Bryant HVAC women

Bryant® Announces 2018 Women in HVAC

In 2015, Bryant® launched a new annual event – Bryant Women in HVAC. The event has grown every year with hundreds of women.

For 3 days at the PGA National Resort and Spa in West Palm Beach, we enjoyed educational breakout sessions, table activities and panel discussions. The topics included leadership, communication and resilience.


Every night included an after-hours event that included music, great food, and networking.

Source: Bryant

Swag…the free surprises were endless. Everything from a tote bag and pashmina to a journal and the best writing pen ever. Bryant pulled out all of the stops to make us feel special. They lived up to their tag line – WHATEVER IT TAKES®. I am honored I was invited to join this incredible group of leaders.


Leadership Lessons from Mount Everest by Alison Levine

Alison was the Team Captain of the first American Women’s Everest Expedition. During her keynote speech, she shared lessons she learned while climbing the highest mountains in the world. She completed the Adventure Grand Slam, climbing the Seven Summits and skiing to both the North and South Poles.

She shared stories about attracting a large sponsor like Ford, raising money and training for the climb. Before she knew it, her team was at Base Camp. It is common for teams to stay at Base Camp for days so their bodies can adjust to the high altitude – 17,585 feet. Finally, the day arrived…the team packed their gear and traveled up the mountain to Camp 1. The team stayed there for a few days and then they traveled back down to Base Camp. After staying at Base Camp for a few days, they travelled to Camp 1. They rested for a few days at Camp 1 and then travelled to Camp 2. After a few days, they travelled back down to Base Camp.

Hold up! Wait a minute. Did I hear that right? She purposely traveled backwards. How will she ever get to the top of the mountain if she goes back to Base Camp every other day?

She obviously heard the wheels in our head turning, and she quickly answered the question everyone was thinking. She explained the need to establish camps with food, fuel and oxygen while acclimating their body to the high altitude. By travelling up and down the mountain to establish camps, they were able to rest and regain their strength. This helped prevent the negative effects of high altitude including headaches, nausea and exhaustion.

“Even though you are going backwards, you are making progress,” Alison Levine.

This is a great illustration of what it feels like to own a business. It is frustrating to feel like we are moving backwards. But, after the dark clouds clear, it turns out we actually moved forward – stronger and better than ever!

She continued with her inspiring story by demonstrating what it is like to breathe during the final stretch from Camp 4 to the Summit – between 26,000 and 29,035 feet. The simple act of breathing is so hard that you have to take approximately six breaths for every step.

Stand up and try this. Take one step forward…pause…breathe in…exhale…breathe in…exhale…breathe in…exhale…breathe in…exhale…breathe in…exhale…breathe in…exhale. Move the other foot forward one step and repeat the breathing exercise. Breathing at that altitude is difficult. She focused on taking one step at a time.

Alison was very inspiring. I am thankful she was invited to be the keynote speaker. I have repeated the Basecamp story countless times since the conference. It is a great reminder that “backing up is not the same as backing down.”

Checkout Alison’s book, On The Edge: The Art of High-Impact Leadership.

Get Grit to Accomplish Your Goals

The breakout session with Charlotte Westerhaus resonated with me. She did a great job of building on what Alison taught. She started the session with a unique perspective “most people get hurt coming down the mountain. Don’t take it for granted before you go up the next mountain.”

Charlotte shared the importance of perseverance and resilience including eight techniques she uses to help women become more gritty. Here are the three that stood out to me:

  • Grow endurance.
    The more obstacles we face, the more we will grow.


  • Reward yourself.

We constantly chase the imaginary carrot that is dangling in front of our face. We multi-task, juggle, and tackle the fires that magically appear throughout the day. But, when was the last time you scheduled time in your day to stop and smell the roses. When was the last time you stopped long enough to celebrate a win.


Great athletes rely on a schedule that helps them maintain a healthy balance of practice, exercise, healthy meals, rest and recovery.

Make it a priority to reward yourself. As a leader, we need to make ourselves a priority, so we can better serve our family and team.

  • Avoid Seeing Crisis as Insurmountable Problems.
    Charlotte encouraged us to look for ways to turn problems into opportunities. Thankfully, Brown is blessed with awesome people that help search for a solution to the “opportunities” we face every day.

If you would like to learn how to become more gritty, check out Angela Duckworth’s book – Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.


Effective Introductions – Ice Breaker

I enjoyed the ice breaker activity at our table. We spent a few minutes completing the “Effective Introductions” page. Then, we practiced our introduction. It was cool to hear the variety of introductions even though we are all in the same industry.

I especially loved the section “what value do I provide.” We too often focus on how we spend our time instead of stepping back and thinking about how we add value to our family, team, customers and business.


One Word Activity

Toward the end of the conference, we were asked to write one word on a sticky note describing how we feel after attending the conference. We shared our one word answer with the ladies at our table. Needless to say, we all left the conference with a little extra pep in our step: Inspired, Rejuvenated, Strong, Passionate, Energized and Encouraged.


Look…it is Katie Perry!

I even met Katie Perry. No, not the pop singer. But, she is a rock star in the HVAC world.


Tour the United Technologies Center for Intelligent Buildings


Tour…did someone say tour? I love, love, love a private, behind-the-scenes tour.

The new UTC building was designed to provide an interactive experience for visitors to see what is possible in the building technology space. The elevators and escalators were enclosed in glass so you can see the mechanical parts working inside the machine. All of the critical building technologies were on display instead of hiding in the basement or on the roof.

Our tour guide was awesome. It was very obvious that he loves his job. I geeked out when our tour guide described the app that provides turn-by-turn directions to help employees navigate the new, large campus. It was like Google maps for their building. If you are in the break room on the first floor and you need to visit Jane in office #302, the app will give you step-by-step directions to her office.

Plus, the app gives you the power to control the lighting and temperature of your workspace. How awesome is that! Imagine never hearing “I am too hot” or “I am too cold” again. No more battles with your co-workers over the thermostat. It is like you are Goldilocks and you have the power to pick the temperature that is just right.

Action Steps after the Conference

I love attending conferences where I make great connections and learn a lot, but the key is taking action after the bags are unpacked.

Since the conference, I created a morning routine that helps me be more resilient and gritty. I also followed up with three ladies that own and operate an HVAC company to learn more about topics they mentioned during the panel discussion:

  • Rainy day training schedule
  • Daily leadership meeting
  • Blend business and life while working with your husband

I love attending conferences. They help me grow and become a better leader.

Thank you!

A special shout out to Margo Richter and the Bryant team for hosting a wonderful conference. You thought of every detail and made it look easy. Thank you for investing so much in your dealers.

Thank you Kelly, Bill and Brent at Mingledorff’s for supporting Brown and inviting me to the conference.

Brown Heating and Cooling loves being a Bryant factory authorized dealer.

Source: Bryant

More Surprises

The wonderful Bryant team mailed everyone a Thank You card and a flash drive with photos, presentation notes and the attendee directory. I told you they thought of everything!

Bottom line:

One of the cool things I noticed at the conference was the wide range of job titles – owner, office manager, marketing director, general manager and yes…even technicians.

The HVAC industry is a great place for women to grow and create your own career path. The only limits you will have in this industry are the ones you place on yourself. The grass is greener at Brown Heating and Cooling.

About the Author

Hi! I am Tina White. My husband and I purchased Brown Heating and Cooling in 2015. Every day is a new adventure. I enjoy blogging about my experiences in the HVAC world. Although my professional career spans from CPA to HVAC, my feet hit the floor every morning ready to search for ways to delight and surprise my awesome team.