During an online press conference Monday, the trade group National Women in Roofing introduced its new Executive Director, Katie Bodiford, after a months-long national search to fill the position.
The 30-minute Zoom meeting kicked off by introducing Bodiford alongside NWiR Chair Jennifer Keegan of GAF and Vice-Chair Anna Anderson. Bodiford then offered a thumbnail highlighting a career in engagement and relationship building that has spanned nearly three decades.
The new director, who received her bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Montevallo, in Montevallo, Ala., officially assumed her position on Nov. 15 and described her background as well as the whirlwind immersion into NWiR culture since taking her position.
“Basically, I've been in association management my entire career for the past 20 years, but I first started in the construction end of it around 2008,” Bodiford said. “My first couple of days were spent doing a strategic planning retreat with the executive committee; so, boy, talk about drinking from a firehose, it was fantastic [and] the best way to … get a feel for what the priorities of the association are.”
Prior to joining NWiR, Bodiford was most recently the director of programs and services for Allied Building Stores based in Monroe, La. Prior to that, she spent nearly eight years with the Construction Suppliers Association, the last half of which she was the organization’s executive vice president.
Bodiford made note that during her time with the CSA, she had worked on a program similar in scope to NWiR, focusing on women in leadership that she and her colleagues created from scratch.
“[T]hrough the [CSA], I had really come [to] develop a love of helping empower women, helping them identify their inherent leadership skills,” Bodiford said. “[T]hat was what really drew me to this position.”
Based out of her home in Northern Alabama, Bodiford sketched out an ambitious agenda that stretches out for at least the next three years, noting that the organization, founded in 2016, was already beginning to prepare for its 10th anniversary.
Enumerating the organization’s pillars of mentoring, education and industry recruitment, Bodiford leaned heavily into the ongoing labor shortage continuing to plague construction in general and roofing in particular. She described efforts to further outreach, seeking out strategic partnerships with like-minded groups and combating misperceptions that the roofing industry does not offer women opportunities for career advancement.
“The best way to spread the word about the roofing industry … that women have so many opportunities is to start at the grassroots level,” Bodiford said. “[We are] in the process of looking through all the initiatives we have, [but] getting the word out about all the different opportunities that exist for women in the roofing industry” is a priority.
Anderson, NWiR’s vice-chair and principal at the ad firm Art Unlimited, whose name may also be recognizable to readers through her regular contributions to our sister publication, Roofing Contractor, said the organization’s priority is for Bodiford to meet with the various state councils to “truly understand” the opportunities and pain points that NWiR members experience.
“We don't just take for granted like, ‘oh, this is what our members are experiencing, or women are experiencing,’ but we take time to pause and listen and move forward with their voices reading aloud in our ear,” Anderson said.
“[T]he challenges that our members are facing, they are evolving,” Anderson added. “They're not just static, and how are we changing to help support their needs and increase the retention and recruitment of women in the industry?”
Other items discussed included the possibility of creating a meet-and-greet event during NWiR Day to press the flesh with rank-and-file members and industry workers, listening to their experiences and gleaning better insight into challenges specific to women as well as the industry.
“I am an open door,” Bodiford said. “I want to hear ideas and challenges, anything that will help us, as a leadership team, add to the priorities because that’s why we exist.”
For more information, visit nationalwomeninroofing.org.