Women in Golf and Pest Control
Angie Intriago, Human Resources Business Partner, Environmental Science, Bayer North America
As a woman and as a Human Resources (HR) representative, I was struck the first time I attended meetings with our sales teams and customers of Bayer’s Golf Course Management and Professional Pest Management businesses. Working in these typically male-dominated industries, I found I was often one of about two females in the room.
So it shouldn’t come as a surprise to Bayer’s executives in these businesses, that when we talk, diversity is one of my go-to topics. The Head of our Professional Pest Management business, Ildem Bozkurt, understands my need to speak up on this subject. She is usually the only other female in the room.
When Ildem got wind of a “Women in Golf” event that I was helping to plan with a colleague in Canada, she jumped at the chance to attend and see if it would be something applicable for our Professional Pest Management business in the United States.
The event was the brainchild of Keith Bartlett, a former golf course superintendent who now works with Bayer in Canada as a Territory Sales Manager. During his time as a golf course superintendent, Keith noted there was a lack of opportunity for women in golf course management.
He estimates there are 105 women in the Canadian golf course management industry versus roughly 1,250 men. In addition, from his experience working in the industry, Keith has noticed that women often work at small- to medium-sized golf courses that aren’t able to offer the continuing education benefits of larger courses.
Keith asked what we could do, and I suggested that we host an event for these women. Bayer’s first Women in Golf event blossomed from there. We partnered with a large golf course in Toronto that offered its space free-of-charge during the off-season. Bayer then provided a stipend for travel expenses to any woman in the industry who wanted to attend.
We brought in Susan Hite, president of Hite Resources, who provides professional development coaching and consulting, as well as our own Dr. Jacqueline Applegate, global head of Bayer Environmental Science, whose passion and energy will inspire any room.
The event focused on empowering women through personal and professional development activities. Held in March, the day exceeded our expectations. We planned for 20 participants, and soon found we had more than 50.
One of my proudest moments was the feedback we received from one of the female superintendents: she was surprised by the lack of a sales pitch from Bayer at the event. While our Canadian business head kicked off the day and encouraged his sales team to be there at the beginning of the meeting, they quickly departed and left the event to the women.
The day was not about a sales pitch, but about giving all women in our industry empowerment and networking opportunities.
Ildem returned from the Canadian meeting inspired to bring the same event to our Professional Pest Management business in the United States. We’ve already set a date! Our event, which will be open to any female working in Pest Control, will be held July 17, in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. We’ve collaborated with the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), and the event will be held in conjunction with its annual Leadership Academy.
Bayer’s Golf Course business in the United States also is interested in bringing the event here, and we’re currently working on those details.
These events are a good start to encouraging diversity in the industry and in our own business. Women need a place where they can learn from and support one another. And maybe one day, if we continue our efforts, women won’t have to feel like the minority in industry meetings anymore.
You can read about the Canadian Women in Golf event here, as written by Miranda Robinson, a golf course superintendent and a contributing editor for Golf Course Industry: