Men Can Join “Women In Parking,’ Too

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Men Can Join “Women In Parking,’ Too

 It does not get more obvious than the headline above. 
Regardless of the number of publications and conversations that address the question of whether men are allowed to join an organization such as Women In Parking (WIP), there can never be enough opportunities to give a resounding “yes!”. 
Women In Parking is an organization dedicated to the advancement and achievement of professional women through networking, leadership, and career outreach opportunities, but with a fundamental goal of promoting diversity within the parking industry. It always advocates for the active voice and participation from male colleagues in supporting the mission of WIP.
Inviting male parking professionals to participate in an association dedicated to promoting the advancement and achievement of professional women might seem unclear. To address this assumption, though, the true question begs to ask why is it that a growing number of top male leaders in the parking industry are actively supporting the organization’s movement and mission? There lies a valid explanation for this movement that some doubters may not be seeing.
To avoid a biased response from a female WIP member’s perspective, the smart reader would probably much rather hear from the opposite sex’s perspective and their personal experiences with being a part of WIP’s growth. 
First, it’s interesting to note that WIP was founded by an instrumental male figure in the parking industry. John Van Horn, the Founder, Publisher and Editor of Parking Today magazine, was motivated to start the organization as an avenue for female professionals to realize their full potential in the industry. 
In an industry where females make up only roughly 15% of the workforce, it is not surprising that women face challenges in competing to climb the corporate ladder in an outnumbered community. However, it also can be contended that despite the limited female population in the industry, there is a wealth of examples where female professionals have brought tremendous value to parking and have even reached levels to executive decision-making or started their own companies.
For the very reasons of having successful and outstanding leaders represent the association, WIP has attracted interest from a variety of supporters. Many companies and organizations are endorsing their staff (both men and women) to join WIP to influence and lead change in the industry. 
One of WIP’s biggest supporters and board members, Alan Lazowski of Laz Parking, has exemplified this commitment to the extent where his nationwide organization has offered its employees the opportunity to participate on a national accord. Other organizations have followed suit. 
I asked the President of my company for his reasoning in encouraging staff members such as myself to participate in WIP. 
“A component of being a responsible employer in any industry is to promote diversity in the workforce,” John MacDonald, President of Scheidt & Bachmann U.S.A., told me. “Over my last 12 years in our industry, I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with extremely talented, intelligent female parking professionals. When I learned about WIP, the decision to support and join this organization was a simple one for S&B U.S.A. Our membership in this organization ties directly to our core corporate values of promoting diversity in the workplace.” 
Regardless of whether participants are male or female, the benefits of WIP to its members are gender neutral. WIP is not only the socially correct thing to do; it has the potential to develop meaningful business opportunities as well. On numerous occasions, members have been a part of new business being generated through WIP networking events. There are many examples where male input is greatly valued in WIP. 
“Organizations that exist to support one thing or another need to have all the stakeholders involved,” said Van Horn. “For women to succeed in any industry, men need to be involved in the process, and for many stereotypes to be changed, those who helped make them need to be involved in the process. Those are mostly men.” 
Truth be told, not enough men participate in the organization. The best way to get involved in WIP is by first listening and then taking action. 
“I encourage more men to join [WIP] and attend the WIP Conference, because the workplace is not made up of just one gender and we all need to be better informed,” said Chris Gross, National Sales Manager of Toledo Ticket Co.
“Also, having more men join will help keep a healthy balance of views that will benefit everyone.” 
The future of WIP continues to be an uphill climb as a start-up organization. Van Horn said, though, that “as more and more men and women become involved, WIP will grow and prosper. As WIP continues to grow in the coming years, it very well may overtake many of the major trade shows as a crucial organization in the industry.” 
For those in the industry who ask the question about including men in WIP only proves that there must be a level of interest to contribute in the organization. The parking industry puts much focus on paving the way to the future, and the hope is that one day, our future generations will have equal opportunities to pass on the torch and keep the legacy of the parking industry sustainable and successful.
Tiffany Yu, Marketing Specialist at Scheidt & Bachmann U.S.A., serves as Secretary on the Women In Parking Leadership Board. Contact her at yu.tiffany@scheidt-bachmann-usa.com.
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Tiffany Yu
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