Women’s Leadership in Pest Control
If you request a pest control service call, you probably expect a man to show up at your door – like the cable guy or the repairman in the classic Maytag commercials. That’s because the majority of employees in pest control are men; they represent more than 90% of the employees on the front lines of defense against household pests.
The industry offers great opportunities and a wide range of jobs, from field technicians to customer service representatives, to leadership and management positions. Many pest control companies provide competitive compensation and flexible, family-friendly work hours. Plus, the field is growing; the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects jobs in the pest control industry to increase 20% through 2022. That means stable, solid employment opportunities and strong chances for career advancement.
For women who enjoy working with people, communicating and solving problems, and who are attentive to detail, pest control is an excellent career option. And as more women become interested in fighting household pests, HomeTeam Pest Defense is working to support them.
Since 2010, the company has invested in women through its Women’s Leadership Initiative, whose mission it is to inspire, empower and assist in the professional development of women. The board of directors includes women employees who meet regularly to identify opportunities to help female employees thrive in their pest control careers.
The board launched a sponsorship program in 2011 to give women the opportunity to strengthen their skill sets. Female employees who’ve been with HomeTeam for one year or more can use the sponsorship toward career development tools such as mentoring, sales training, continuing education and certification courses. Participants also have the opportunity to attend specialized guidance programs provided by HomeTeam and the board.
Conferences for Women in Pest Control
Another group founded by two women in the industry, Women in Pest Control aims to help women in the pest control industry develop professionally and find fulfillment in their work and beyond.
The effort started first as a Facebook group – now with 500 members – and held its inaugural Women in Pest Control Conference in Austin, Texas, last August. HomeTeam was well represented with several women employees, including Vanessa Valero, a builder sales representative for the Austin area.
“Taking part in this first-ever conference was so empowering,” Valero said. “Seeing such a diverse group of intelligent and formidable females, all passionate about our industry, was energizing.”
More than 100 attendees, speakers and vendors – all women – were on hand for the event. Topics included mentoring and gender roles; the importance of educating children (especially girls) about insects before they develop an aversion to them; and instructional sessions on new products and best practices. Attendees spent the day learning from one another, as well as networking.
According to Valero, attending the conference inspired her to reach out even more to fellow female employees as a member of HomeTeam’s Women’s Leadership Initiative and to provide support in any way she can. “I’m grateful to be a part of such an important group – and a company that acknowledges the need for such a group,” she said.
Inspiring and Motivating
D’Nita Kuhn, a HomeTeam builder sales representative in the Houston area, was also at the conference. “It was inspiring to see such a diverse group of women, with a strong work ethic and so much intelligence, determination, compassion, and independence,” she said. “To see women in pest control as visionaries was inspirational!”
Allison Clark, a HomeTeam customer service representative in the San Marcos, Texas, area also found the conference motivating. “I enjoyed the stories shared by the women at the event,” she said. “They progressed in their pest control careers despite doubts from others due to the lack of other females in the industry. Many of the women shared their hard-earned wisdom, such as the importance of having a mentor and a sponsor.”
“Attending seminars like ‘Women in Pest Control’ and serving as an active member of the Women’s Leadership Initiative has opened up new avenues of knowledge and a strong sense of belonging in a male-dominated industry,” said Margaret Martinez, general manager of HomeTeam’s San Antonio Central location. “It’s allowed me to share those strengths with other women at HomeTeam, through mentorship and coaching, for the future growth of the company.”
The bottom line: HomeTeam is making sure that women get the opportunities and support they need – and empowering all of the company’s employees – so that the company can continue to provide the best pest defense to its customers.
To learn about career opportunities, or to find open positions in your area, please visit our career website.