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October’s Equip Exposition plans event for women to connect and network with one another

Inaugural Women's Leadership Reception scheduled for Oct. 19

July 24, 2023  By Turf & Rec

It is estimated that about 20 per cent of those who attend Equip Exposition each year in Louisville, Ky., among the more than 25,000 delegates or exhibitors, are women. A new event is being introduced this fall at Expo – the inaugural Women’s Leadership Reception – which will help them connect and build their industry network.

The reception is sponsored by SiteOne and Belgard, and will be held Thursday, Oct. 19, from 5-6 p.m. at the Kentucky Exposition Center (KEC).

“Women are a key demographic in the landscape contracting and outdoor power equipment industries,” Kris Kiser, president and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), which owns Equip Exposition, said. “It made sense to create programming that serves them.”

Whether registered as exhibitors, landscape contractors, distributors, or dealers, all women attendees may participate in the reception. Attendees must RSVP to attend when they register. After the reception, shuttle transportation will be provided from the KEC to the KFC Yum! Center for the concerts by Third Eye Blind and Dylan Scott that evening.


“SiteOne is excited to support the inaugural Equip/OPEI 2023 Women’s Leadership Reception,” Christina Moore, director, events at SiteOne Landscape Supply, said. “By partnering with OPEI, we hope to continue advocating for female growth within the industry and encourage Equip and HNA attendees to take advantage of SiteOne career growth tools like our annual WIGI Conference and Women in the Green Growing community groups. We look forward to connecting with this year’s attendees and helping one another.”

Jenny Nail, chief revenue officer, Oldcastle APG, adds, “The Belgard team is thrilled to be a sponsor of the inaugural Women’s Leadership Reception at Hardscape North America. Events like this are important for supporting female colleagues and peers in the outdoor building products industry while encouraging more women to enter this exciting, challenging and diverse field. We are proud to be involved in this event and we look forward to engaging with attendees.”


Equip Expo has learned there is tremendous interest in bringing together women leaders across the green industry.

“I have seen firsthand how promoting and championing a diverse workforce benefits our business,” Kariné Stuimer, senior vice-president at BrightView Landscape Services, Inc., said. “EXPO is a unique opportunity to network with and learn from leaders and experts from all facets of the green industry, and it’s inspiring to see an intentional focus on attracting, connecting, and developing women in our industry. BrightView is honoured to be part of an event that attracts such a diverse group of industry professionals.”

For many women, attending Equip Exposition is about seeing the latest equipment and innovations in the field, while also connecting with peers.

“As a woman in a leadership role in what has always been considered a man’s industry, I am increasingly proud to attend events like EXPO and gain strength, knowledge and encouragement from fellow female attendees,” Donna Vignocchi Zych, president of ILT Vignocchi, said.

She adds, “As someone who does not profess to be a feminist, I will say that we do have different issues than our male counterparts. Being able to network and find support on such a large scale is vital to encouraging women to continue to see the green industry not only a viable place for a career, but a prosperous one.”

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