Although men hold 85% of the swimming pool industry jobs, the women here at Olympus Pools rise above the waterline. The women who work at Olympus Pools are involved with every aspect of our business, from sales and marketing to scheduling and construction. Even as you enter any of our three locations, the first face you will see is a smiling, dedicated, motivated woman.
We are proud to employ these women as they are the most talented and qualified individuals in our industry. These women are a great representation of what Olympus Pools aims for: quality construction and excellent customer service.
In celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8th, we commend the many women employed at Olympus Pools with gratitude and appreciation for not only their hard work but their decision to challenge gender bias and fight for gender equality, starting in the world within pool building.
This year, 40% of the Olympus Pools employees are women. Women are represented in every department within the company: sales, permitting, accounting, marketing, service, and construction. Several of the women on our team have been with us for many years and have worked hard to be promoted to management positions.
We want to introduce some of these women and share how they have been successful, using persistence to reach their goals in this male-dominated industry.
Toni Masse is the first female sales designer hired within our company and has been with us since 2015. Upon being hired as a sales designer, she decided to train for 12 weeks (more than double the requirement) before entering the field. Toni chose to dedicate this time to master the craft of pool design, have the necessary construction knowledge, and fully understand every aspect that comes with it. It is no wonder that she exceeded her goals and quickly became one of the industry’s top sales designers. Toni now represents our sales team as one of our regional sales managers.
Since hiring Toni, Olympus now has four other female sales designers on our team.
These women have helped bring a unique perspective to the design and selling process. Though many of these women have prior sales experience, the pool industry is a new arena for most. We asked some of the women on our sales team how they overcome gender stereotyping while designing and selling pools.
Our Manager, Toni, says:
“Make your customers truly believe that you do indeed know what you are doing and talking about. Be a good listener to your customers and give them what they want, not what you think they want.”
She believes doing this has helped her exude the confidence that homeowners want to see in someone they will be doing business with.
Grisel, one of our sales designers, has been an amazing asset to our sales team out of our Lakewood Ranch location. She makes sure to explain every detail of the design and construction process to her customers, asks many questions about their lifestyle and aspirations for their dream pool, and empathizes with them regarding the investment of the often once-in-a-lifetime purchase of a swimming pool.
These qualities have helped Grisel change the opinion of some of her customers who may be surprised to have a female designer show up at their home. Grisel also believes in staying ahead of your competition by constantly learning and perfecting your craft. Regardless of your gender, she suggests always being well informed and up to date.
Our accounting department is another female-driven team. Juanita Butler, who has been with Olympus for almost 6 years, leads this department and has served as a constant source of support throughout several areas within the company.
Juanita was once one of only a handful of women in the company, but as Olympus grew, our female staff did as well. She has helped mentor and guide several women who work at Olympus and always conveys a strong team player attitude.
Nicky Donnan has been with Olympus for 5 years and has been an integral part of the company working within the service, permitting, and scheduling departments.
She was recently promoted to scheduling manager, where she currently manages six other female schedulers and several men. Nicky has found herself in construction situations numerous times, where a male customer or contractor does not trust her simply because she is a woman.
In these instances, she has to go above and beyond with building their trust and earning their respect, proving that she is just as capable as any man. Nicky is well respected at Olympus and industry-wide.
One gender statistic that stands out in our business is the women’s representation in our construction department. One-third of our project managers are women. These women are out in the field every day, working hands-on to help coordinate and build beautiful custom pools for our customers.
How does a woman earn respect amongst all of the men in the pool industry? She believes in herself, gets in the trenches, takes on daily challenges, and is not afraid to get a little dirty.
Kristal Frain, who has been in the pool industry for ten years, was promoted from a scheduler to a project manager just last year. She quickly learned what qualities women have that men may not that help give them an advantage in this industry. Krystal believes that women bring unique perspectives to problem-solving in the field, offer compassion and extreme organization.
She says, “Complex problem-solving benefits from the application of these diverse sets of skills.”
Staci Esquinaldo, another female project manager, agrees. She believes that being detail-oriented and more empathic with customers allows women to succeed with a pool project.
Kristal feels she has encountered challenges in her job simply because she is outnumbered in the field and works within a space where men’s needs are more catered to. Sometimes, she finds that assumptions are being made about her that she cannot physically or mentally handle construction challenges.
Staci finds that those physical challenges can be the most daunting, such as heavy lifting. Still, she utilizes her resources and creative thinking to find unique ways of handling those situations.
Carmen Corchado, our third female project manager, adds on to these female qualities with “more patience…and more of an understanding for customers.” Carmen was not only our first elected female project manager, but she is also now a Regional Supervisor, overseeing a team of project managers and over one hundred projects at once.
When asked what challenges she has faced in the pool industry, Carmen says that this is her passion. Regardless of how many challenges she has faced, she always gets them resolved by utilizing her everlasting positive attitude and mindset.
When reflecting on who and what inspires these women to rise above the gender standard and be so great at their jobs, they look to both themselves and other well-respected leaders in the pool industry.
Carmen says, “I aim to please! I take pride in what I do”.
Staci is inspired by her husband, who serves as head of all the Olympus Pools project managers, and her father-in-law, who started and ran his own pool company for over 32 years.
Kristal also has had some industry leaders that guided and supported her as she transitioned into the field role.
“I enjoy what I do mainly due to the strong relationships I get to build with subcontractors, suppliers, and most of all, the homeowners,” she said. “There is a great sense of satisfaction when you have built someone’s dream and see how much joy you have brought to their lives.”
Both the permitting and service department departments at Olympus Pools also have women working behind the scenes and at the forefront of each project. These women are often the first and last people that our customers interact with on their job.
Olympus Pools is a pioneer in the pool industry regarding many aspects, but we are most proud of our ability to break the gender bias that only men can succeed in this business. We hope to inspire other women who may be interested in a career not only within this industry but any industry that may seem out of reach to them.
Check out these words of wisdom from the inspiring women at Olympus Pools:
Kristal: “Don’t doubt yourself. (Women) will constantly be surrounded by doubt and lack of confidence from their peers and must persevere on their own and believe in themselves.”
Staci: “Be 100% certain that you really want it. Work hard, both physical and mentally, and prove yourself to the people around you and to yourself.”
Carmen: “Prepare yourself as it can get really messy out in the field. If you communicate with your customers, it will be smooth sailing”.
Toni: “Make your customers truly believe that you do indeed know what you are doing and talking about. Be a good listener to your customers and give them what they want, not what you think they want.”
Juanita: “Put your best foot forward, stay focused, and know that you are an equal.”
Nicky: “Women have the same abilities as men and just as much drive.”
Grisel: “Always keep learning. Even when you think you know a lot, I assure you there is more to learn. Design your projects not for the project itself, but for the people that will be living in their dream backyard.”
Today and every day, let’s celebrate all of the amazing women we have in our lives. Whether at work or home, whether they are family, friends, or strangers, women are remarkable creatures and deserve to be commended.