Women’s History Month allows us to honor those who came before us and recognize those who continue to make history every day. As two women who hold important roles at Scott Byron & Co., Tina Shaw and Kristy Sheets share not only how they’re using the opportunities provided to them to contribute to a better workplace for their colleagues and produce outstanding work for their clients, but why they feel a responsibility to lead by example.
Not Your Typical Plant Ladies
As Vice President of Operations at Scott Byron & Co, Tina manages the company’s construction,
maintenance, purchasing and fleet and facilities teams, which means she oversees anywhere between 80 and 200 people depending on the season. One of the reasons this former entrepreneur was attracted to joining the company in 2012 as a client relations manager is because they make her feel like she’s an integral partner of the business and vested in their success, regardless of her gender.
Tina quickly proved her business acumen. After her promotion to Manager of Flower Operations, she was charged with revamping their flower yard and its logistics. She realized that in order to ramp up their flower business, she’d have to prove to her COO and CFO that they needed to invest a substantial amount to upgrade their flower space. “It was a big purchase and I couldn’t necessarily prove that it was going to create efficiencies, but I knew that it would,” she says.
She presented her proposal. After a few questions and less than an hour later, her proposal was approved. It was then, she said, she knew they respected and trusted her.
Kristy shares a similar sentiment to her boss and has noticed the company actively promotes women to upper levels of management. “They’re not afraid to let women have a hand at running the show,” she says.
The horticulturist began her career at Scott Byron & Co. 14 years ago as a project manager. Today, as head of its construction department, she oversees a team of project managers and specialty services staff who are responsible for approximately two-thirds of the company’s revenue. “We build anything from very small planting jobs all the way up to multi million-dollar landscapes, which can include swimming pools, outdoor barbecues, the whole thing,” she notes.
Kristy was attracted to the role because she enjoys watching a project unfold from beginning to end. “I like the idea of starting and finishing a project and moving on to the next one,” she says.
How Women Can Succeed in The Landscape Industry
Tina and Kristy agree that in order to succeed in the landscape industry, women need to sharpen both their soft and hard skills.
“Be patient,” Kristy advises. Rather than jumping in and trying to prove what you know, she recommends taking a step back initially and taking the time to watch, listen and learn. It’s a practice that has served her well.
Tina can’t stress enough the importance of education and, specifically, classes in business. Her degree in business management with a horticulture minor has been key to her success and development as a professional, she says. “It’s great when people attend college to study horticulture but there may come a time in your career that you don’t want to be out doing the work anymore and then you’re hindered because you lack the educational background that companies are looking for to make the jump into a management position or in other business roles,” she adds.
Balancing Motherhood and Role Models
As a mother of two boys, ages eight and nine, Kristy doesn’t feel her work has impacted her home life much but she does feel that being a mother has changed her outlook at work. She often thinks about how she’s providing guidance for the project managers and doing what she can to make sure they have what they need.
Tina is inspired by her 13-year-old son. “It’s important to me to be a good example for him of what a woman is, how a woman acts, what a woman can do,” she admits. “And conversely, how he relates to women, how he treats women and what he should expect from women out in the world.”
It’s Not All Roses: These Horticulturists Reveal Their Favorite Flowers
Asking a landscaper or horticulturist their favorite flower is a bit like asking them who their favorite child is.
“I bet you could ask any landscaper a horticulturist what their favorite flower is and you’ll always get ‘this is my favorite right now’ as their answer,” Tina laughs. After years of loving Katsura trees, trees whose foliage offers an array of color throughout the year, she finally planted one in her backyard last year.
In true form, Kristy can’t commit to just one favorite either, but she admits she loves all white flowers.