In honor of March Women's History Month, we have asked some of our women agents for their perspective on their career in the moving industry and what it means for their business to be a certified as "woman-owned".
In 2019, we set out on an in-depth research project that explored diverse supplier programs. This research culminated in a whitepaper that detailed our findings regarding the benefits, challenges, and opportunities for both the companies that utilize these programs and the external firms who are the diverse suppliers themselves. For the purposes of that undertaking, we focused on certified minority, veteran, and women-owned businesses. Our research gleaned information regarding diverse supplier programs from an array of companies.
According to our findings, we found that diverse supplier programs are overwhelmingly popular and viewed as highly effective and integral by our respondent companies. We also found that many of the most common challenges faced by companies with these programs revolved around finding certified suppliers to grow the program, finding suppliers who were able to scale to the firm’s needs, and measuring the ROI of the programs themselves.
Interestingly, we also found that many companies tended to source diverse suppliers for services other than those in real estate, moving, and related services-an area that may prove beneficial for those seeking to grow their programs to examine more closely given the number of certified minority, women, and veteran-owned companies within these industries.
In honor of women’s history month this March, we are revisiting this research through the eyes of our very own certified women-owned agents here at northAmerican® by hearing directly from them about their motivations, experiences, and inspirations behind becoming a certified woman-owned business.
Erin McEnaney is the Owner and President of Rainbow Movers in Franklin, Massachusetts.
1. In your experience, how has being a certified woman-owned agent benefited your company?
Being a WBE has allowed us to secure additional warehousing projects from companies that need to award a certain amount of business to minority-owned businesses. I have also seen an increase in activity on the moving side of our business from many women who want to support a woman-owned business.
2. What made you take the leap to become certified?
My drive to certify the business as a WBE came from being brought up in a family of boys and men and then going on to work in a male-dominated field. I always knew that the company would be well-positioned for this standing. It was a goal of mine from very early on in my career at Rainbow to become certified but it wasn’t until I became the sole owner that I knew it was time.
3. What attracted you to the world of household goods moving?
Rainbow Movers has been our family business since 1918. I grew up in the business. Despite being the oldest of 7 children, all of my siblings were brothers. As such, I was not groomed to enter the business. However, I ventured out into the world, getting a degree in Geriatrics and also traveling the world. It wasn’t until I was in my late 20’s that I was asked to come into the business and knew once I did, that I would be there until I retired. It is a business that gets into your system. It is always changing, and my passion for working with seniors and their families has really given me a new outlook on the future of our business. Without the support of my dad in particular over the last 10-12 years, running this business would have been very difficult.
4. Where would you recommend companies seeking to grow their diverse supplier programs go to find new suppliers?
Securing new companies that need to find businesses like ours for their diverse supplier programs has been a challenging aspect for us. I network, I put a lot out on social media, and am always asking questions to help secure this type of business.
5. About how many companies have found you as a result of your business being certified?
We have been certified as a WBE for about six years now and we have a ½ dozen companies that we work with as a result of this standing. I have established a good relationship with these companies in the hopes that they too will spread the word of our certification and always seek out opportunities to secure more of this work.
6. Do you have a female hero, if so, who? In what ways does she inspire you?
I had a friend who many years ago (he is also in the moving business) start calling me Queen Boadicea who was a valiant Celtic warrior. I always felt that in this business, it was an appropriate pet name for me because at times, even though I rebelled against some of the norms in this business, I was always able to deal with conflict head-on and unite the troops! Today, I believe that a lot of our success is due to this.
Want to learn more about our study on diverse supplier programs? Request a copy of our whitepaper by clicking here.