March 25, 2022

This One’s for the Gals: Empowering Girls to Join the Construction Industry with Stephanie Hajducek


This one’s for the gals out there! From the construction industry to the petro-chemical industry, women have the power to find success, empowerment, and fulfillment in industry careers. Whether you know what you want to do after high school, you can’t figure it out, or you’re an adult who wants to pivot in your career path, this week’s guest may be able to guide you in the right direction.

In this episode, we welcome Stephanie Hajducek, a Project Engineer, Design Lead, and Founder of This One’s for the Gals, a non-profit that’s fueling the future of women in industry. Stephanie has been working to get female high school students to the Women in Industry Conference in Galveston, Texas and expose them to the amazing employment opportunities for women in non-traditional, male-dominated roles. 

With that huge success under her belt, listen in to learn more about how she’s empowering women and girls to learn about opportunities in construction and find fulfilling industry careers.

Stephanie is proof that female dreamers, doers, and depth builders are beginning to comprise the future of industry leadership. Companies have places for women on their teams and it’s our job to empower them to fill those roles.

What You’ll Learn in This Episode:

·       How Stephanie got into the industry & What inspired her to create This One’s for the Gals.

·       Why continuous learning, especially learning soft skills, is so important in 2022 and beyond.

·       How to make a change as a woman in industry.

·       About the Women In Industry Conference & Stephanie’s experience attending it.

·       Closing the representation gap between men and women in construction and trades.

·       The key difference between men and women when applying for jobs.

·       The BEST way to break into the industry: Go to job fairs!

·       Why it’s important to talk to your kids about your career.

·       Opportunities for bringing the construction and trades industry to teenagers, as opposed to bringing teens to the industry.

Resources Mentioned:

Learn more about the Women In Industry Conference: https://bit.ly/3MSArh3 

Welding Women Syndicate: https://www.weldingwomensyndicate.com 

Empowering Women in Industry: https://www.empoweringwomeninindustry.com

Connect with Stephanie:

Connect with her on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/slhajduc 

Learn more about This One’s for the Gals: https://thisonesforthegals.com 

Transcript

Please tell us about. This one's for the gals and, and how simple and easy it's been to do the thing okay. So yeah, how it started, um, you know, honestly it just, it kind of took off. And, uh, it, it turned into something that I didn't even expect that it could mm-hmm um, there is a conference held every year in Galveston. It's called the women in industry conference, put on by Galveston college and then some of the other local community colleges there in the Houston area, um, and supported by industry. And I attended in 2017. And what I remembered from that conference was that there was high school, uh, buses. Buses of high school girls brought in. And I remember thinking that's amazing that, you know, they're giving the girls the opportunity to come in and listen to, you know, women that are in these positions and kind of share their story, how they got there, you know, what kind of training did they have to do? Uh, what kind of. Lifestyle has afforded for them, cuz these are high paying jobs right. In the petrochemical industry and construction industry. And so, um, I thought, I just remember, you know, that, that had always been in the back of my head. And so whenever we, um, our family moved recently to this area, we've only been here a couple years. Um, and so I, uh, Just started thinking about it again, we live right outside of Corpus Christi, a little town called TAFs and, um, I just, you know, approached my manager and asked him if we could sponsor some, uh, high school girls from our local high school, um, in Seton. And he said, yes. He's like, yeah, that's a great idea. You know, and the thought was we would, you know, load up 10 or 12 girls in our company van with a chaperone and, you know, take them to the conference. And, uh, so I approached the high school and just said, Hey, you know, told them about the conference. And, um, just said, Hey, you know, we'd help, you know, support and get y'all down there. And they were just. Over the moon excited. They said, absolutely. We will collaborate with you on this. We'll provide the bus transportation. We'll provide chaperones. We'll provide hotel because it is a four hour drive for us here to get down to Galveston. So, um, there, you know, they were just on board and I thought, oh, this is amazing. So I just started thinking a little bigger. I said, said, well, you know, if my company, uh, would. Do it, why wouldn't some of the other local companies do it as well. And I just kind of started making connections on LinkedIn. That is Ms. Stephanie Hajducek founder of This One's for the Gals, starting with the tiny seed of an idea, and then has blossomed into this pretty damn enormous thing in very short timeframe. And I want to highlight. That very last thing she said before I cut in, uh, where she just reached out to people on LinkedIn and took, took a little mustard seed of an ideal from taking 12 young ladies to a conference, to over 200. And just this week as this episode airs, that just happened. So it has come to fruition So the seat I want to set in your mind is the idea and the small actions that reap enormous ripples of impact. Shout out to Jennifer Lacy, take action on that idea. It's not that scary. Stephanie's going to tell you how not scary it is and how amazing and fruitful her experience has been intaking. These steps in starting to. She also talks some Ted talk knowledge on us, uh, when she talks about the differences in the way men and women make their decisions around applying for a job. My recommendation is that you listen to that a few times, especially if you're raising young ladies, um, there is tremendous, it's small, it's quick, but man, there's high value in that and adjusting the way that we condition the thinking of our. And speaking of shifting the thinking, got to give a shout out to all our patrons that are out there that have been supporting us financially. Thank you. A million gazillion bazillion times. We invite new listeners, long time listeners to go to the website and learningsandmissteps.com Sign up for the monthly, LNM newsletter, where we send out just kind of all the cool stuff that we got coming up on the calendar, give you a heads up and links early to access that stuff. We also share some, some stuff that, you know, the no BS tribe. I don't know if you've heard of them, but they're out there and there's a whole bunch of people out there that are. Taking action on a shared vision to transforming the workspace and making it a place that better appreciates the men and women that are doing the work. And all right, so I'm gonna, quit bumping my gums and we're going to go ahead and listen to Ms. Stephanie what's going on on L and M family. Here we are with miss Stephanie who loves Texas, cuz Texas is great. Um, we y'all, we may have seen some post of us on LinkedIn. Uh, we got to connect live and in person here at doco Haven over by Brer Ridge high school, Stephanie high, how are you doing this morning? I'm doing really well. Jesse. Thank you for having me oh, my pleasure. It was you and not met because you're. You're amazing. Um, that's the beautiful thing about like, uh, social media is it's so easy to just connect with people. Um, and like, for me, it's like, why would you wanna connect with me? And then, but then it's like, who cares? Because you're awesome. So I get to know another amazing human being in my life. And we were talking about, um, working together because you, you do a lot of, I think we speak the same love language, and you do a lot of stuff associated with students in exposing them to, to the industry to construction. Um, and so we met up for breakfast and it was like, okay, gotta get you on the show. But I think it's gonna be later in the year. And then all of a sudden, some things kind of fell through like, Stephanie, what are you available this Saturday? So thank you. And I, yes. And I said, yes, absolutely cleared my calendar. Oh my God. You're so awesome. Okay. So miss Stephanie, what should the L and M family know about? Um, so they should know that I work to empower and educate, uh, high school aged girls on the opportunities available to them, um, in the industry, in the construction industry and the petrochemical industry in basically in non-traditional roles that maybe they didn't think about previously. And, uh, just kind of give them an awareness of what's out there. So whenever they're they come outta high school, they just have a really broad knowledge of, you know, careers. Yes. Yes, I beautiful noble work. Um, what is it, what compelled you to do that? Like to get with young ladies and expose 'em to, to these awesome careers on here. So, uh, basically I was that girl okay. I was that girl coming out of high school. Um, not really knowing, you know, what I wanted to do as far as a career. Um, my parents talked about college. I didn't really listen. , you know, I thought I knew it all. mm-hmm and, uh, you know, I just said I'm gonna go to work and figure things out on my own. And, um, couple years later I just. Found that that really probably wasn't the best way to go. Um, I ended up, um, divorced a single mom with two little boys and knew that I needed to make some money. And so I went and got a six week AutoCAD certificate and walked into a job fair with Beal in Houston. It was in 2007 when, you know, they were hiring left and, and, you know, things were, you know, really booming in the oil and gas industry and, uh, Just basically said, I, I wanna learn. And they gave me an entry level position and that kind of changed my life. It changed the trajectory of my career. It changed everything for me. And I worked for them for about 12 years. Uh, worked my way up through the company. I did go back to college, uh, at the age of 38. I got my college degree and, and, uh, while, you know, that was a great accomplishment, you know what I think, what did it cost me? You know? I mean, it was. Raising a family working full time, going to college is a lot of, a lot of work and, um, it's not easy. And so I just feel like if I would've had a little bit better direction, you know, coming out of high school that, you know, maybe I could have gotten into a career a little bit earlier and being able to work for be, and just see, you know, their engineering, procurement construction company. I was owe to just so many different jobs. And so I just wanna share that with girls and you know, whether they know what they're gonna do after high school or whether they're kind of, you know, can't figure it out. I just wanna help guide them a little bit. Of course. Beautiful. Now, I, you talked about a few things and I remember I talked, spoke with, um, Samantha, so Samantha Devor, she's amazing. Um, she was one of the first. High school interns that we had recruited way back in the day when we started the internship program. Um, and she's graduated since right. She's gone on and started her life. And I remember her talking to me about like the message you get go to school. Right. Which is important for some people, not everybody, not people like me. I wanna go. Right. And, and, and beautiful point, like, you can go. , you know, there's, there's some messaging out there that, you know, uh, getting a college degree is bad, right there there's debt. And like, yes, there is debt. There are some professions that absolutely require a degree that that's what you want to do. Go do it. Um, I've gone back to, I'm not gonna say school because, you know, I'm, I'm that guy and I one credit away from people. Uh, but. I've been rather not just me. It's important that we commit to like continuous learning. And I'm gonna ask you about your learning, um, and what you've discovered with starting up this one's for the gals. Um, anyhow, Samantha mentioned, she's like, you know, we get a lot of information about how like go to college, pick rear. There's not a lot of conversation about how to do life and, you know, because we fall in love and we start families and we start acquiring debt and buying things and like that stuff. Who, where, where do we, where's the book, where's the manual for that? What do you think about that, Stephanie? Exactly. And that is, you know, that, that is true, you know? Um, I think it's really important to, you know, get into the schools and teach kids about life, life skills, you know, those soft skills as well. Um, because it, I. Uh, some conversations that I've had with, um, you know, local community colleges or the universities is, you know, how can we guide our students into careers once, you know, what can I do with this training or this certification or this degree after the fact. Right. And so, you know, when they come out and they're done. Well, they struggle to find a job and get set into a career. And then, you know, those, whether they're student loans or they're not, you know, those kick in and then, you know, things kind of just, and then they just have to go to work into some position. Right. And so I think, you know, if we just do a little bit better job on the front end of things, and just kind of help, you know, get them the path, know the path that they're going to be on, you know, it'll be super helpful for them. Yes. Yes. It help everybody enjoy a higher quality of life. Mm-hmm now, as it goes to learning. And this one's for the gals help help the L and M family know like so that they know like this one's for the gals. They're awesome. They're doing great things. And because there's amazing people that, that regularly listen to this podcast. Um, if you wouldn't mind sharing some extra details, because there's a ton of people that really wanna make a change in the industry and for young students, and if all the blueprints we can share with them, If you don't mind, whatever you, whatever you're willing to share, but please tell us about. This one's for the gals and, and how simple and easy it's been to do the thing okay. So yeah, how it started, um, you know, honestly it just, it kind of took off. And, uh, it, it turned into something that I didn't even expect that it could mm-hmm um, there is a conference held every year in Galveston. It's called the women in industry conference, put on by Galveston college and then some of the other local community colleges there in the Houston area, um, and supported by industry. And I attended in 2017. And what I remembered from that conference was that there was high school, uh, buses. Buses of high school girls brought in. And I remember thinking that's amazing that, you know, they're giving the girls the opportunity to come in and listen to, you know, women that are in these positions and kind of share their story, how they got there, you know, what kind of training did they have to do? Uh, what kind of. Lifestyle has afforded for them, cuz these are high paying jobs right. In the petrochemical industry and construction industry. And so, um, I thought, I just remember, you know, that, that had always been in the back of my head. And so whenever we, um, our family moved recently to this area, we've only been here a couple years. Um, and so I, uh, Just started thinking about it again, we live right outside of Corpus Christi, a little town called TAFs and, um, I just, you know, approached my manager and asked him if we could sponsor some, uh, high school girls from our local high school, um, in Seton. And he said, yes. He's like, yeah, that's a great idea. You know, and the thought was we would, you know, load up 10 or 12 girls in our company van with a chaperone and, you know, take them to the conference. And, uh, so I approached the high school and just said, Hey, you know, told them about the conference. And, um, just said, Hey, you know, we'd help, you know, support and get y'all down there. And they were just. Over the moon excited. They said, absolutely. We will collaborate with you on this. We'll provide the bus transportation. We'll provide chaperones. We'll provide hotel because it is a four hour drive for us here to get down to Galveston. So, um, there, you know, they were just on board and I thought, oh, this is amazing. So I just started thinking a little bigger. I said, said, well, you know, if my company, uh, would. Do it, why wouldn't some of the other local companies do it as well. And I just kind of started making connections on LinkedIn. Um, you know, some companies, I just went to their website and I sent a general inquiry and just said, Hey, this is what we're doing. And I actually got responses. Like it was, it was amazing. Like think, think, you know, and think of like a email. Inbox you think just goes into a black hole somewhere that, you know, nobody's gonna read that, but I'm gonna try anyway. Right. And I, you know, I got responses and, um, everybody came back and said, this is a great initiative. We'd love to, you know, um, help, you know, what can we do? And so I just kept going and kept getting more schools and more schools. And then, you know, I. It just grew into this, you know, initiative. And so, um, I was talking to a local reporter cause they were doing a news story on it and he said, well, how can they contact you if you know, they want more information? And I thought, well, that's a great question. You know, I didn't necessarily wanna give out my company information, uh, my company email. And so I just created this one's for the gals and just called, you know, um, I came up with that name because, you know, I know guys need it too. Right. They need the same motivation, the same push. You know, I have twin boys they're graduating this year and I know that they need, you know, the same support, but this one's for the gals. So that's kind of how I came up with that name. that's awesome. Chills. Like that's how I came up with the name. Um, and I just created website. It's basically just a platform. It's a, you know, I feature women that are out in industry. I created social media presence. I, you know, Uh, published stories every Wednesday. It's, uh, women in industry, gal Wednesday and okay. I've had some amazing stories to be able to publish. Women are sharing with me how they got to where they're at, um, anywhere from, you know, women welders to, uh, metallurgists, to engineers, to, uh, you know, uh, gal that has her MBA that works a petrochemical company. I mean, just all different. Positions, right. Women in industry women that have found their way, you know, in, into these, uh, companies and have been really, really successful. And so I think girls being able to hear those stories and, you know, it's just giving them a little bit of inspiration, a little bit of push. And so, um, yeah, so that's how this one's for the gal started and we have nine total schools, uh, sponsored. And instead of taking 10 or 12 girls, like I had initially planned were taking over 200. Okay, so, so is this the first, first session or cycle of you starting the, this one's for the gals? Absolutely. Uh, we're gonna do this every year. Every year. Yes. And this conference 200. Yeah. And this conference. So I'll tell you when I went in 2017, the total conference had 200 Cindys . Now this year they're expecting over 1200. So that's how much it's grown. It's it's just, I mean, it's, it's amazing. It's it really is. I mean, you can see the change in the industry and you can see that, you know, the awareness, right. Because as I approached the schools, they didn't know anything about the conference, you know? And I mean, yeah, we're four hours from Houston, but I'm like, we need to tell people, you know, we need to tell people what we're doing. You know, we need to share these opportunities with the schools, especially this is one of the only conferences that I'm aware that you know, is open to high school age. Girls or encourages high school age girls, you know, I know some of the other conferences, you know, are open, but this one, you know, it's, um, juniors and senior level high school girls. And so I'm like, that's, that's great. I mean, but I'm starting there, but I'm thinking, how can I get into the middle school girls and to the elementary, you know, and to tho I mean, we gotta start earlier. We gotta start getting 'em. Yes. Oh my goodness. I got big dreams, Jesse girl, you're making me dream big, like. Um, I think there's a really important point for people out there, I think, and you've, you've probably experienced this and I know I have, there's a time in my life where I'd have an idea, but it was, it was kind of crazy and kind of big and I wouldn't, I would just kind of let it die. Right. Not take any action on it. Um, or. I would spend months, sometimes years, like trying to draft out the perfect plan and to make sure it's gonna be, you know, executed without a hitch. And, um, and you know, some of those plans have come to life and some of 'em died. Right. Um, but what I heard you say is you had an idea and you took action on it. And then he said, oh, wait a minute. That response was awesome. Let me try a little bit more mm-hmm than you did. And then BA and, and. You're now coming first shot out of the gate, bringing 200 young ladies and exposing 'em to new resources, uh, a whole new experience. I mean, the, I think for me the message there, or the principle there is you gotta do it. You just put it out there and, and, and. How hard was it for you to send an email or to call some weirdo and say, Hey, let's connect. I, that looks, you're what you're doing. Seems interesting. Yeah. It, you know, it, it wasn't, to be honest, mm-hmm, , I, I think once I got, you know, the first few, yes, this is amazing. And then I'm like, you know what? This is amazing, you know, and if they don't wanna be a part of. You know what, fine. Right? I'm gonna go get somebody else. Yes. You know, and that's the thing I just kept, you know, I did I, the momentum that it picked up, and then I think the message, you know, the message that the, the companies are, you know, supporting this it's them saying, you know, yes. We want girls to know we have a place for you here. And that I think just speaks volumes for, you know, the, the companies that are here in their area right outside their back door. Saying, Hey, you know, we got jobs over here, girls. We want y'all to know. And so, yeah. Oh man. This is so amazing. So there's a website. Mm-hmm is it this one's for the gals.com? It is, yes. Okay, perfect. Gotta make sure we put that out there so the people can go and support. Um, you're producing content on the regular, you know, yesterday I think was it yesterday morning? Yesterday, I posted something on, on our LinkedIn page, um, because it it's what, uh, women in construction week. Yes. Uh, and, and so I was kind of being selfish and a little lazy. I said, well, I'm just gonna make a post about the ladies that I've interviewed on the learning and missteps podcast. And that'll be a post. And because they of super fabulous women. Well, as I was doing that, I was happy cuz I had some, it was like 11, I think 11 out of 49. That's not too great. Right. Um, rather that's horrible. So 20% of the interviews that I've done in the learnings and missteps pod casts are of WMAN 80%. And that, and I got some feedback from, um, Tiffany who runs the welding women's syndicate. She's super amazing. Very she's starting her own school. Like she's got it going on. Yes. I just featured her this week. Did you really? She was like out for the week. Yes. But she's like on fire, right? Yes she is. Um, and she, she left me a nice note and she's like, yeah, the 20% is great. Um, and the. I don't think it's great. I, it's probably better than standard, you know, standard performance of other organizations being intentional about recognizing women, but had I not done that? Here's the point I'd never counted. I know that I want women on here because women are 100%, uh, huge as sit in addition to the industry. And there's plenty of careers here. Four ladies. But I need to do better. Uh, and so I have a benchmark now that 20% of our interviews, uh, you, by the way, are the, I think you're the 50th interview. Oh yeah. Yes. That's my prize. Yes. I got double check. I should. Those numbers, and so from now, until next March, next spring break. We're gonna have to double that. I I'm, I, I need to double that minimum. And so I'm going to, if you don't mind bug you and maybe steal some of the ladies that you've showcased so that we can bring them up on here and, and have them share their message, uh, because there's tons of women out there. Yes. Um, and, and, you know, for employers, uh, or hiring managers, I should say that we should talk, talk more directly to the hiring managers, cuz it's always kind of easy to say, well, the company. Yeah, but the company is comprised of people and it's human beings that are making the hiring decisions. Uh, and, and so call out to the hiring managers out there. How purposeful are you about going out and seeking women or, or whatever, diversifying the candidates that you're reviewing and considering for the job. Uh, and so again, target set, everybody knows we're gonna, we're gonna take it to 40%. By March, uh, for the next year. So, you know, for data freaks, I cannot like completely changing the numbers to 40% is gonna be very, very difficult, but getting 40% of the next year worth of interviews is more achievable. So I'm making it easy for me. And thank you, miss Stephanie for helping with that. Absolutely. Yeah. So like, I wanted to share something with you now that you're talking, you know, I, I listened to a Ted talk the other day and it said, you know, when you were talking about diversifying their candidates and, you know, I think part of the problem, and when I listened to this Ted Ted talk, it made so much sense to me. And it said women. If they look at a job description and if they don't meet a hundred percent of the qualifications, they will not apply. Mm-hmm . If men look at it, as long as they meet about 60% of the qualifications, they'll still apply mm-hmm and it's. And I was like, you know what? That's so I've, I've in head have done that, right? Because it said that, you know, we're teaching our girls to be. Perfect. And our boys to take risks. Yes. Like it's okay, boys, you know, you can do it, you can take a risk, but girls are more inclined to be. Nope. I gotta match everything. I gotta, you know, it's gotta be perfect. And I'm like, yeah, that is that's true. It really is. And I think about it, you know, cuz I raised boys and I think, you know, how risk much risk here's, you know, they are. And then, you know, when I think of my daughter, I'm like, she would never do that. Just, you know yeah. Yeah. So yes. Well, and, and again, your story, part of the reason I'm super excited about sharing your story is because you're taking risks. Yeah. Right? Like starting, starting, this thing that you started is mm-hmm, , you know, you may not be risking, um, enormous amounts of money, but you're risking your time. You're, you're taking time away from your family. From your boys, your daughter, your husband, your personal you're relaxing, right? Like you could be taking a nap with cucumbers on your eyes right now. Cause that's what I would be doing, but you're sacrificing that to do something that's not predetermined and there is no resume. There is no roadmap. You're just doing it. And, and. That's the point, right. Is for me, I had lunch with a friend of mine, hold hit in Denver. I was at Denver earlier this week. Um, and he pointed out, he's like, dude, like I love this. He could tell that I'm like super excited and really enjoying life right now, uh, and contributing to a greater degree. And he's like, but it it's it's his observation was it's when we take those risks, we live on that edge and it it's, there's a lot of risk, but the reward is, is tremendous. Um, yes. And then to your point, like my job, the past two jobs, I probably shouldn't say this, but I wanna say it anyways, like the job description, like I was maybe 10%, like I had a name and that, that was my qualification um, but we all have we're human beings and we're all full of value. And we, we have to give ourselves permission to say, okay, maybe I don't have all of those things. Mm-hmm . But there is the inherent skills that I have that can bring value and my capability or capacity to learn supersedes all those little boxes that need to be checked. Yes. Yes. And so you get in the organization and learn, I mean, that's about, that's my story. That's your story? Right. I started off as a plumber. And now I'm a social media. I'm influencer. Yeah. Yeah. You know, and that's why I encourage, you know, um, a lot. So I've even had, you know, women approach me that are, you know, looking for a change in their career and I encourage them go to a job. Fair, go, go to a job. Fair. It's not easy. Right. It's not, it's not easy, but I'm like, that's. The only way that you're going to be able to get in front of who you need to get in front of and tell them I want to learn, right. If there's a job fair, go to it. Because I mean, that's, it's invaluable. What I mean, that's what I did. That's what I did. And I didn't want to that morning, believe me, I did not want to, I had a friend call and he's like, Hey. Job fair started. You need to go. And I was like, I don't know. I've never even been down to the Galleria area in Houston. Never even. And he's like, you need to go, you need to go. They're hiring like crazy Stephanie. I was like, all right, fine. So I got up and I went, got there, parked in the wrong garage. Cause these, these tall buildings, right? These tall, I skyscraper built things parked in the wrong garage. A security lady came out and yelled at me. Mm-hmm you can't park here. You and I'm like, good night. What am I even doing here? Don't even know where to park. I don't know what I'm doing. I went and found the right garage walked inside and it changed my life. Oh my God. That's yes. That's what it takes. Uh, yes. So again for you, you're you have obviously entrepreneurial spirit. You're making changes in many, many lives. And, but we also have to give a shout out to the family, right. To Mr. Chris. Who's absolutely feverishly making you some delicious tacos right now. He is, I could smell the bacon cooking. Oh my goodness. That's awesome. um, so, but that's an important thing when, uh, along the way, when we're building our career, when we're, uh, putting our ideas out into the world, having a strong support network. Is is foundational. Um, would you mind bragging on Chris and the change? A little, absolutely. I mean, like I said, you know, I didn't go back to, you know, college and it took me, I think it was five, maybe six years. It was a long, long road. Right. And I, um, Couldn't have done it without his support. There's just no way. I mean, I was, I mean, I had to go back Jesse and take calculus. I'd been outta school for 20 years. I wasn't even good at math when I was in school. so much less when I'm like, you know, I had to get a tutor. I'm like, you know, call the tutor up. She's like, oh, what grades your child in? I'm like, Um, it's for me, it's for me. that's all awesome. So, yeah, I mean, and I mean, I had such late nights and I mean, weekends and, you know, he was. Picking up the slack. He, you know, and he really did a great job of just, just, I mean, I didn't even have to ask. I didn't have to feel, I mean, we all have moms have guilt mom, guilt is, is, is real, you know? Um, but he did a really great job of just being able to support me and he supports all my crazy ideas for the most part. That's amazing you, but yeah. Yeah. And our kids. Yeah. Our kids, you know, we got two boys that are graduating this year. Our daughter's in junior high and, um, I mean, they saw, you know, they, they saw me and, uh, you know, the, the struggles that I had and, you know, oh, I can't go to the baseball game cuz mommy's got a midterm due and you know, I mean I had to, I had to sacrifice some things. Um, and so along the way I, I told them, you know, Don't be like, mom, you know, don't be like mom, you know? Um, and you know, we've tried to encourage them, you know, whether it's, you know, they wanna go straight into work, let's see what you know, we can do. Or if you wanna go to college, let's see what we can do. And, you know, we don't push them either way, but they, you know, them growing up and seeing mom, you know, struggle through college and, and you know, it, I mean, I'm hoping that, you know, that, that, that was an eye opener for them to, to be like, okay, Not gonna be like mom and not in that way, you know, other ways. Yes. But not in that way. Yeah, exactly. I was just gonna say that be like mom, otherwise. Yes. In some ways. Absolutely. Be like, wow. Yeah. Oh my see, but I'll tell you what though. When I did finally, you know, I went and walked across the stage at the university of Southern Mississippi and my kids and my husband, my mom and dad were in the stands. That was awesome. Oh, I can imagine. That was awesome. Proud moment. Yes. Congratulations. Thank you. Um, so. You're a world changer now, influencer, um, you you've discovered that running a, maintaining a social media presence is a second job. Yes, it is. I see. Now why some quit their job, you know, once they make it big on the TikTok or the Instagram or whatever it might be, I'm like there's. Ooh, there's just no way. It's it is a full-time job. Yes ma'am. Um, so what were your earliest career aspirations? So I don't, you know, I, gosh, I don't even remember if I ever had any, you know, I don't, yeah. I wasn't that person that was like, oh, I wanna be, you know, a doctor or a lawyer or a teacher. Um, I don't know. I didn't, you know, and then when I, when it was time, okay. I graduated and I just. You know, went and found a job. I think my first job was working at a daycare and then I ended up working for a staffing company. And then I ended up working for a telephone company. I had all these little odd jobs. So let me tell you, when I walked in the Beto with a resume, it was pretty thin , you know, at that point it was very thin. Um, I ended up as a executive assistant at a small tank company that was kind of like my first oil and gas. Uh, experience. And, uh, from there, it's where I was like, okay, I need to, you know, I got two little boys to support. I gotta really figure out what I'm doing with my life. You know, it was kinda like a sink or swim at that point, you know? So I just kind of, you know, and I had for, you know, and that's the thing, you know, if you have a connect or a friend or a relative that you see is doing something. Ask them, how are you doing? How, how, you know, how you know, because I'll tell you one thing when I've gone into the schools and talked to some of the girls, um, generating some interest for the conference, telling 'em a little bit about my story. Um, uh, one of the questions I ask is, you know, do you have a, you know, anybody, do you know anybody that works for, you know, Exxon Orser or Kiwi any of these, you know, area, industry companies and the hands go up, right? Oh yeah. My dad works there. My uncle, you know, my, um, and I'm like, okay, do you know, what do they do? Can you tell me what they do? And all the hands go down and nobody knows. Right. And I'm like, okay, that's that? That's what we need to fix too. Right. So. We need to start talking. We need to start, you know, sharing, you know, what, what we do. And I mean, we do too, you know, our kids as well, like I said, you know, they're about to graduate and I keep thinking, you know, they do, they really know what we do, you know? And so I think that's the disconnect as well at home at yep. Also at, you know, in everywhere we're all disconnected. Yep. You know? Yep. Yeah. Just because we're in the same space, like the same room doesn't mean we're sharing the same thoughts and ideas or experiences and we've gotta be. It takes intentional practice to make that happen. Yes, yes. Yes. I remember my baby brother Renee. Uh, when we, when he was coming up to the school, there was one time he had a teacher and he's like, man, she's just mean, and she's rude and she's ugly and nasty. And you know, all these things and like he wanted to get out of her class. I'm like, and of course he was talking to mom and mom's like, hi. And I'm like negative going. And he's like, why, why are you doing? I said, Renee, here's the thing is. Like, you're going to have crappy bosses. and you're gonna have crappy coworkers, like that's life. Yep. And when you get, yes, you could transfer out of her room and get into the, you know, the favorite teacher's class, but what lesson do you learn? What skill do you build? You have to understand what that you gotta, we have to learn how to deal with those things appropriately and, and like running away from it is easy, but that doesn't help you long term. Right. We're playing the long game here. Um, and so he stayed in and, and, and it worked out, but, and those kinds of lessons to your point when I was coming to up everybody, cuz I was good at math. I'm a nerd. Like I went to summer school. I paid for summer school with my own money. So that I could take algebra two and trigonometry to make sure I was gonna take calculus my senior year in high school. Right. Like talk about right. Really? Oh yeah. um, you could have been my tutor yeah, I could maybe, yeah. Maybe discount, super discount tutor, super discount. Um, and every one was telling me that because I was good at math. That I should be an engineer, like, okay. And that was like the plan I'm gonna go to college. I could be an engineer. I didn't even know what the hell an engineer looked like. I didn't know what the work of an engineer was and, you know, looking back, I'm glad I made the decision I did because it's not the type of work that I'm enthused about. you? Like? I, I would've, they would've fired me like this, dude. Get him outta here, please. Uh, and so to your point, It's I'm. I find that when I talk to young adults, what do, what is it, what career do you have in mind? What is it? Do you wanna do, blah, blah, blah. They have a list, right? They'll say this job, that job, this job, and to your point, who do you know that does that, uh, Have you even been in like the physical space that this type of work is done? Uh, right. Like, like, no. And so to echo you like, yes, meet somebody that does the damn work get on LinkedIn, search the title that you you're going after and message the like, that's how we connected messa. I'm 16 years old. I think I want to do this. Can you tell me what the job feels like? What do you do like every day is that I think that's another thing is we're so focused on outcomes. Meaning get a, get a degree, get this fancy job title so that you can make this much income mm-hmm , but we don't underst, but we forget to account for is the amount of time that we're gonna be spending away from the people we love away from the things that we love to do this job. And if you don't love that job life, I mean, you don't necessarily have to love the job, but if the job doesn't provide some measure of fulfillment and you would talk about misery, it can get pretty darn miserable. You ever had a job that was like life, soul sucking yes. I think everybody can say they have. I think everybody can say they have. And so we, we gotta have, I feel we gotta have those types of conversations as well with, um, with the students and we'll get there. I, I, I know sure what you're doing out there is absolutely gonna have tremendous impact on many, many lives. So one of the things that I wanted to share was, um, and as I'm going through this, I'm, I'm learning. About opportunities that I've never even heard of myself. So the Houston livestock show in rodeo has, uh, a portion of their ag mechanic show, uh, junior ag mechanic show that is called the industrial craft competition. Okay. I've never heard of it, right. It's only been around for a couple years. Uh, and then of, you know, COVID shut it down the last couple of years. So it hasn't been. I guess, um, broadcast very wide, but it's basically each school, their ag mechanic team is given a project they're given, uh, all the material they're given an industry partner, um, and to help guidance with guidance on the project and they build this project. I think this, uh, one this year is like a skid, like it's a barbecue pit, but they give 'em all the specs, all the, you know, all the, um, drawings, all the materialists, everything, and they have to follow it, you know? By the letter. It has to be, I mean, you know, so it's, it's basically industry coming to the students and I thought that is amazing. Yes. So I reached out to, um, the coordinator and I just said, you know, how can we get, you know, and there's a school close by to us. That's in the, in the competition. And she's like, you know, we're trying to grow it. We are. I mean, it's a, it's a big deal. They, you know, she says we send them, uh, we send semis to go down and pick up their projects and bring them, you know, truck 'em over here. And at the end of it, you know, they're judged. They have to give a presentation about it. Um, and then they, uh, you know, they, they give it to the school and then they can auction it off or sell it. And then, you know, use, they use the money for their program. I'm like, Nice. Yeah. I like, we need to, okay. We need to share that too. So there, I think as you know, we're, you know, going along, there's just gonna be more and more opportunities like that, that come up and good for whoever, you know, brought thought of that idea. Cuz you know, I'm like, that's a great idea. That's, you know, being, it's being innovative and that's what we need to do to be able to, you know, cuz like you said, you know, how can we get a 16 year old out there? You know, turning wrenches and welding and on pipe. And stuff. We, you can't okay. Let's bring it to them, then let's make it happen. Yes. And, and I think the other part is to, to know like my conversation with Tiffany last night is there's a lot, there's a whole multitude of people, organizations doing something to this. Right. You know, varying degrees, but they're doing something and they're the kind, the gap is the connectivity, right. The schools don't know about it, or the students don't know about it, or the employers don't know about it. I mean we're, I mean, in, we are in the midst of planning out the Texas construction careers initiative, our construction career day, and we've been going for about nine years now. So there is some notoriety locally. I, we just started a, a social media presence with it. Shout out to. To our social media rockstar, she's been handling stuff. Uh, and all of a sudden, like now it's like, oh, it's like, how do we get involved? How can we help? And how many can can schools from outside of San Antonio come? And it's like, turn out. Yeah. But amazing stuff. That's what it happened though, is same thing that happened to me. It's like, wow, this is really something, you know? Yes, yes. And we just gotta spread the message. Uh, so. Here's the big question. Miss Stephanie mm-hmm um, you've got tons of experience and you've done many, many things. You've brought three lives into this world. Uh, what is a significant learning that you've had as a result of a painful misstep? Mm, my painful misstep was probably, you know, Coming All right. Y'all we got a bit of a change here. Yes. I'm breaking up the flow and that's not gonna change. It's gonna stay the same, but the L and M family has spoken out and we've heard you loud and clear. What we are doing is the backstage passes. These clips that you're not gonna be able to listen to on this audio version are now gonna be available to everybody. On our YouTube channel. So hit up our YouTube channel, subscribe, follow, like hit all the buttons and, and give yourself a little bit of a. Learnings and missteps marathon and catch up on all the outtakes. We wanna hear your comments and we wanna know what you're learning from these things because all of our guests have shared some pretty intimate, uh, missteps and have had some pretty profound learnings. And we hope that you can take that and apply that going forward and even teach it to, to your people, the people you care about. So. That is going to be the deal going forward. Thank you for supporting us and back to the show. my observation is that's a, a result of you. One putting yourself out there, but two putting yourself out there to serve others. Like that's the difference all day, every day, the people that I see thrive and, and, and their groups and organizations, um, continue to grow and serve the community are the ones that are focused on being others. There's a lot of organizations and people personalities out there that are Waah. You know, they're doing the talk, but they're doing it for personal gain. And that's okay too, cuz don't get me wrong. I'm looking for some personal gain a little bit. Cause, but fundamentally it's about serving others, uh, for me. And, and when you and I first met at that, at the taco joint here in San Antonio, Texas, it was like, oh yeah, she's about it. She's she's the real thing in Chris. Chris is about it. I think mostly, no, mostly Chris, Chris is in like, whatever. I, I, I got you. I'll support you. And again, that was like, for me, when I'm, I was like, man, how beautiful to, to one, have a crazy idea and, and, and take action upon that. And then also to have a, a, a life partner to say, I got you right. Like that. Amazing. So again, shout out to Chris. Absolutely. And I think, you know, I think for, for him too, is that he came out of the craft. Right. He grew up in the craft. He's a electrician. He came up as an electrician and worked his way up. And so he knows the value, right? The value and the importance of this message, not just for girls, but for guys too. That's why I kind of try to encourage him. You need to get out there, you need to talk to some high schoolers, go meet with some, some boys and, you know, tell 'em, you know, share your story because I mean, you know, he, um, He's done really, really well. I mean, you know, he started in his electrician and now he's an electrical supervisor on one of Exxon Mobil's biggest projects in the world. I mean, he's, he's amazing. And so his story is, is. Just as amazing. And so hopefully one day I'll be able to get him out there, but yeah, not yet. Have to get him on the show then what do you think? I think we should get him on the show too. Yeah. Yeah. We can put him on the list. Put him on the list. Yes. He can eat his bacon while we're talking. um, okay. So Stephanie, you are already making big waves and I mean, it's only, I mean, you're within your first year is what I understand. Oh yeah. I started thinking about this in November. Oh, my goodness. So this just November it did. Yeah. And based on the experience going from November, the first idea, let me ask my local school to now 200 young ladies. Mm-hmm um, what footprint do you intend to leave on the world? You know, I really just hope that, you know, others will see what. We are doing, I'm not gonna say I, because I like, you know, sometimes I'm like, gosh, I'm doing this, but I'm like, I'm not, it's, you know, I'm, I'm leading it, but I've got so much support where, you know, the schools and the companies and the counselors and the CTE directors and the principals. And, you know, I mean, there's, there's a lot of support behind this and, um, I just want other people to see what we're doing. Yes. And say, Hey, how can I do that for our community, for our girls? That's that's the most important thing that I hope comes out of, out of all of this. Oh my God. You know, it sounds so simple, but it's enormously profound. Like, yes, you're, you're laying a path, uh, clearing the path and you're willing to share it. Like that's what it's all about. And you're amazing. Yes. . So any shout outs you want to give to any, any folks, any of your people out there? Oh man. Gosh, the list goes on and on, you know, I'm um, I feel like, you know, another part of this is I'm part of the empowering women in industry, uh, headed up by Charlie Matthews. I've been part of that for. Three four years now, uh, had the opportunity to speak at their first conference. I've been highly involved ever since then. And, uh, she's great. And she told me something that has stuck with me and, uh, you know, in this, because she's supported me in this and she has just been, I mean, a valuable mentor for me, and I've seen what she's done, you know, for the empowering women. And I'm like, all right, I'm empowering girls now. And uh, she said, you just need cheerleaders. And I'm like, you know what? Yes. And I'm like, I need cheerleaders. I wanna be a cheerleader. So, you know, it's, and, and she is, she's my biggest cheerleader out there, you know, and she's helping us spread the message as well. And so, um, I got a, I got a lot of great support, uh, you know, besides my family and the, you know, the industry and. It's great. It's and this is only gonna grow. So just the beginning. Yes. Well, I may not meet all the qualifications on that cheerleader job description. but I'm applying anyways. I wanna right. You and everything that you're doing. You're uh, it's AMA it's a privilege for me to be able to, to spend time with you. And kind of have a front row seat at the beginning. yes, this is just the beginning. I can't wait. I can't wait to see what we can do next year. And, um, you know, it's how many lives we can change, okay. Do you have fun? I did. I did. Yes. That is good. You, you, you good one? I can't wait. oh, you know, I did wanna share something with you though. Yes. When, uh, we were in San Antonio. And remember I told you about the job career fair trade fair. Yep. Okay. As I was walking around, um, I don't know if I mentioned this to you at the taco hook, but, um, Texas state university was there and they had two ladies there and they have, they've been given a grant by the U S D a, uh, for the next two years to host a woman of welding. Summer camp for high school girls entering their sophomore, junior and senior year. So anybody interested like entry level, it's a camp, all expenses paid. The only thing is they have to their travel there and back is all they're responsible for. And so that is I think, a super awesome program to introduce, you know, young girls to welding. Um, and I have the information for that. So. You know of anybody or? Yes. If you could, I'll tell you what, if you don't mind sharing the link and all that stuff, put it in the show notes. Uh, so that people can look that up and hell we'll, we'll blast it out on my social media. Yeah. Cause it's open nationwide to who any, you know, whoever, any girl that wants to come and attend that camp. So yes. Yes. Can't beat that. It's a whole week. All expenses paid lodging meals, everything is paid. So, oh man, really? I think they even got another grant for, um, like entry level ag mechanic teachers. Okay. That aren't familiar with welding. I think that's another component to the grant as well. I'm telling you things are changing. Jesse things are changing and yes. All for the good, you know. Yep. Yep. And more and more amazing human beings are getting engaged and getting, making themselves visible. Like, uh, and that's what it takes. Just a little bit of courage. Just get out there. That's it happens. It does. You just gotta know or you just gotta ask right. And keep asking. Yes. Not give up. That's what I've learned. And I think once, you know, people see, that's what I hope, you know, like people see, you know, what other people are doing and then, okay, how can we do that here? How can we, you know, model that here? Yes. So yes, we gotta do it. Be the example, do the work, show the work and be cheerleader. Be cheerleaders. Yes. And have cheerleaders like Jesse have cheerleaders. Yes. Have cheerleaders. Well, that's what this is, right. You invited me on here and then you're, I mean, you're, you're help. You're cheering me on. That's what it is. So that's exactly what it is. How do we support and celebrate each other amazing new beings. Let's celebrate that. Yep. If you didn't get at least one nugget out of that, go back and listen again. Cause I know there's some big, gigantic nuggets in there that are going to help. A lot of people hit us up on the social. I am almost out of feedback from the LNM family members to celebrate at the end of the conversation. But I do have this one that was very recent. Uh, it was an immediate call to action and it was an immediate response that was golden. So shout out to Mr. Felipe engineer, Manriquez, the leaping gives us this shout out. He says these shows are so very valuable to my. I highly recommend you join me in supporting this tribe. And he's talking about the no BS tribe. What's the no BS tribe. Well, it's a group of. Change makers out there in the industry, out there in the workspace, out there in the world. Uh, and we, we call them up every other Saturday, Jennifer Lacy and I are hosting conversations on no BS with Jen and Jess streaming. Felipe Thank you man, for giving us the call out. To the rest of y'all. I love you very much. Thank you for sharing your time. Be cool. And we'll talk it to next time, please.