I am a leader in my industry. My industry is roofing.

Being a woman in the roofing profession is not easy. It takes effort and time to be respected in a male-dominated industry. I have had my share of strange looks, inappropriate comments, and negativity. But I am patient. Over the years, I have adopted five principles that helped me achieve success in the industry.

1. Remain consistent. Consistency will forge a path toward professionalism. A female in charge may stir reactions, but consistency makes it much easier for others to accept and respect a female leader.

2. Keep learning. Knowledgeable people want to teach. When you meet them, listen to them. Not only will you learn about your industry, you will also build trust, which in turn will build your business. Knowledge is power.

3. Empower others. Business is about people. When people feel empowered, they make better decisions and work harder. In turn, you will gain esteem by watching those you support thrive and grow. This is a win, win.

4. Be yourself. It can be easy to lose yourself as a woman in a man’s world. At times you will feel belittled, unvalued, and insecure. Just remember that you got where you are because you are strong and capable. The businesses and people who respect and support you are the ones who will assist your continued growth.

5. Make it happen. Stay positive and trust yourself. Surround yourself with positive people who will teach you and respect you. Remain accountable to yourself and your ethics. Accept shortcomings along with your successes. Excuses will hold you back.

Women may have been considered inferior in our society decades ago, but that is no longer true. We have shattered the glass ceiling. I am successful. I am a woman.

About Your Columnist

Christie Bravo is a featured columnist for Women Taking Charge, the official blog of Connected Women of Influence, where she covers the topic of women in leadership. Christie is director of operations and a third-generation successor at Bravo Roofing Inc., a commercial and industrial roofing company. With over 15 years of experience in small business, she has learned the importance of empowering others. She is currently enrolled in the organizational psychology program at Concordia University. Her passions include family, travel, and golf.

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