Name: Missy Guerrero Scherber
Position: Owner & President
Company: Scherber Roll-Offs & T.Scherber Demolition & Excavating
Country: United States
What does International Women’s Day mean to you, and why is it important?
To me, IWD means to Pause, Pivot, Progress. It’s an important day to pause and celebrate the accomplishments women have made in our culture, in our society, and in our industries, specifically those that are male-dominated. I also think it is an important day to look at where we still need to pivot and make changes to give women more opportunities so that we continue to make progress. Small changes can make a big impact. It is a day to celebrate achievement but also identify what changes we need to continue to make.
The theme this year is #ChooseToChallenge; how will you help forge a gender equal world?
I represent the construction industry and have found my place as a leader through the support of male leaders and peers. They are the diverse leaders that to me are unsung heroes in progress. I want to #ChoosetoChallenge our industry to highlight these inclusive men more. I also want to challenge the men in our industry to continue to shine the spotlight on the female leaders within their companies and on their job-sites. It is their example that leads to change.
When it comes to your current role in the broader construction sector, what are the biggest challenges and opportunities?
Staffing and Workforce Development is one of my biggest challenges right now. The labor shortage is real. We need to work harder as an industry to appeal to half of our population (women and minorities) in our recruitment tactics as well as our imagery, marketing, and advertising. This needs to happen for our industry to sustain itself. The labor shortage is always yielding a huge opportunity for women. There are open positions in every area and leaders ready and willing to train.
How can we encourage more women to pursue a career in the broader construction sector?
Communicate all of the roles available to women both behind the scenes and on the job-site. There are women that want to work with their hands behind a computer and women that want to work with their hands with boots on the ground. From a sales rep and project manager to a truck driver and operator – both types of roles have huge opportunities that women would fit well into. These roles offer career advancement and leadership opportunities that would be hard to find in other industries. I also think we can encourage more women by sharing the success stories of women in the industry. There is a science to storytelling that cannot be ignored.
What advice would you give to any young women thinking about starting their career in the broader construction sector?
Start the process now and be diligent and disciplined until you find the opening that is right for you. Who do you know in your area that is in the construction industry that you could sit down with tomorrow? Many larger construction companies have Inclusion and Diversity Directors, so do local labor unions. Reach out to those representatives, communicate your goals and ask for support getting into the industry. Don’t stop calling until you have found someone to support you. If you want to be on-site ask the companies you’re interested in to meet a Superintendent or Foreman so you can learn from their career path and make a direct connection. Many States and Cities have local workforce development initiatives that have job-boards and people to connect with that can help you along the path.
What will success look like for you at the end of the year? What will make you think that 2021 has been a successful year for you career-wise?
We are transitioning into the Public and Federal marketplace this year with our services. Success to me would be winning a few jobs in those sectors. Many of these jobs have women and minority workforce goals so it would empower me to hire more women in the field. I have a female driver working for our Roll-Off Division – success would be employing another female driver or operator as we grow.