By: Patricia Cermignano

In 2015, Bryant® introduced the Bryant® Women in HVAC event in Indianapolis, Indiana as a way to recognize the role that women leaders play in building successful HVAC companies across North America. Since then, the event has become an annual conference and has grown its attendance year over year.

This past April, I was fortunate enough to attend the third annual Bryant® Women in HVAC event at the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Through the various business meetings, breakout sessions and guest speakers, this year's event focused on the following four common themes:

  1. Personal Branding
  2. Personal Development
  3. Professional Development
  4. Relationship Building

Each session was designed to provide actionable takeaways to start incorporating into our HVAC company upon returning home from the event. There was also networking breakout sessions throughout the weekend that encouraged the participants to get to know one another and to share best practices techniques.

Day 1- April 27, 2017:

On the morning of Thursday, April 27, I traveled from Philadelphia International Airport to the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.


After a quick flight and a short cab ride, I arrived at the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort in time to check-in and get settled before the welcome event later that evening. At the registration desk, we were given a welcome bag from Bryant® which included a binder full of information that we would be discussing at the event and some fun Bryant® gear. After a few hours of relaxation, the Welcome Bryant® Women in HVAC Party kicked off on the hotel's Sky Terrace. The welcome event was a great way to network with women attending the event and to meet some of the women our company works with on a day-to-day basis.


Day 2- April 28, 2017:

The second day of the event started with a Leadership Panel featuring three female employees working at Bryant®. All of the women spoke about their experience working for the company and how they have successfully thrived in their jobs as a female working in a predominately male industry. Immediately following the Leadership Panel, we attended four breakout sessions throughout the day- Offering Solutions for Indoor Air Quality, Personal Branding: Articulating Your Fingerprints, Effectively Navigating Conflict and Best Practices for Social Media. Please see below for a brief overview of each of the four sessions:

  • Offering Solutions for Indoor Air Quality: In this session, we learned about Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) and viable solutions that our company can offer our customers to help remedy any IAQ issues they are experiencing in their homes. We were then given a demonstration for a new IAQ home analyzer device- AirAdvice for Homes. With the AirAdvice for Homes analyzer, it just takes 30 minutes to provide a detailed analysis on the quality of the indoor air along with recommended solutions.
  • Personal Branding- Articulating Your Fingerprints: This session was presented by a representative from The Lattimer Group. The main theme of this breakout session was to help each woman learn more about what attributes and qualities make them unique in categories ranging from vision, performance, interpersonal and intrapersonal.
  • Effectively Navigating Conflict: This session was presented by a representative from Bloombase. In this session, we were provided with an action framework to help navigate conflict. The action framework is designed to ask strategic questions that can help change our outlook and approach for assessing and handling any conflicts. It takes you through identifying emotions, understanding the what an the why of the conflict, choosing how to approach the situation and evaluating the outcomes and learnings from resolving the conflict.
  • Best Practices for Social Media: In this session, we reviewed effective tools and best practices for social media used for a business. We discussed how to use each of the social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube) and how frequently a business should post to each of the platforms in order to maximize reach. We also went over frequently asked questions that pertain to social media execution and management.

Following the four breakout sessions, we gathered as a large group to listen to the keynote speaker- Carla Harris. Carla Harris is a Vice Chairman, Wealth Management, Managing Director and Senior Client Advisor at Morgan Stanley. Carla spoke about the importance of being a leader and being your authentic, honest self. We also discussed the value of having a sponsor, mentor and advisor to help offer guidance and advice throughout your career. Finally, Carla addressed the importance of how taking risks and not succumbing to fear will make you a strong and respected leader in the workplace.

The day ended with a beautiful dinner on the hotel's Sky Terrace. At the dinner, we heard from the Bryant® Marketing Manager who helped spearhead the weekend's event. Bryant® also took a few minutes to recognize and acknowledge the Bryant® Factory Authorized Dealer award winners from 2017.

Day 3- April 29, 2017:

The third day of the event started with over 70 women gathering on the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort's beach to watch the sunrise and to participate in a mindful morning beach yoga class. This was a relaxing way to start the final day of meetings.

Shortly following the beach yoga, we attended two breakout sessions- Differentiating Yourself with Bryant® and Achieving Success in Business Negotiations.

Please see below for a brief overview of each of the two sessions:

  • Differentiating Yourself with Bryant: In this session, a Bryant® employee gave an overview of Bryant® and what differentiates them in the marketplace amongst their competitors. We also were taught statistics of the average HVAC purchases today so we have a better sense of who our target audience should be. Finally, this session outlined in greater depth the Bryant® Factory Authorized Dealer program and further explained that it means to receive this distinction. This conversation lead to a discussion on the various awards and recognitions available to the Bryant® Factory Authorized Dealers. The goal of this session was to arm us with facts so we can confidently promote Bryant® and our company to our customers.
  • Achieving Success in Business Negotiations: In this session, we learned how to plan and execute a successful business negotiation by following a five-step guide. We also discussed the various strategies that can be used to approach a business negotiation and the common mistakes that women tend to make during a business negotiation. The content reviewed in this breakout session helped you know how to organize and thoroughly think through all of the information you need to approach a business negotiation.

Following the two breakout sessions, there was a Peer Panel consisting of four women who had attended previous Bryant® Women in HVAC events. Each of the women discussed how they got started in the HVAC industry and what their roles are at their company. They spoke about best practices and different business development ideas that have helped their company grow and succeed. Lastly, they spoke abut the value of building relationships with other women in the industry and how the Bryant® Women in HVAC event has provided them with the opportunity to meet and network with their female peers.

To end the last day of meetings, Bryant® reserved the hotel's pool deck for a closing pool part. This part was a great way to bond with the women you had met over the course of the weekend and to say any final goodbyes before everyone left the next morning to travel back home.

Day 4- April 30, 2017:

After a closing breakfast on Sunday morning, I left the hotel to head to the airport to travel back home to Philadelphia. On the plane home, I had time to reflect on the Bryant® Women in HVAC event and the role that I want to have not only within my company but within the HVAC industry. I left the weekend feeling empowered and capable of helping my company and myself grow within the HVAC industry and knew that I had forged lifelong relationships and friends. The Bryant® Women in HVAC event was truly a wonderful event. I feel so fortunate to have been nominated to attend this year, and I hope to attend the event in the years to come.