The Dozens of Reasons To Attend the Women In Industry Bootcamp

By Scott Costa, Publisher, tED magazine

I’ll start by saying I am cheating a little when writing this story. It’s about the Women In Industry Bootcamp, which will be held at the Eaton location in Pittsburgh, PA on April 21. There is still time to register, but the deadline to get the Early Bird rate is March 30.

Of course, I have never been to a Women In Industry event, so it makes writing this story a little difficult. Yes, I can write about the scheduled events. It kicks off with an introduction from Stacey Felzer, National Business Development Manager at Anixter and the 2017 Women In Industry Chair. That’s followed by a presentation by Anita Barnes-Fox, the NAED Vice President of Membership to let attendees know about the NAED resources for you. Past NAED Chair Maureen Barsema continues the morning session with a talk about the “Three Hard Truths and How The Rule of Three Relates To Business.” Then Desiree Grace, VP of Sales and Marketing for ANAMET, Inc. will wrap up the morning with a talk called “Know Your Worth – Grow Your Worth.”

After a networking lunch, Becky Jacoby, the Executive Development Manager at Eaton will host an education session called “Speak Up! Drive Your Career Path!” She will be followed by another education session by Amanda Witham, Financial Operations Manager at Crescent Electric Supply Company, called “Understanding The Corporate Financial Landscape.” The Women In Industry Bootcamp wraps up with roundtable discussions and a networking reception.

But the truth is this is about more than just what happens on April 21. If you don’t believe me, you can ask the past attendees. I reached out to 14 women to get the reasons why you should attend. You don’t have to take my word for it. But its obvious you should take their word for it. Each woman gave me a number of reasons why you should attend. So here goes:

1. Gladys Davila, Marketing Specialist, Anixter:

I have been very fortunate to work with wonderful ladies that belong to NAED Woman in Industry that invited me to attend. This has been by far the best educational event that I have participated in, during my 22 years in the industry. From the organization of the event, to the speakers and the workshops, everything was excellent. I highly recommend these exciting events. The energy and the fellowship shared among the participants are truly unforgettable.

2. Eva Jelezova, Global Product Manager, Littlefuse, Inc.

I cannot say enough good things about the WII group. I was getting the emails about it for a while but couldn’t find the time to attend. A few years ago I decided to put it on my calendar and MAKE the time to attend. And I am so glad I did! This is such a wonderful group of talented, supportive and welcoming women. It is a small investment in time, compared to the benefit it provides in career development, connecting mentors and mentees and developing friendships that go well beyond the WII Bootcamp event. I am aware that everyone has a lot on their plates and it is hard to find the time, but I know from personal experience that if you make the time to attend and choose to invest in your own development, you won’t regret it!

3. Angela Baraks, Director of Sales and Marketing, DATAgility

The bootcamp is designed for many types of women. Whether you are new to the industry, new to your role, or new to your organization, this is great one-day event. It packs the day in with informative speakers, networking opportunities, and industry driven topic roundtable discussions that are decided by the participants. I was introduced to the Women in Industry the very first NAED regional meeting I attended in 2011. From that day on, I knew I wanted to be involved. I have met so many talented, interesting, driven women as a result of that decision. The NAED organization puts together some of the best programs for their members, and this group ranks up there as one of the best!

4.  Sandra Rosecrans, CEO, City Electric Company, Inc.

I attend the WII conference to be inspired. Often, many of the women who attend the conference are new in their leadership positions. Self-assurance and confidence are critical to their success. The WII conference addresses topics such as building confidence. I am inspired by their determination to step out of their comfort zone. One of my favorite saying is “You have to get comfortable with being … uncomfortable” and the WII offers support to those who are ready to get “uncomfortable”.

5. Abby Bertsch, Industry Marketing, Crescent Electric Supply Company
I began my career at Crescent Electric Supply Company in August 2015. Being new to my position, the NAED Women in the Industry Bootcamp was a great way for me to be exposed to strong, accomplished and successful women. I was able to make connections with industry women on both the manufacturing and distribution side of the business. I highly recommend the Women in the Industry Bootcamp and look forward to attending again soon.

6. Tammy Livers, Vice President Strategic Accounts, Graybar

There is no other venue in our industry that allows access to women working in roles from the CEO to HR, Sales, Accounting, Customer service and many more. You can customize your experience by seeking out leaders in your field or by seeking those you want to learn from. Every woman that takes the time to attend or speak at the Women In Industry is invested in keeping our industry relevant by investing in diversity of thought.


  • The ability to engage in courageous conversation with other leaders in the industry. 
  • Learning from industry leaders on various topics
  • Leadership training
  • Exposure across a nationwide network of women and leaders
  • The ability to be part of the diversity solution for our industry
  • Access to mentors
  • The ability to offer your talents as a mentor
  • A safe environment to seek advice

7. Kathy Jo Van, Senior Vice President, Southwire

  • Develop leadership skills
  • Share best practices
  • Build relationships both business and personal
  • Recharge your battery…by taking a couple of days to step back, think differently, it gives you a fresh perspective and energy back at the job

8.  Hillary Heiar, Crescent Electric Supply Company

This was the second Women in the Industry Bootcamp I attended because of the incredible opportunities it provides like networking, awareness and understanding of the electrical industry. It allows you to take yourself out of your work environment and see the industry in another way connecting with many successful women just starting careers to retirement. I would recommend the Bootcamp to anyone as it is a chance to give yourself time to redirect and better understand not only yourself but also what you can do to become the most incredible you.

9. Desiree Grace, VP of Sales and Marketing, ANAMET, Inc.

  • Meet and network with smart women.
  • Learn.
  • Challenge yourself.
  • Bring a better you back to your employer. They will reap the benefits.

10. Stephanie Ellis, Marketing Manager, Robroy Industries

It is a great way to network and meet other women who also work in the electrical industry. As a relatively new player within the industry, I thought it was impactful seeing so many women in lead roles within their organization. It gave me motivation and drive to want to grow within in my organization and hope that in the future I too could be in a similar role. In addition, insightful information and advice is shared in an open forum so that you can see what others are doing within their organizations, what has been successful and what has not. I work for a manufacturer, so it allowed me the opportunity to gain knowledge of the electrical industry as a whole and how manufacturers, reps, and distributors work together to better serve the end-user.

11. Jessica Richardson, Area Manager – Northwest, Eaton

I was actually hesitant about my first Women in Industry Forum because I didn’t know anyone and or anything about NAED. Right away I connected with like-minded women from all facets of our industry and I felt a part of something that I could positively impact. Needless to say, I’ve attended quite a few since then! It’s truly been a great experience to learn and problem solve openly with other women in the industry. Every time I attend, I can feel a transformation within myself and know that I’ve just grown several steps forward in my personal and professional life.

12. Karolina Zuraw, Marketing Manager, Encore Wire Corporation

  • Networking (connecting w/ customers, colleagues and vendors)
  • Meeting other women in the industry resulting in friendships and/or mentor(s)
  • Personal growth (recharge; rediscover myself & my work)
  • Professional growth (learning something new; aha moment to take it back to the office; my purpose & how I can make a difference in this predominantly male driven industry)

13. Susan Streich, Director of Strategic Accounts, IDEA

  • Networking – The woman who attend the event seem to have a special bond. We don’t hesitate to take a call from each other whether it’s just a simple, do you know anyone from this company I can talk to, what have you done in this situation or a simple do you know anyone who can help me with this.
  • Getting outside of your comfort zone – the speakers at the event come from all areas of electrical distribution. I’ve learned so much about the industry as a whole it really has helped me relate to people outside of my particular area of expertise and comfort zone.
  • Mentoring – It’s a great way to find a mentor which I have found extremely valuable. I haven’t found anyone yet who has said no to being a mentor. You just have to ask.

14. Christina Eisbach, Marketing and Communications Manager, Crescent Electric Supply Company

The Women in Industry Bootcamp was an inspiring event to attend. Having the opportunity to speak with many veterans of the industry as well as newcomers gave me a sense of belonging to something bigger. The speakers were energetic, responsive and passionate about their work. I came away with feeling of exuberance and rejuvenated ambition. I highly recommend the experience and look forward to attending the full conference later this year.

To register for the Women In Industry Bootcamp on April 21 in Pittsburgh, PA, you can click here. After you attend, feel free to drop me a note on how it went at

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