Copyright © 2011-20 Helical Pile World, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
In honor of International Women’s Day and National Women's History month, Kellyanne and Chelsea shared their experiences and insights about being women working in the helical pile industry.
Since joining EAS, what are some of your proudest moments?
KM: There is one moment that always stays with me... After working for EAS for some time, Alex our president, told me that I am at a point where I could teach him a thing or two. That always made me proud because I take pride within my role at EAS. To have someone as experienced as Alex compliment me, it's just something I’m proud of.
CK: One moment that stands out was during my 2nd week at EAS, I was on a national distributor meeting online (25+ participants) and was put on-the-spot to give a fresh perspective on the helical pile business. I took a deep breath, gave my opinion, it appeared to resonate, and I was thanked for sharing. It was an unexpected proud moment for sure.
As a woman, what barriers have you faced in becoming successful? How did you overcome them?
KM: This business doesn’t reward the timid. I am naturally an extrovert and an active listener. I use this to my benefit to overcome barriers by staying engaged and listening to them - really listen to them. I’m constantly amazed by the amount of information I have learned by just being engaged and listening.
CK: I have worked in many different industries and have run into obstacles in them all. The one I have had to address the most is when others underestimate me because I’m a woman. In these instances, I try to just do my job. I’ve had to work harder to prove that I am capable, knowledgeable and driven. I’ve got a strong will and work ethic. When someone challenges me; it lights a fire that pushes me just that much harder to prove women are able to compete.
When you are at work or on a jobsite, is it different for you?
KM: People on the job site are typically welcoming… especially when I bring food and coffee with me!
With one contractor I had to prove that I knew what I was talking about… that my solution for the install would work. The contractor had to trust my knowledge about the installation. Sometimes you need to push back a bit and demonstrate that you do know what you are doing and have them trust you.
CK: I feel I’m personable, that I can “read a room” and able to connect with people on a level that puts them at ease. I think Kelly is right – sometimes you must stand a little taller and get them to understand that you know what you’re doing.
What is one of your favorite things about EAS?
KM: There are many wonderful things about EAS! Meeting new people is definitely one of my favorite 'perks', I have met some of the most hardworking and inspiring people while working with EAS.
CK: That is hard to answer! Just one? Joining EAS and the team has been one of the highlights of my career. Everyone works together and helps one another achieve. We know we can count on one another, unlike anywhere else I’ve been. It’s a great environment to work with people who truly want one another to succeed and advance. One of my favorite things is how we all try to build one another up. I just feel lucky to be a part of such an amazing team of people.
Are there any assumptions about being a woman in this field that you would like to change?
KM: The fact that I am a woman, it is assumed that I am not going to show up to a site with my muck boots, ready to work and get the job done. I have been on multiple job-sites where someone has said, "Oh, Wow - She has her boots and all!" - It should not be a presumption that because I am a woman, I am not going to walk through the mud or not know how to install a helical pile.
CK: Sometimes, I have found that people are a bit hesitant to tell me what they are looking for or ask me questions about products. In this industry, women typically have to prove themselves, their knowledge, their abilities to earn respect. But, when you go that “extra mile” you gain that trust and confidence, hopefully helping change minds for the future.
Based on your experience, what advice would you give women thinking about a career in the deep foundation industry?
KM: Don’t be afraid to ask questions, it’s better to ask the question and be vulnerable than to assume and be wrong. It's okay to “be you” and show your knowledge as you grow.
CK: Make sure you’re prepared (and take a deep breath before your first nationwide online meeting because they will call on you to speak!!). Seriously, ask all the questions. You will be surprised at how much you can learn just by listening, preparing and staying organized.
Is there anything you would like to add?
KM: EAS is a team, we work together every day - when there’s a problem, we lean on each other to get it solved…we laugh a lot and ultimately get the job done - together.
When Alex offered me the position, I was nervous to see if I would fit in, how it would work but everyone at EAS made my transition to the team seamless! They made it a priority to make sure I had everything I needed. They taught me. They gave me the tools to be successful.
I believe that success is dependent on those around you; I try to surround myself with hardworking, goal-oriented people who strive to make the best of it. I have found this at EAS, we all bring something different to the table and because of that we have become a successful distributor and team. I couldn't be more thankful to be where I am. I know I am valued, as a team member, as a woman at EAS.
CK: From the beginning, I’ve been able to be myself. I have been embraced by all, just as I am. I have so much pride in who I work for and with. I’m excited about all of the projects and plans we are working on. When you finally find the perfect fit, it’s life altering in the best way possible!
Earth Anchoring Suppliers Celebrates International Woman’s Day & National Women’s History Month: a Chat with EAS’s Chelsea Kiesling & Kellyanne Milliner
by Keith Dolan
Chelsea Kiesling is EAS’ Marketing Coordinator & Logistics Manager. Kellyanne Milliner is Senior Sales Representative for Delaware, Maryland, Eastern Pennsylvania, Metro Washington/Virginia and West Virginia