Leslie Gildea of ServiceTitan, a platform for independent contractors to sell and promote their services, discusses what makes HVAC a rewarding career, and why she encourages more women to consider the industry.
VP, Growth Development, ServiceTitan
What is the biggest misconception regarding a career in HVAC that you’d like to debunk for our readers?
When people think of HVAC, they tend to think of an industry that will offer jobs but not careers,when this simply could not be further from the truth. There are many different types of roles in HVAC, ranging from engineers and field technicians to project managers and marketers.
What advice would you give to women on breaking into the HVAC industry?
I would encourage women thinking about working in HVAC to dive in headfirst and learn as much as you can. Set up informational interviews with both men and women in the roles you’re interested in to learn what skill sets are required and get some tips of the trade.
Can you speak to the importance of gender diversity in the skilled trades today?
Since women currently make up such a minuscule percentage of the workforce in the trades, it is critical that we create career pathways for this untapped labor pool in order to ensure the future for so many industries, including HVAC. More importantly, studies have shown that more diverse workforces produce better outcomes.
What skills do you utilize every day, be they technical or otherwise?
My role at ServiceTitan is to build strategic partnerships that will accelerate company growth and drive customer success. This means that on any given day I’m having to flex many different skill sets including relationship-building, customer empathy, collaboration, negotiations, and project management.
How do you think technology is empowering women in HVAC and skilled trades?
One trend I’ve noticed in recent years is the influence of social media in the trades. It can sometimes feel isolating as a woman in a male-dominated industry, but within the past couple years, online communities for women in the trades have grown exponentially, helping to create more support systems and mentorship opportunities. Also, new technologies like ServiceTitan are making it easier to work remotely which, in turn, offers greater flexibility for many women to integrate work and life responsibilities.
How do you measure success in your current role as a female leader?
My success as a leader is defined by the impact I have on my team and those around me. As a manager, focusing on the development of my team is the best investment I can make because it helps them reach their full potential and results in better business outcomes. As a leader in the broader organization, I similarly try to invest in the success of others—especially other women. Leaders are responsible for shaping company culture, so I try to make the workplace more inclusive for women through mentorship and sponsorship in our women’s diversity charter group.