Built to Last: The Forces that Guide Women Manufacturing Leaders

By GAF Roof Views 03-29-2021
QUICK SHARE
Tag Icon

Beth McSorley, General Manager, Coatings Operations at GAF, and Katrina Baker, Plant Manager of GAF Tuscaloosa, share core personal values that have helped them drive results as women in manufacturing, and establish lasting relationships through their leadership.

"When I started at GAF 23 years ago, nobody handed me a playbook that said, 'here's what you need to do,' says Beth McSorley, General Manager, Coatings Operations. "And while some may think that's a bit harsh, it's what I needed. It was up to me to figure things out."

Over the course of her time at GAF, McSorley has held a variety of roles. She began working in Inside Sales, and then shifted to the technical side of the business working in Field Services inspecting single-ply roofs. Following her work in the field, she took on responsibilities in codes and testing, before transitioning to the operations side of the manufacturing business. Now, as the General Manager of Coatings Operations for GAF's Walpole, Phoenix, Gum Springs, and Charleston plants, she reflects on her professional growth. "Over the years, I've learned that we're a dynamic company with dynamic people that solve dynamic problems. And that figuring things out—while challenging—is an opportunity that helps us progress."

The Importance of Values

In today's world—with shifts in the market, customer and client needs becoming more diverse and complex, and technology advancing—charting our own path is a real challenge. To push the industry forward, it helps to learn from each other about what keeps us grounded, empowered, and successful in driving results. For leaders Beth McSorley and Katrina Baker, it comes down to core personal values.

"I operate from 10 personal values," says Baker, Plant Manager of GAF Tuscaloosa, "but there are two that frequently come to mind: do no harm, and right things for the right reasons." Baker learned the value of 'do no harm,' a commonly taught principle in the world of healthcare, when she was the primary caregiver of her mother for ten years. Baker applies this value in all aspects of her work and personal life and even used it as a guiding force when defining the priorities for GAF's Tuscaloosa plant.

"When I began at the Tuscaloosa plant, I spent a lot of time observing the plant, speaking with team members, and taking detailed notes," says Baker. This allowed her to align the team on three key priorities:

  1. Safety (people, then equipment)
  2. Quality (of product and workmanship)
  3. Productivity (the rate of our output)

Katrina learning on site

Inside the home, Baker frequently uses the phrase 'right things for the right reasons'—words her daughters know far too well. To Baker and her family, this means acting in a way that you can be proud of and having the self-awareness to think through how your actions might affect others. "It all comes down to respecting people," Baker says in speaking about her two core values. When applying these core values to her work in the Tuscaloosa plant, it means fostering a community where everyone is respected."

Advice for Future Leaders

In describing her experiences managing our Coatings plants, McSorley shares the importance of respect and other forces that guide her.

"It's so important to stop and say hello to everyone. It's a small gesture that takes work, but it's necessary if you really respect and value people." McSorley has worked hard to be as approachable as possible over the years and aspires to be someone who can have a conversation with anyone. When asked what advice she would give to emerging leaders in manufacturing, she shares the importance of being authentic to yourself through a football analogy.

"After seeing his success, many NFL coaches tried to mimic Bill Belichick," she says. "At the end of the day, they failed because there's only one Bill Belichick. I'm not Bill Belichick. But I'm Beth, and that's the best thing you can be—yourself."

Beth fishing

The personal values we hold make us who we are, whether we strive to do no harm, remember right things for the right reasons, establish respect or act with authenticity. Values can provide a sense of direction, guide our decision-making, and help us stand out.

To learn more about how you can apply your personal values to career opportunities at GAF, visit www.gaf.com/careers.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
More homes and businesses in the U.S. are protected by a GAF roof than by any other product. We are the leading roofing manufacturer in North America, with plants strategically located across the U.S. As a Standard Industries company, GAF is part of the largest roofing and waterproofing business in the world.
Don't miss another GAF RoofViews post!
LATEST UPDATES
By the time a potential customer reaches out to you, they've likely already researched several roofing contractors. Your business faces competition right from the start—how do you edge out multiple competitors and close the sale? In many cases, these efforts hinge on a fast response to lead management.
When a building owner asks you if they need a commercial roof repair or replacement, your assessment of the roof's condition hinges on a few key areas. Veteran commercial roofing experts Dave Scott and Wally Brown share their roof inspection expertise in GAF's Roofing It Right with Dave and Wally: Roof Project from Start to Finish video series to help you assess the condition of critical areas on the roof.
Good employees are key to building a successful contracting business—but recruitment and retention don't happen all on their own. Employee rewards and recognition programs can help you foster workplace loyalty and strengthen employee retention, and there are many ways to reward your staff and crew for the work they do every day.
Shown here: The This Old House 2020 Cottage on the Cape Idea House features GAF Timberline® AH Shingles in Appalachian Sky which feature a blend of deep grays and browns for added dimensionality. Photo by Jared Kuzia.
The polyiso insulation you choose for your commercial roofing project can make a big difference in terms of durability and performance of your roofing system. But with so many options on the market, it can be easy to get lost in the details and risk choosing the wrong material for your project.
Beth McSorley, General Manager, Coatings Operations at GAF, and Katrina Baker, Plant Manager of GAF Tuscaloosa, share core personal values that have helped them drive results as women in manufacturing, and establish lasting relationships through their leadership.
This blog contains information created by a variety of sources, including internal and third party writers. The opinions and views expressed do not necessarily represent those of GAF. The content is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute financial, accounting, tax or legal advice. GAF does not guarantee the accuracy, reliability, and completeness of the information. In no event shall GAF be held responsible or liable for errors or omissions in the content or for the results, damages or losses caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on the content.

Interested in sharing or republishing our content? We kindly ask you to adhere to our guidelines.