There are many reasons to celebrate during the month of March, and one of them is Women’s History Month, which recognizes the contributions women have made to the United States, and celebrates the achievements women have made over the course of American history.
Women are an important part of HomeTeam and our Vice President of Builder Sales, Debbie Silver, also serves as the Vice President of our Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI), inspiring, empowering and assisting in the professional development of women at HomeTeam.
In observance of Women’s History Month, we interviewed Debbie about helping women employees thrive in their pest control careers.
Q. What is the purpose and mission of the WLI?
A. The WLI was created to mentor women and assist them with career advancement at HomeTeam and in the pest control industry overall. While it’s a male-dominated industry, we want to be sure women are aware of the opportunities available to them, and we can help them capture those opportunities. Once we know a woman’s desired career path, we work together on how to achieve her goals – not only her Plan A, but her Plan B and C.
Q. What is the WLI sponsorship program? How does one get sponsored?
A. The WLI sponsorship program pairs a mentor/facilitator on the board of the WLI with a mentee, who can be any woman at HomeTeam who applies after at least one year of employment. The mentor consults with the mentee about her goals, and a year-long program is created to help her reach those goals. We provide classes, literature, and other education materials to aid her development, and bring in other leaders at HomeTeam to assist with the program. We focus a lot on developing the skills needed to be a great leader, including how to ask for help. So far, we have had over 60 women successfully complete the WLI sponsorship program, and I have personally recommended eight for application in the last 10 years.
Q. What changes would you like to see in the industry regarding women in pest control?
A. In our industry, women deserve to be recognized for their contributions and accomplishments, as well as their ability to perform these jobs well. I would like to see more eyes opened to the fact that no matter the position, a woman can handle it. Occasionally, we will still have customers who are hesitant when they see a female pest control professional at their door because they think a woman can’t do the job as well as a man. In most cases, our HomeTeam women turn those disbelievers into lifelong customers. It’s common for women in our industry to sometimes feel like they work twice as hard for half the credit, so appreciating them is especially important.
Q. How is HomeTeam implementing change towards gender equality?
A. In addition to the efforts of the WLI, HomeTeam is actively recruiting women and increasing the number of women hires. Our president, Brady Camp, is incredibly supportive of the cause, makes sure our voices are heard, and contributes whatever we need to continue the WLI’s mission. Our parent company, Rollins, Inc., has a DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) culture that works towards removing the bias that “this person can’t do that job”.
Q. How has the WLI grown over the years?
A. What I’m most proud of is how far the WLI board members and participating employees have come when I look back. Many women have advanced into management throughout our business. Comparing where they started with HomeTeam and where they are today is so gratifying because I get to see how the WLI and a career-mentorship program helped make a difference for that woman individually. It’s a pleasure to hear, “The foundation you guys provided me has helped me get where I am and positioned me for where I’m going.”
I’ve also seen increased visibility and participation, and not just from women. We recently added Brad Baker, our Mid-Atlantic regional vice president, to the WLI board. He brings a unique perspective and insight on what else we can be doing – not just as a male, but as a senior leader in the company.
Q. What else can you tell us about the WLI and HomeTeam?
A. HomeTeam is a wonderful organization. Our leaders don’t just talk about our core values, they live them. Our values are the expectation of how our employees conduct business and they permeate throughout every level of our organization. We’re a kind, compassionate, hardworking company and that’s evidenced in our longevity. The common theme here is having a place professionally to call home – and we definitely put the “home” in HomeTeam. The WLI is an extension of that.
If you’re looking to build a career with people who care, look no further. Check out our careers page for more information.