Crest Women In Industry Share Their Spark With Future Generations

Graphic of a female welder with the text "Share The Spark" encircling the image

Here at Crest Industries, we believe in winning together and celebrating those around us. Our teams are made up of unique individuals with different backgrounds and experiences, and those differences are what make us stronger. Crest and each of our business units operate in traditionally male-dominated fields, so we want to highlight the impact that the women on our teams have on Crest and let them share their thoughts on what it means to be Women in Industry.

There’s a saying that “a small spark can start a great fire.” Even the small actions we take can start a chain reaction that leaves a substantial impact on the world around us. A spark of creativity, curiosity, or passion, or even just the opportunity to try something new all have the potential to grow and inspire lasting change.

Our purpose as a network of businesses and teams across Crest Industries is to create a better future by challenging and empowering others to grow beyond what they believe is possible.A large part of living that purpose is questioning the status quo, innovating, and laying a firm and sustainable foundation for those who will come after us.

This year’s Women in Industry participants are sharing the spark they have found with others and finding new ways to support the teams and communities around them. As a company, Crest is proud to celebrate them as they empower and pave the way for the next generation of female professionals and leaders.

In the Q&A below, you’ll hear from:

Kacie Leblanc – Business OperationsManager at Millennium Galvanizing

Nichelle Willmore – Business Analyst at DIS-TRAN Steel

Sandy Mask – Human Resources Information Systems & Payroll Manager at Crest Operations

Sarah Montelaro – Manager of Food Technology at Avant Organics

Tiffany Sauseda – Director of Business Operations at Optimal Field Services

What does being a successful woman in a traditionally male-led industry mean to you?

Kacie - Being a successful woman in a traditionally male-led industry means changing times. Women are an asset to any industry, and we deserve an equal opportunity to prove that. If you put in the work and create results, you can succeed in any industry.

Sandy - My generation has always worked in traditional male-led industries. I have been fortunate to see the changes through the years where women were promoted to upper-level positions, given the responsibilities for running companies, and succeeded at it.  But we still have a long way to go.  Success is a personal measurement and shouldn’t be based on gender.  My success is leaving every day knowing that I did the best I could at the job I was given, whether that was sweeping the floor, teaching a class, or implementing software.

Nichelle- Being a successful woman in a male-led industry challenges all of the biases people may unconsciously have.  My success will open doors for the success of other women.

headshot of Kacie Leblanc with the quote mentioned above

Share your spark: what advice do you have for female students and young professionals about to start their careers?

Kacie - find ways to expand your knowledge and experiences. Try new things, ask a lot of questions and read, read, read. These things will help you grow personally and professionally. Also, and I can’t say this enough, encourage and support other women.

Sarah - Allow yourself to fail, but never allow the failures to define who you are. There is a lot of opportunity that arises with failures that we at Avant like to call “Learning what not to do” and that is our definition of good research. Stay true to who you are […] trust your gut. Do not be afraid to speak up, question the status quo and always aim for making things better for the team.

Sandy - Remember there will always be smarter and more experienced people, but value yourself and what you bring to the table. Small risks can lead to big rewards.

Nichelle - Learn whatever you can, because you never know when an opportunity will present itself.  And when the opportunity does present itself, take it – even if it stretches you!

Tiffany - Don’t be afraid of risk or taking a chance, and don’t be afraid of a non-traditional role. If you’re too scared to take a risk and see what’s right for you, you’ll miss out on some really great opportunities that will open up a whole new world that you never knew was there!

Headshot of Sarah Montelaro with accompanying text of the quote mentioned above

You have to fan the flame to start a fire. What makes you feel empowered and keeps you motivated?

Sarah – WhenI feel like there is opportunity to create change and help a situation, I immediately become inspired, and my brain goes into problem solver mode. I feel empowered when I know people truly want to know my thoughts and ideas. ThankfullyCrest listens and gives everyone the opportunity to bring their ideas to the table. This freedom is what empowers people to be better all-around employees and team members.

Nichelle – I feel empowered by mentoring and empowering other people.  There is magic when someone succeeds, or even just starts to believe in themselves based on guidance that I’ve given them or a conversation that I’ve had with them.

Tiffany - What inspires me today is the women around me. The way they’re eager to learn, work their absolute best, and encourage each other every day inspires me to be a better trainer, a better leader, and to provide a better experience to all our employees.

Headshot of Nichelle Willmore with accompanying text of the quote mentioned above

Our "sparks" often come from what we see in others. Who is another woman that inspires or has impacted you?

Kacie - My grandmother. She was never afraid of a challenge and always stood up for what she believed in. She was also the most loving person I have ever known, and I hopeI am making her proud.

Sarah - My mother! She is the strongest woman I know, and she helped mold me into the woman I am today.

Nichelle – I was, of course, inspired by my mother.  She planted all the seeds in me that helped me to believe that I can do anything and overcome any obstacles placed in front of me from any source, internal or external. But many women, both close to me, and those I’ve never met, have been inspirational to me –especially Marie Forleo, who teaches that “Everything is figureoutable” and Beverly Dejulio, the handy ma’am, who inspired me to buy my first drill and do the“man” things.

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