“Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.” This is one of my favorite quotes because I spent so much of my life second-guessing myself about everything.
My interest in the green industry started early when attending Essex Agricultural and Technical High in Hawthorne, Mass., majoring in Natural Resources. While in high school, I was accepted into a program called The SCA (Student Conservation Association), which allowed me to live and work in rural Tennessee and lead the first-ever all-female SCA crew. We spent a month clearing and maintaining a 5-mile section of the Appalachian Trail. We lived with no running water, no electricity, no cell phones.
I went on to attend North Shore Community College, receiving my associate’s degree in horticulture with a minor in business. By the time I was 21 years old, I had my pesticide license, Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC), DOT, Hydraulics License, Arborist Certification, as well as my associate’s degree.
Once I got a taste of success and started to gain confidence in my late teens, I became excited and motivated to build a career in the landscape industry. However, the path forward was not without its challenges. I faced discrimination for being a woman and because I had epilepsy. I have dealt with employers ripping up my resume in front of me and telling me, “We don’t hire girls.” I have opened up to owners and HR managers about harassment and negative experience with co-workers and received little support or none at all. But that didn’t stop me.
In 2021, I opened North Shore Enhancement. I own 100% of my business. We are a full-service landscape and construction company. We offer everything from custom stonework to masonry to property maintenance, shrub trimming and much more. I have learned many helpful things over the years, but I have also learned how NOT to run my company.
Knowing what I’ve gone through has made me more supportive and empathetic. One day while mowing an HOA property, I came across a young girl with a lemonade stand. I walked over to support her small business, which was complete with a small sign about raising money. I inquired about her fundraising efforts, and she said “epilepsy;” she further explained that her medicines were costly. She also shared that she gets picked on for having epilepsy. I knelt down next to her and pointed at my own machine said, “do you want to know a secret?” She lit up and said “yes.” I told her, “I have epilepsy too, and you know what? I was picked on and look at me now. I drive big trucks. I operate cool equipment.” It was satisfying to be able to encourage her while also motivating myself to keep on going.
I’ve made strides since the day I walked into this industry, and I have made my mark. I hope to continue to help women step up get their licenses, degrees and certifications. I’m trying to pave the way for women who maybe think they can’t do it. I want them to know that with hard work, a positive attitude, and by aligning themselves with the right people, women can have a successful career in this industry.
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