They represent 42 percent of all companies, employing 9.4 million workers and generating $1.9 trillion in revenue, according to American Express research. Specifically, 13 percent of these firms are in the professional / scientific / technical services category, which includes horticulture.
While the number of women-owned firms continues to grow, they only employ 6 percent of the nation’s workforce and contribute just under 4 percent of business revenue—roughly the same share they contributed in 1997.
That’s why supporting women in business to enable them to grow their companies to the next level is crucial. Join Garden Media Group June 1-5 to support, honor and promote these amazing professionals and their achievements during Women in Horticulture Week.
Women play a crucial role in the horticulture industry—not only as entrepreneurs, growers, researchers, marketers and employees at all levels, but also as the largest consumers of home and garden products.
As a second-generation women-owned business, I am proud to celebrate inspirational, hardworking and dedicated women and spotlight their contributions to the horticulture industry with Women in Horticulture Week.
"With women making up the majority of gardening consumers, and the growing percentage and role women play as professionals in horticulture, we need to face—head-on—the incredibly lopsided power and leadership dynamics that currently exist in the industry,” adds Leslie Finical Halleck, Halleck Horticulture, LLC.
Here are some creative ways you can celebrate Women in Horticulture Week.
- Share exciting facts about women in business, including your own story, to inspire other women.
- Get involved with associations that promote horticulture careers for women. For instance, at Cultivate ’20 Virtual, AmericanHort will have a panel discussion with accomplished women in the industry on the importance of building a strong business network.
- Volunteer or become a mentor. If you’re a thriving female horticulture entrepreneur, consider giving back by either volunteering with organizations that support women or becoming a mentor. If you’ve never had a mentor, find one to connect with and learn from. Ask peers inside and outside the industry for suggestions.
- Join the industry group Women in Horticulture who provide free or low cost networking opportunities for those who identify as women in the horticulture world.
- Improve your skills. Whether it’s reading a motivational book written by a female entrepreneur or using a new organizational app, learning always leads to growth.
- Network with other women in horticulture. Even if you’re not attending events in person, you can invite female entrepreneurs to connect virtually via apps like Zoom.
- Change your frame on Facebook to support Women in Horticulture.
- Use the hashtag #womeninhort to share stories, photos and inspiration from women in horticulture on your social media channels.
- Tune in to “Grow! With Katie,” Dubow’s Facebook Live talk show. During Women in Horticulture Week, Dubow will interview some of the most influential women in the industry, including:
- Lisa Fiore, founder and CEO of Landscape Hub, a marketplace for landscape products and materials. Fiore was previously president of Fiore Nursey, where she flipped the business around and grew its profits exponentially.
- Marta Maria Garcia, marketing director of Nature’s Way Farms, a women-owned farm in South Florida. Garcia received Greenhouse Product News’ 40 Under 40 in 2017 for her work on developing innovative trade marketing programs and helping the company she worked for, Costa Farms, achieve sales goals and projected revenue.
- Leslie Halleck, Certified Professional Horticulturist, with 27 years of green industry experience. Halleck provides horticultural marketing and business consulting services and is the author of two gardening books.
- Jennifer Jewell, creator, writer and host of “Cultivating Place: Conversations on Natural History and the Human Impulse to Garden,” who writes, speaks and advocates for the importance of gardening.
- Terri McEnaney, president of Bailey Nurseries, who grew up around the business and worked at the nursery in high school. She says “working at a large multinational conglomerate has provided her with a great foundation for the business world that she has brought into the horticulture industry.”
- Heidi Mortensen, principal COO and co-founder of ShrubBucket, has spent 20 years in horticulture. Her team at ShrubBucket have revolutionized the way people find and buy plants.
- Sandra Reid, vice president of corporate communications and strategic plan administration at Davey Tree, which specializes in tree care and is one of the largest employee-owned companies in the country. Reid has been with Davey for 34-years.
- Sign up for the AmericanHort Women in Horticulture interview series. Next is Jennifer Moss. Past interviews have been with Susie Raker Zimmerman and Kathy Fediw.
“The role of women as business owners and leaders is significant in horticulture,” says Mary Beth Cowardin, vice president of marketing and member engagement for AmericanHort. “We will continue to help connect women in our industry to foster successful careers and life balance.”
Halleck agrees. “It is exceedingly important for women to capture more market voice and leadership roles within the industry, which I believe will not only make things better for women working in horticulture, but also help to better serve our consumers,” she says. “When we do both those things, the entire industry benefits and profits, and we all win."