7 Minute Read
It’s not just a man’s world anymore. The multi-billion-dollar landscape industry has seen an encouraging increase in women entering the field, and not just in administrative assistant positions. But is the Green Industry really a career worth exploring for women?
The landscaping industry offers a myriad of career options. From in-the-field work to leadership positions, to landscape design, there are a variety of avenues to explore. Branch Manager Alicia Abell at Monarch Landscape Management comments, “The Green Industry is so unknown to many, there is so much to do in the industry. It’s really vast and there are so many paths to go down that people might not know about. It is worth it to learn what the opportunities might hold.”
Let’s explore the opportunities for women in the Green Industry and take a look at two women paving the way for others at Monarch Landscape Management.
Any position in any area of the company is open to women at Monarch. “We have always hired the best candidate for the job and on many occasions, that hire has been female,” says Abell. She adds, “Our [Monarch Landscape Management] values are based upon things like innovation and integrity, these values are not gender specific.”
Women’s roles are not limited to office work or planting flowers, though if that is what you would like to do, those positions are available too. As Abell says, “You can be an arborist and care for trees. You can be in the people business, managing and helping others grow, providing greater opportunities for them. You can learn irrigation and become a licensed technician. The opportunities are endless.” Let’s explore the career opportunities available to everyone at Monarch.
Each of the in-the-field divisions of Monarch, landscape management, irrigation, and landscape enhancements, have women involved in them. If you do not have experience, Monarch provides extensive training to each member of their team. “Additional training can come in the form of college degrees, but there are certifications and licenses you can obtain without attending a college program that are equally as good and important. These build credibility and knowledge in the industry and allow you to grow,” says Abell.
Each service area provides a unique opportunity when working in the field to learn new skills and utilize your gifts. Working hands-on outdoors has so many benefits. Enhancement Manager, Cristal Lozano, says “Because we work outside we get to breathe a little more, it can still be stressful, but the people we work with and being outside make it great. We work next to each other and feed off each other.”
Within the maintenance division, work can vary from lawn maintenance to fertilization to horticulture. The irrigation department requires attention to detail and a knack for handling both technology and mechanics well. Monarch’s landscape enhancement team redesigns and updates existing landscapes by planting flowers, adding new landscape beds, and more.
With several divisions and branches, there are a variety of office positions available at Monarch Landscape Management as well. Abell states “We have a great office team. It includes Human Resources, Payroll, Administrative, and Design Roles. Our Business Development team works on selling new contracts so they are in the office part-time as well.”
Monarch offers several different leadership roles. Growing and learning new aspects of the Green Industry is a cornerstone at Monarch. Lozano says “Here at Monarch, we have room for growth. We are big on education and learning and growing. The leaders want us to not just be in one place, they encourage us to grow.” Some opportunities for leadership are:
Just as in any other position at Monarch, extensive training opportunities are available for leadership roles as well. Abell comments, “We’ve developed several training programs. First, crew leader training programs where we discuss different topics to help people continue growing. Second, Monarch University helps develop and train people on all aspects of the business. It helps them to learn about potential positions. The training and learning could be their growth or maybe it is growing into a new position.”
“I used to work for a judge and decided I wanted to move to Houston. I saw a job opening at a landscape company and was hired as a receptionist, and that was twenty years ago,” laughs Cristal Lozano.
The move to the Green Industry was a big one, but it was all worth it. “I first started at Monarch as an associate account manager, helping the account manager with paperwork, phone calls, and proposals. Then I became an account manager, and now, as of two years ago I am the enhancement manager for both of the branches at Monarch,” says Lozano, “I am a great example of how there is room for growth for women in the Green Industry and at Monarch. I started off just driving around with an account manager and I worked my way up to where I am now!”
Lozano’s management role includes scheduling work to be completed, procuring materials for the project installations, leading the crews, setting up at the job site, and following up with the production managers. She also invoices and inputs payroll for her team.
Though making a career change may seem scary, Lozano encourages other women to just go for it, “It’s a great community and it has grown a lot for women even in the last few years. I have been in a leadership-type role for the last ten years and we have come a long way. Networking is a woman’s best friend in this industry. There are so many other women out there who can help.”
Just as with any career for women, working in the landscaping industry comes with its challenges. “It can be hard sometimes to get respect from the guys, especially since I am a Latina woman. Most women in my culture stay home. But me, being in the Green Industry, I can show them that I can do the work. Once they know I can do the work, they aren’t looking over my shoulder with everything I am doing,” mentions Lozano.
Even though earning that initial respect can be tough, Lozano says the people she works with are what she likes most about the job. “I am challenged by my team and my branch manager to learn and grow. I get a chance to be not just behind a desk and be out in the field.”
When asked how she envisions the future for women in the Green Industry, Lozano says,” I would love to work alongside the men in the industry without having to prove our every move or decision. You know how they say two heads are better than one? It’s not always just best for two women or two men to work together, if we combined our ideas, we could rule the world!”
“Growing up, my family always had an interest in the Green Industry. My first job was actually in a garden center, and I fell in love with it. I realized there is so much to learn and felt if I kept moving forward, I could really grow as a person. I knew it was something I was passionate about and a career I could lean on for a lifetime,” says Branch Manager Alicia Abell when asked how she got involved in the Green Industry.
Abell’s role as manager of the North Branch of Monarch Landscape Management is an important one. She oversees all aspects of the business at the North Branch, including customer retention, employee retention, financials, and overall growth. After working for a different landscaping company, Abell transferred over to Monarch about 11 years ago and has transitioned from account manager to branch manager.
Throughout her career Abell has learned a lot, “I think it is about people skills and relationships. Building trust, it takes time. You have to stick with it and show the value you bring all while also respecting the value and experience others bring. Even if you are in a leadership position, it’s better to approach situations as equals.”
She echoes Lozano, agreeing that some cultures have different opinions of women working and it can be difficult to build respect in those situations. Alicia also adds, “It can sometimes be difficult for males to follow a female leader because in their past there haven’t been many. They may feel, as a woman, I don’t really know the ins and outs and find it hard to believe that I know what I am doing; just because they have never seen a woman in the Green Industry.” However, times are indeed changing, “I have been in the industry for 20 years I have seen only more and more women coming into the landscaping field, and I really think it is just going to continue,” says Abell.
While being a woman in the Green Industry has its challenges, Abell loves her job and states “I like the sense of helping communities improve and giving people a place of beauty outside. I love to see people connecting and growing to achieve their career goals as well.”
While the Green Industry may not be the first career path women consider, there is no doubt, it should be near the top of the list. A job in the landscaping field can be entirely what you craft it to be. Women can get creative and design. Women can get their hands dirty and work in the field on a landscaping crew. Women can build relationships and manage the Human Resources department. Women can build up others and lead through countless leadership roles.
The truth about the Green Industry for women? Its’ opportunities and room for both personal and career growth are endless.
Want to learn more about the careers available at Monarch Landscape Management? Check out our careers page and apply now!
Written By: Monarch Landscape Management