HGTV Kate Campbell

Inspiring Inclusion in the Trades

by kate-campbell

As a woman working in the traditionally male-dominated field of carpentry, International Women’s Day holds a profound significance for me. It’s not just a day of recognition; it’s a celebration of resilience, empowerment and the relentless pursuit of inclusion. This year, the theme “Inspire Inclusion” resonates deeply with my experiences as a woman in the trades.

Throughout my career and my diverse experiences as a carpenter, I have faced constant skepticism and stereotyping. I had many doubters suggest I was only there to meet a quota or because I was pretty enough for television (speaking to my time on well known HGTV shows like Holmes on Holmes and Deck Wars). But through determination and passion for my craft, I persevered. Each project completion became a testament to my capabilities as a carpenter, regardless of gender.

HGTV Kate Campbell who was in Holmes on Holmes and Deck Wars International Women's Day

After years in the business and with a lengthy resume of successful projects, I believe that I am a tradesperson as worthy as any male tradesperson. And yet, in my work as an influencer and advocate, I still bump up against disbelief and skepticism. This has brought to my attention that ‘inspiring inclusion’ is much more than just inviting women to the table; it’s about fostering an environment where their voices are valued, respected and embraced. I have witnessed firsthand the transformative power of inclusion when teams incorporate or welcome women, they become more innovative, collaborative and resilient. 

Because true inclusion requires more than just lip service, I felt inspired to make this year’s International Women’s Day a month-long celebration by featuring different women in trades on my social media and blog. Different backgrounds and experiences enrich, leading to more creative solutions and better outcomes. This helped me shape the interviews that are to be released over the next month because inclusion isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s also the smart thing to do for businesses and industries!

Over the next several weeks, you will see interviews from different women in trades on my social media and blog. The questions I have asked them are carefully crafted to spark the conversation of ‘inspiring inclusion’ in the trades industry. It starts with awareness and then leads to education. By doing this, I hope to challenge ingrained biases and stereotypes by promoting role models and highlighting the achievements of women in non-traditional fields, like trades. 

Together we can inspire the next generation to pursue their passions without limitations!

Women in Trades Features:

Carpenter Paigey @carpenterpaigey:

Carpenter Paigey and Kate Campbell International Women's Day

Meet Paige Heron! A carpenter from Toronto, Canada. Paige joined the trades after her parents encouraged her to apply for a local cabinet company one summer during university. She had zero trades experience, and was pursuing a totally different career. Her parents thought she might enjoy it, and turns out, they were right! After that summer, she would work at the same cabinet company every summer leading to her designation as a carpenter.

What does Paige hope to see change and improve in the trades industry to ‘inspire inclusion?’

She hopes that providing simple items like wastebaskets in the Porta-Potties at job sites for feminine products will support inclusivity on a very ground level. She would also love more discussions around women in trades maternity plans as she hopes to one day have children, and would like to know what that looks like in her own career, as she is sure others do as well!

Advice Paige would give to women who aspire to have a career in the trades:

“Become comfortable with being uncomfortable.” This is a concept Paige believes should be applied to the workplace and your everyday life! You might not get it perfect every time, but she encourages getting comfortable with jumping in while also giving yourself grace. 

Therefore; practice makes perfect!

Molly the Carpenter @mollythecarpenter

Molly the Carpenter and Kate Campbell International Women's Day

Molly Allgood took a bit of a roundabout way to get to her designation as a carpenter. It was always an industry that was around her through her Uncle Eric, who was a carpenter himself. He would encourage her to help him with projects, and Molly really looked up to him. However, carpentry was not a top of mind career for her.

After some personal triumph, she recognized her love for building cottages during a summer job in university, so she went back to school and became a carpenter! 

What does Molly think it takes to be a woman in trades?

Molly explains that being a good listener, communicating well and doing your best at whatever task you’re given, no matter how little or big that task is, is the key to success in the trades!

Molly also encourages women looking to get into the trades to believe in yourself, trust yourself, do the best job you can and have a great support system around you. With those things, she believes you can handle and tackle anything that comes at you!

What does Molly hope to see change in the trades to ‘inspire inclusion?’

A change of mindset. Molly really believes that our tools and technologies are constantly changing, adapting and improving. However, the mindset and thinking of people in her trade are very much stuck in the past.

Samara Sampson @wingnutless 

Samara Sampson and Kate Campbell International Women's Day

Samara Sampson is a 308A red seal sheet metal worker out of Smart Local 285 inToronto, Canada! She also co-founded @women.on.site which is a nonprofit organization for women and gender diverse people in the trades, STEM, manufacturing and Ag industry. 

Samara felt inspired to get into the trades after taking an automotive class in high school where she was excelling and her instructor took note. This ‘sparked’ her imagination to pursue a career as a welder. 

What advice does Samara have for women looking to get into the trades?

“I personally had a lot of self doubt and fear. A lot of what I did, I did afraid. But I came out the other side . . . I’m not ever going to let anything stop me, and you shouldn’t either! Trade jobs are here and we’re not going anywhere!” – Samara

How does Samara  think the trades industry, specifically her industry, can ‘inspire inclusion?’

Samara believes the industry has come a long way, but believes in the promotion of outreach. She knows that skilled trades do need people in much needed roles. Samara believes that by getting into the schools and talking with parents to bring the awareness that opportunities are out there would help ‘inspire inclusion.’ 

Samara says in her experience, guidance from mentors was really helpful therefore; mentoring programs would ‘inspire inclusion’ as well.

Although Samara is aware that there are a lot of policies in place in the workplace, they may not always be enforced. She believes that setting safe standards for the workplace, always and holding people accountable will improve and diversify the industry.

Stay tuned to my social media and blog as we roll out more features during the month ahead! Happy International Women’s Day. I hope my initiative and content inspires you to promote inclusion, no matter what industry or role you’re in. – Kate Campbell


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