In the construction industry, female tradespeople account for less than 3%*. Narellan Pools is bucking the trend with a workforce where women are represented across the integrated business from management to truck drivers and female led franchises; Narellan is investing in women and it’s paying dividends. 

As a prime example, Narellan’s Picton manufacturing plant has increased six-fold in the last twelve months, moving from just under 2% participation rate to over 11% with many of the women identified as future team leaders and potential for management roles.

Narellan Pools co-owner Debb Meyer unveils the secrets to success.

Equality Depends on Each of Us

By Debb Meyer, Co-owner Narellan Pools

In 2020, it’s paramount every business is invested in gender equality and promoting women into leadership positions on merit and skill. However, in traditionally male dominated industries like pool building and manufacturing, the challenge can sometimes feel insurmountable.

I have been a passionate advocate for women for over 25 years when I started my management career at McDonald’s. I am incredibly proud of my contribution to the development of women in the greater franchising industry and was recognised for this work as the Franchise Council of Australia’s Woman of the Year in 2013.

As Narellan Pools Co-Owner with my husband Chris, I have been on a relentless pursuit over the last decade, to see our male dominated industry turned on its head and to capitalise on the incredible talents of women from the board room, global markets, our franchisees to the factory floor. I am proud of our results to date and will expedite this across the globe.

We are obsessed with creating a culture where every woman has the opportunity to be the best they can be; to create a platform to bring their dreams to life and be part of the movement to create change for the next generation. One of my greatest yet challenging leadership roles is that of mum. To be at the forefront of creating generational change and influencing an environment of equality for both my daughter and sons to live in excites and motivates me in ways I have never felt before.

At the heart of who Chris and I are as people and what permeates through our business, is a true desire to make a difference and make the world a better place. We are passionate and committed about contributing to the communities we operate in locally, nationally and globally. Our philanthropic purpose centres around a focus on women including supporting Project Strive, which seeks to provide valuable life-skills, education and support to girls aged 12-16 in Warwick Farm – one of the most disadvantaged communities in Australia.

In celebration of International Women’s Day, we are proud to showcase some of the women across our network doing amazing work. Here are some of their stories.

Dayle Casey

What does being the 2019 Narellan Pools Woman of the Year mean to you?

“When I was awarded Narellan Pools Woman of the Year 2019, I was absolutely honoured… One of the things I said in my speech is that I’ve got two girls and a boy. They are lucky to be raised in this environment and see how women can empower women.”

What are your thoughts on the industry’s perception of women?

“Women in this industry are starting to change the perceptions and the labels we’ve been given. We’ve learnt a lot, and we’re getting the opportunity to know more. I’ve come a long way because I’ve had to – I want to know about pools, and talk the talk, because it’s better for our business!”

What does #EachforEqual mean to you?

“For me, it just means changing the world, changing mindsets and creating an equal world. #EachforEqual also means that we create a world for my daughter, so she’s going to be treated like everybody else.”

Kerryn Plowman:

What does it mean to you that you were the first female dealer in New Zealand for Narellan Pools?

“I’m incredibly proud and I find it really thrilling to excel in an industry that is typically male-dominated. When I first talked about my desire to invest in Narellan Pools, I was told by a couple of people that I was over-reaching. Being the person I am, I don’t like being told that I can’t do something. I love the fact I’m proving them wrong! My kids are lucky to have two parents that won’t be held back by bias.”

How does Narellan Pools support you in your role?

“I feel very well supported. The other Dealers in the network are eager to share their experiences, so it’s a mutually supportive culture. I’m driven by a desire to change perceptions and break down barriers. I find Debb hugely inspirational, and the work she does is so encouraging to the women in her business. I’m really proud to be part of the movement that Narellan Pools is doing to get more women in leadership roles.”

Wendy Donaldson

What does #EachforEqual mean to you?

“Equality to me means that no matter what your background is, everybody is given the same opportunities.

For me, #EachforEqual is about trusting in your own ability to find your place in the world, and also a responsibility for those of us that have secured a place that the enjoy doing, to use our position to provide opportunities for others that may not have had the same access.”

Teena McIlveen

What does #EachforEqual mean to you?

I am a strong advocate for #EachforEqual. It shouldn’t matter what gender you are. It’s about how we contribute to one another, our work environment and life. To women considering a career in manufacturing: give it a go. If you like being hands on, understanding how a product is made and have a high level of attention for detail, there are pathways and opportunities that can lead to a career.

*https://www.nawic.com.au/NAWIC/eflash/CSQ2531_Women_in_Construction_2.pdf

**as at February 4, 2020.

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