GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Men still hold the advantage of getting positions of power in the business world.
And statistics show that often women who do hold these positions are likely to leave if they feel like they are not getting the most out of their job.
There are great women in leadership positions in the laundry business, and there should be more.
Angie Ringling, owner and president of Spin Linen, an independently owned linen rental company in Omaha, Nebraska, is one of those great women in laundry leadership.
She took time to discuss the importance of women in leadership and how to involve more women in the textile and laundry industry.
20 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE
Ringling has been the owner of Spin Linen since 2003. She graduated from college with a degree in accounting and marketing, looking for a “glamourous” job in the corporate white-collar route.
Her father asked her to join him at Spin Linen due to an employee leaving, and she told him she would stay for six months.
She ended up enjoying the production aspect, witnessing a raw product turn into a finished one. The fast-paced nature and constant problem-solving of the business helped her learn those skills and embrace the challenges it brings.
The textile and laundry industry is very complex. It requires a strong focus on processes, procedures, attention to detail, following through and the management of people.
Over the years, Ringling has felt more confident in her skills and knows this is an area she wants to continue developing for herself and her team.
She says she has never felt prejudice because she is a woman and has always felt welcomed by her male counterparts over the years.
However, she does admit that it takes a lot of grit to be in the laundry business.
But even after 26 years in the business, there still aren’t many women taking positions in leadership roles.
“Hardworking, driven and intelligent women have always been afforded a seat at the table during my tenure in this business, and I certainly have had some amazing mentors that have helped me become a better operator,” Ringling says.
“This industry has some really good people in it. The relationships I’ve built with people in this business have been so rewarding.”
WHAT WOMEN BRING TO THE TABLE
Ringling believes that women are more detail-oriented and have great organization and problem-solving skills that would make them perfect for production management roles.
She believes that the reason women don’t often apply for these positions is that there is still a disconnect—they don’t always think of themselves as good candidates.
“It’s on us to set an example for how to include more women in the industry, educating our communities and sharing our stories,” says Ringling.
She believes women can gain leadership roles depending on what part of the business they’re interested in.
Ringling has a background in accounting. She’s able to dissect data and figure out how to make operations run better.
There is also an engineering and marketing aspect of the laundry business. Understanding maintenance and equipment is critical, as well as knowing about sales and marketing.
“Really anything on management training and leadership development to understanding how to grow and develop your team,” Ringling points out.
FOSTERING MORE WOMEN IN MANAGEMENT
In general, Ringling believes that the laundry industry needs to do some work to bring more women into the management side of the business.
“We still don’t see enough talent on the service management side or the production management side,” she shares.
“We need to do a better job of attracting women to those roles and working to promote more women to those roles internally.”
Laundry operations can encourage more women to enter leadership roles by just speaking to the audience better.
When trying to make the role appealing to women, Ringling suggests employing the “what’s in it for me” mentality.
“I think women want security, challenge and to feel they are contributing,” she says. “We need to sell that to them.”
VALUE OF WOMEN IN LAUNDRY LEADERSHIP
The value of women leaders in the laundry industry? They get it done, Ringling says.
She goes on to say that the women who are in leadership positions are strong role models, and they are simply great at what they do. With their grit and determination, there’s nothing they can’t do.
There will be great things done when more women fill leadership roles in the textile and laundry industry.
“We are lucky to have the ones we do have, as they are just some great leaders,” Ringling says. “I look forward to getting some more in the years to come.”
Laundry Plant Management Team Women-led, Diverse, Nov. 1, 2022
Spotlight on Women in Laundry, Sept. 10, 2020
Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Matt Poe at [email protected].