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„Help recruit, retain and advance women in the stone industry“

„Women in Stone“ at a „Wine & Stone“ event. Photo: MIA

„Women in Stone“ is a workgroup called to life by the Marble Institute of America (MIA) and the Building Stone Institute (BSI) / „Wine & Stone“

Its aim is to „help recruit, retain and advance women in the stone industry“. The concept of the workgroup called to life by the Marble Institute of America (MIA) and the Building Stone Institute (BSI) is cut and dried.

MIA‘s Sarah B. Gregg describes the project somewhat more illustratively: „Women play and increasingly important role in our economy and we want to pay tribute and ensure that they succeed in their endeavors“.

The initiative WIS (Women in Stone) was called to life in 2014 and has since initiated a number of activities, some most remarkable.

A core project is the Mentoring Program in which newcomers are introduced to experienced women in the branch. With a view particularly to finding successors, an inherent element of the mentoring program is promotion but also economic survival.

One variant of the program is Speed Mentoring where newcomers and veterans sit face to face and exchange essential impressions or information for but a few minutes before changing collaborates. If the chemistry is good, newcomer and mentor can meet later for an in-depth exchange.

Another point of the program are webinars on communication. These on-line seminars teach rookies how to speak and lead negotiations not least with a view toward commanding respect and being heard in a branch dominated by men.

2016 saw two more activities launched: Women in Stone Pioneer Award for those who made important contributions in the field of the advancement of women and The Women in Stone Empowerment Scholarship, in which MIA or BSI pays all costs for the attendance to the Trade Fair or a Study-Tour.

The previously mentioned unusual „Wine & Stone“ project with the sub-heading „a connection that’s natural“ offers a relaxed seminar atmosphere to both themes – albeit with the ulterior motive of promoting the product: wine tasting is combined with information on types of stone.

„Architects and designers appreciate the opportunity of activities out of the office or showroom frame“, says Gregg „and they value the informal atmosphere we provide“.

The idea is not new. Events of this type are well established in many parts of Europe. It seems logical to combine a wine tasting with analysis of the soil on which the wine stocks grow and the rock beneath it.

Insiders go so far as to claim that general knowledge is less cultivated than elsewhere, which is why architects and designers are so keen on this type of event particularly since they can gather extra credits for their continuing education.

Most remarkable: the quality of entrepreneurship with which women approach the merry theme: A kit has been put together with practical tips on organizing such events. In it, among other things, the answer to the question: what is essential for a good presentation? How should tables be arranged? What information should be provided on the two products?

Sarah Gregg is quick to add: „The kit merely contains suggestions on holding events of this.“ Those wishing to use the kit, pay MIA 500-US-$ for 25 participants or less.

Since August 2015, 28 such events have already taken place some of which took place in cooperation with a local wine dealer. (Sumu)

Women in Stone

Wine and Stone

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(23.11.2016, USA: 11.23.2016)