Women in HVACR – Go Bold

Planning for 2024? Wars, economic pessimism and worried workers are on the minds of customers and workers in the HVAC industry.

The theme of the 2023 Women of HVACR is a call to be bold, a crucial skill as businesses in the HVAC industry look ahead to the coming year filled with uncertainty.

“Your people, your clients are getting up each morning and they are being barraged by craziness,” said Mary Kelly, the opening keynote speaker at the conference in downtown Jacksonville, FL.

She listed a host of challenges – from the threat of economic downturn, difficulties in recruiting and retention for workers, and even the growing risk of ransomware attacks targeting small businesses.

“People are struggling to find leaders. … Leadership matters more than it ever has,” said Kelly. “We as leaders have to manage the uncertainty of the people around us.”

Her presentation was the first of a daylong series of speakers and workshops for women in the HVAC trade. She encouraged women to not be fearful about staking out leadership roles and navigating an often male-dominated trade.

Kelly graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and served 21 years as an intelligence and a logistics officer, according to her online biography. She earned a Ph.D. in economics and taught at the Naval Academy, the Air Force Academy, and in the graduate school for Colorado State University.

She also wrote 15 books about business and leadership.

Kelly said that HVAC is a crucial sector as climate change pushes temperatures up across the nation. HVAC businesses are positioned as the best resources for homeowners to make good decisions about equipment replacement, taking advantage of government tax incentives and how to ensure air-quality is healthy.

She also offered guidance on managing staffs that are feeling stressed and still coping with the massive changes brought about by COVID lockdowns and health fears. She called on business leaders to be bold in addressing technological changes, like the resurgence of QR codes and making a plan to meet specific goals.

Mary Kelly presenting at the 2023 Women in HVACR conference in Jacksonville, Florida.

Mary Kelly presenting at the 2023 Women in HVACR conference in Jacksonville, Florida.

Attendees at Women in HVACR 2023 Conference.

Attendees of the Women in HVACR Conference.