Women at Simpson Strong-Tie — Building Equality in Sales

Last week concluded Simpson Strong-Tie’s 2022 International Sales Meeting. HR Coordinator Kayla Wells attended ISM and shared her experience connecting with others, as well as her surprise at the growing number of women on our sales team. 

I started with Simpson in March 2020 as the Human Resources Coordinator, and I’m still in that position. Eventually, I look to expand my HR career here as I develop myself and those around me. Last week, I was honored to attend the annual Simpson Strong-Tie International Sales Meeting (ISM) in San Antonio, Texas. Although I’m not in Sales, I received the ECSS (Excellence in Customer Service Support) award for the first half of 2021 at my branch here in Columbus, so I was invited to attend.

Kayla Wells at ISM
Kayla Wells at ISM

This was my first ISM. Initially I was nervous about how this event would go and I kept asking myself, “How am I going to relate to and converse with 400+ men –talking mainly about sales and golf.”  

On a serious note, I was afraid I wouldn’t fit in since my role is quite different from those in Sales. I’ve always had this perception that sales is a “guys thing” because when I grew up that was always the norm, and historic statistics show that men have always been much more common than women in the salesforce. 

2022 International Sales Meeting
2022 International Sales Meeting

Going to ISM I assumed it would be very similar, so I was pleasantly surprised to see how wrong I was. I was excited to see women on stage to receive a Hugh B. Oliphant (HBO) award or a Sales By Objectives (SBO) award, proving they’re just as good as anyone else in Sales!

Ladies at ISM
From left to right. Cheryl Zafiris Residential Territory Manager Alabama, Lindsay Armstrong Residential Dealer Sales Rep Florida, Ginger Cipher Residential Dealer Sales Rep Texas, Cyndi Chandler Director, International Sales-Latin America, and Jackie Flemming Technical Training Coordinator Outside Sales.

I was also excited to see all the other saleswomen in the crowd who will eventually have their own opportunity to win an award for their success. It gives me something to look up to. I’ve never pursued sales because I was afraid I couldn’t do it, afraid that I would get turned down or walked all over, especially in a manufacturing line of work since most customers are male. I didn’t want to be considered weak! That’s obviously a personal issue, but seeing so many women doing it successfully in our company gives me hope that sales is something I could do if I choose to. 

Women in Sales- HBO Winners
Women in Sales- HBO Winners : Andrea Johnson and Ginger Cypher

The last thing I’ll say is how proud I am of all the women in the crowd and up on stage. As Ryan, our keynote speaker, said, it’s good to keep a list to remind yourself sometimes of the people who have your back. To all those impressive saleswomen I say, please add me to the list of people behind you. I support you, I’m proud of you, and I look up to you! 

This event was the perfect reminder of what an incredible culture Simpson Strong-Tie has. I had the opportunity to make memories with, laugh with, hear stories with, and create partnerships with so many people within our company at this event, and that is a direct reflection of our company culture. This event also opened my eyes more to our market segments and the industries they represent, along with added insight into our products that I’m very thankful for. 

Thank you, 2022 ISM & Simpson Strong-Tie, for having me! 

Author: Kayla Wells

Kayla is a Human Resources Coordinator at Simpson Strong-Tie and recipient of our Excellence in Customer Service Support Award in 2021.