and can order things we know they will love and look amazing in and they do! It’s not just about clothing to us. The relationships are so important.

USWHPRO: What advice do you have for other women who are considering entering the fashion industry?

Clarisa & Courtney: When we first started, we heard multiple times “Don’t get discouraged,” we heard it so much, we actually felt people didn’t believe in us, but now we get it. You can get discouraged. You have to believe in your products and yourself. There’s so much to learn and so many speed jumps in the road that no amount of research can prepare you for. You are competing with so many other businesses doing the same thing you are. So our advice would be find your own niche, own who you are as a business and what you want to do, try many things to get your business out there and see what sticks and enjoy the ride. We feel if we are choosing quality piece at affordable prices, we can’t lose. The hardest part is getting your name out there for people to come to see your website. We have many repeat customers and we believe it’s because we really care about them and want to make sure every purchase they make with us makes them feel as if they have their own personal stylist. We want them to reach out, to discuss their body type, and their style and we want to make sure they are getting pieces that fit them best.

 

Khira | Founder & Owner of Khi’s Designz | Columbus, OH

Instagram: @khisdesignz

Facebook: Khi’s Designz (formerly Scribe Pal Co)

Website/Bookings: Khi’s Graphic Designs

Khira is the fearless leader of Khi’s Designz and has helped us brand with her incredible eye for detail and sense of creativity! Quote from Khira's Q&AShe is the mastermind behind our Blog en Español designs, new blog poster designs, and several larger projects which are currently under way.

USWHPRO: What is the story behind Scribe Pal Co (aka Khi’s Designz)?

Khira: The story behind Scribe Pal is I wanted to create a platform for authors that were in need of services that were affordable. Not every author can afford to shell out thousands of dollars towards their books, so I wanted to be the person to help them market, network, and even edit their books with prices they could afford.

USWHPRO: Is there a woman who inspires you?

Khira: Yes, the woman who inspires me is my mother. She always struggled to provide for me and my siblings, so I work so hard to be able to retire the both of us one day.

USWHPRO: Do you feel you have faced adversity as a woman in the workforce?

Khira: In complete honesty, I don’t feel as if I’ve faced adversity. Everyone I’ve worked with has been supportive and kind.

USWHPRO: What advice do you have for other women who may be interested in pursuing a career in graphic design?

Khira: The advice I’d give other women graphic designers is to stay focused and keep learning your craft. There are so many systems and tools to use that help elevate your creativeness and it’s okay to keep learning. Never be afraid of growth; that’s what makes you stand out.

 

Women in HVAC 

In the past few months, we have been building the foundation of our HVAC division, so we joined the Women in HVACR Facebook Group to prepare for our future team growth. Throughout July, we had the opportunity to collaborate with various HVAC (and soon-to-be HVAC) technicians!

 

Rebecca Gregg | HVAC Student | Meadville, PA

Instagram: @rebecca.gregg143

Rebecca's Q&A QuoteUSWHPRO: What led you to become interested in the HVAC field and what are your career goals?

Rebecca: I worked in the food service industry for over 20 years. Every time I would have a service tech in, I was enamored with what they were doing and asked a TON of questions!!! (Probably to their dismay 😏) March 2018 I found myself jobless and trying to figure out a new career path… After some deliberation, I settled on trade school for HVAC/R. I have never looked back and am loving EVERYTHING so far! I have begun plans to open my own business upon completion of my schooling in September. 

USWHPRO: Do you feel you have faced adversity as a woman in HVAC/R?

Rebecca: I have faced a small amount of adversity in this career choice, however, most of my experiences have been amazing and super positive! The HVAC/R community is like a giant extended family, for the most part, and has been extremely welcoming and supportive! To the few situations that have been more negative, I let my work speak for itself. I have learned long ago that you cannot please everyone!

USWHPRO: What advice do you for other women who are interested in becoming HVAC techs? 

Rebecca: DO IT!! The HVAC/R trade is really starting to flourish and needs more of the woman’s touch! It is never too late to start a new career path!!

 

Melissa Yarb | 5 Year HVAC-R Technician | Clearwater, FL

 

USWHPRO: What led you to become interested in the HVAC-R field?Melissa Q&A Quote

Melissa: I’ve always known that I was going to have a trade as a career choice. Entering high school, I chose my elective course to be carpentry. When I graduated, I lost focus and worked every fast food job you could possibly imagine. I quickly realized that even if carpentry wasn’t the path I chose, I should still find a trade. So, I headed to the nearest trade school. HVAC-R was the only tool related trade offered there. I knew absolutely NOTHING about air conditioning, however, I followed instructions and learned everything I could. I graduated at the top of my class and even earned my EPA universal license!

USWHPRO: Do you feel have faced adversity as a woman in HVAC-R? How did you overcome it?

Clearwater, FL Views with MelissaMelissa: After graduating HVAC-R school it was very challenging for me to find a job. A lot of employers would turn me down assuming, I was looking for a dispatcher/office job. Eventually I found a company that was looking to hire an “installer helper” with limited experience! I got the job! The guys that I worked with all thought it was really exciting to work with a woman in the field. Sometimes I would get the occasional joke. I quickly learned that battles had to be chosen and would ignore the jokes and keep working. Eventually the guys realized my work was good and started taking me seriously.

USWHPRO: What advice do you have for other women who are considering becoming HVAC technicians?

Melissa: I would strongly encourage other women to join me the HVAC-R field! It’s made me strong and more independent. You also get to see new things and places every day. My favorite? Rooftop views on Clearwater Beach! (See photo on the left).

 

Jessica Pfeifer | 14 Year HVAC-R Technician | Phoenix, AZ

Jessica is currently self-employed as a handywoman until she gets her contractor license and starts her own HVAC company. She has worked for many companies and seen their practices: “I strive to bring back honesty, integrity, and reliability at a fair and honest price to an industry that has started to resemble the automotive industry.” 

USWHPRO: What led you to become interested in the HVAC-R field? Jessica Q&A Quote

Jessica: I’ve always been fairly mechanically inclined and a good problem solver. When I was a little girl, my father would always take me out to the airport where he worked to help him repair small airplanes he was working on or I’d help him in the garage fixing his truck. I decided to get into HVAC for a few reasons: one, I hate desks! I can’t stand being in one place for 8 hours a day and wanted to do something that would keep me mobile and I could meet new people. I wanted something I could use my knowledge and skills to help people, and I wanted a career I could take anywhere and always be a demand for, so I chose HVAC. 

USWHPRO: Do you feel have faced adversity as a woman in HVAC-R? How did you overcome it?

Jessica: Yes, I have faced some adversity being a woman in a male dominated industry, but not as much as some might think. Women are generally well received especially by female customers. Because of the times we live in, women constantly have to be extra perceptive of her surroundings and be aware of any dangers that might be lurking around. I can’t tell you how many times my female customers answer the door to see a female technician and a sense of relief wash over her, cause she is home alone and doesn’t know who will be in her home. However, I pride myself on being an extremely thorough and honest technician, but once in a while, I will get those customers who don’t think I know what I’m talking about and wants a second opinion from a male technician. Adversity just comes with the territory of being a woman. The best way to overcome it is to just do your job to the best of your abilities and not give a crap what one person thinks or does. Adversity just makes us women strive to be that much better.

USWHPRO: What advice do you have for other women who are considering becoming HVAC technicians?

Jessica: Know your stuff better than anyone. Never stop learning, cause the Industry is constantly changing. Don’t be discouraged if you mess up or don’t know something, it takes a lot of time and experience to become a great technician. I’ve been doing this for 14 years and I still come across problems that I need help with. Always be honest to your customers in what they need done. You might not be a top revenue earner by being honest, but you’ll gain a customer for life and their confidence that what you are telling them is 100% true.

 

Misti Meiners | Comfort Advisor at Chief/Bauer Service Experts | Champaign, IL

 

Misti Q&A QuoteUSWHPRO: What led you to become interested in the HVAC-R field?

Misti: My dad has been in the field for 18+ years. I had always been very mechanical. I finished college with a degree in social work, it went nowhere… So I called my dad told him I was ready for him to help me get a career. I went from an install helper to a lead installer to utility person. Currently I am a comfort advisor, my ultimate goal is to become a trainer or to be running my own center.

USWHPRO: Do you feel have faced adversity as a woman in HVAC-R? How did you overcome it?

Misti: I have faced a ton of adversity in this field. I just ignored the remarks and showed them why I belonged. I was told from the beginning that I didn’t belong by co-worker. Less than a year later, he came back and apologized. Customers were hard to deal with but, I have come to realize that not everyone will like me and that sometimes we will just need to send a different person to that house. 

USWHPRO: What advice do you have for other women who are considering becoming HVAC technicians?

Misti: Do it. Be confident and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t this is the best choice I could have made for myself and my family. The path is rough in the beginning but all things that take this much work are always worth it. It’s an investment in your future not a job but a career that can take you anywhere.

 

Joslyn Marie | Singer & Founder/Owner of Secret Heart Photography | Chicago, IL

 

We came into contact with Joslyn Marie after hearing her music and discovering Secret Heart Photography on social media. Be sure to check out her incredible music and photography that captures self-expression, identity, and Chicago, of course!

Instagram: @joslynsinger | @secretheartphotography

Facebook: Joslyn-Marie | Secret Heart Photography

Pandora: Joslyn MarieYouTube: Joslyn-Marie Website: Joslyn-Marie

USWHPRO: Is there a woman who inspires you? Joslyn Marie Q&A Quote

Joslyn: Yes, personally my mom really inspires me. And always has inspired me from the moment I’ve met her. She has always been such a hard worker and has always done it with a smile on her face. I think I get my drive from my mom and have learned that if you want something bad enough. You must work 10x harder to get it done and make it happen! A celebrity inspiration: Michelle Obama! She just carries herself with so much grace and has done so much for woman all across the world. She has such a powerful impact in the world that inspire so many individuals but more importantly young woman and the future is looking brighter because of her! And I am all about that. 

USWHPRO: What inspired your photography career/Secret Heart Photography?

Joslyn: The inspiration behind my photography career was actually my music career! I started performing a lot and playing shows. During my performances, I would see photographers taking my photos or other bands photos and I really enjoyed their point of view. I figured well whenever I am not performing or playing shows I would take photos. The photographer honestly has the second best spot in the audience. And, I decided that I wanted to help out my music friends with photos for their shows whenever I could! And I picked up a camera and whenever I didn’t have shows. I asked my friends if I could take photos of them and as payment I would just want them to pay for my ticket and let me capture them in “their” moment. It was really inspiring for me to have another outlet creatively and helped with my goal of empowering other artists during their time of doing what they were passionate about. And I eventually started getting so many opportunities and gigs that I decided to create an actual company. Leslie Feist is one of my favorite musicians and that is where the name came from. One of her songs! Secret Heart Photography has grown from Music photography to portrait, lifestyle, and now wedding photography. And I have an amazing team of photographers that work with me. I never thought it would grow this substantially but it did and quickly! All the sake of passion of the arts.

USWHPRO:Do you feel you have faced adversity as a woman? 

Joslyn: Yes, as a woman in any industry we always experience adversity. And it’s extremely unfortunate but we are making changes. And we must continue to make these changes in the workplace. This was very difficult for me to realize at first in the music industry. In such a male dominate industry, I really had to prove myself to a lot people. I was hardly ever introduced to other artists at first, people would assume I was either a friend or a significant other to another artist. I could never just be the actual artist or reason why the event was happening or we were all there for a meeting. And it was frustrating at first but I quickly learned that I had to stand on my soapbox and make others know that you can’t read a book by it’s cover. This cover may look innocent and sweet but let me SHOW YOU what I can bring to the table. And with my voice, I have always brought it. And then some! And then on an entire separate experience not only being a woman but a woman of color. It has always been even more difficult to try to stand out in the industry. And with my photography career, I have experience it as well. Which is why I just decided to make my own company of women photographers for the women who felt like they weren’t gaining opportunity for themselves. I wanted to help them and create a platform for them to gain confidence and help them make connections for building a clientele for their future. Hoping that they can do the same for themselves eventually. In the music career and photography career, I had to build my own platforms to gain recognition and more opportunity for not only myself but other women of color. I created a monthly Open Mic Event for other creative artists to not only showcase their work but to network with one another. And then help other woman photographers with gaining photography gigs and clientele. And being a part of the team for Secret Heart Photography. 

USWHPRO: What advice do you have for other women who aspire to become photographers and/or singers?

Joslyn: The advice I would give is if you want something badly enough in any career. You have to work twice as hard as a woman to gain recognition. Or to get the momentum that you are looking for. And whenever someone tries to bring you down. You tell them they are wrong and let them watch you succeed in a dusty path behind you. Because you will keep going to your goals and when they want to work with you later in life. You can decide if you want to be there for them then and now. Some of my friends aren’t as nice as I am. They move on quickly, but I always try my best to give others a second chance. Always… Be yourself the entire time you strive to be a photographer or a singer because everyone else is already taken. It’s going to be rough at times and you will want to give up but always believe in yourself. And surround yourself with a team of people that are do-ers, dreamers, and hustlers too! Because those are the type of people you will want to remind you when you are down to get right back up. But once you are on a wave of success, you will reach a point where you can take a breath of relief. Just breath in, and remind yourself that you got this. You had this all along and then you have to get back to work because if you celebrate for too long then you will miss out on opportunities. But all while you are on this journey, you have to remember to have fun!!

 

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