Companies that involve women in ownership and management may be more sustainable than other firms, delivering big wins for business and society. And there’s evidence to back this up. A 2011 report published by the Harvard Business School suggests that companies with numerous female leaders aren’t only more committed to sustainability, but they also might be better at delivering long-lasting, sustainable and profitable results.

Fortunately for the roofing industry, there’s now an organization dedicated to increasing the sustainable contribution of women. National Women in Roofing (NWiR) is a volunteer-based organization that supports and advances the careers of women roofing professionals. The organization provides networking, mentoring, education and recruitment opportunities from the rooftop to the boardroom, for the young professional to the seasoned manager.

The focus is on connecting and empowering women so that their training and leadership skills can help drive the overall betterment of the roofing industry.

Organized just a little over a year ago, NWiR now includes more than 500 members, and 28 corporate sponsors have stepped forward to help with funding and support. It also should be noted that both women and men have joined over 20 state councils to support outreach and professional development at the local level. NWiR membership also reflects a solid cross-section of the roofing industry, with members serving with contractors, consultants, distributors, and manufacturers. Finally, the organization’s financial base has grown sufficiently to support a permanent executive director, Ellen Thorp, the associate executive director of the EPDM Roofing Association.

As stated by NWiR Chairwoman Heidi Ellsworth, “We are an industry that is ready to go to the next level of professionalism, into a new age of diversity, technology and growth. I see it every day.”

I would encourage you to learn more about NWiR by visiting their website ( Also, please consider becoming a member or adding your company as a corporate sponsor. You’ll be recognized as a company that’s progressive and sees the importance of bringing and empowering women into the roofing industry.

In my own modest roll as a chronicler for the roofing industry in this monthly column, I look forward to the next level of professionalism NWiR will bring for all of us.