‘Grow Fully, Lead Fully’: PCA Event Seeks to Empower Women Working in the Paint Industry

Being a woman in a male-dominated trade presents unique challenges and opportunities. During the first-ever Women in Paint Conference held last November, the Painting Contractors Association (PCA) invited female paint pros and industry leaders to the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center for a two-day event designed to cultivate growth and leadership skills that will propel them to new heights.

“The idea for WIP came from a group of us casually connecting and suggesting we needed a group for women in the industry,” says Maggie Kuyper, CEO and owner of Harpeth Painting LLC in Nashville. “It caught on like wildfire and PCA was eager to organize and host an event for us.”

Kuyper was picked to lead the two-day conference along with Corrie Leister, owner of Inspired By U, a residential repaint and cabinet refinishing company in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.

“When Maggie contacted me about helping to raise up women in the industry, I was instantly drawn in,” Leister says. “Her mission and vision to pour into women is something to be admired and I was happy to help in any way possible.”

Just 13.8 percent of professional painting contractors are women. But that number is growing every year – up from just under 9 percent in 2015.*

Hosted in partnership with Sherwin-Williams and other industry leaders, the conference featured a wealth of knowledge and practical strategies as industry leaders like Gina Koert, Annie Newton and Tara Riley shared invaluable insights on navigating a male-dominated trade. Chad Hymas, who the Wall Street Journal called “one of the 10 most inspirational people in the world,” was the keynote speaker.

“Our focus was to empower women to be the strongest they can be professionally and personally,” Kuyper says. “We felt that how we grow professionally directly aligns with how we grow personally, and we mirrored that in all our content.”

Creating connections with other women was another goal, Leister adds.

“The connections you make at events like the Women in Paint Conference are invaluable,” she says. “To rub shoulders with women all across the nation who are like- minded and forward-focused is worth the price of admission in itself. But, on top of that, the event was so well-rounded to help us grow in every aspect from mental health to job costing.”

When all was said and done, it looked like the success of the first Women in Paint Conference will merit a repeat performance.

“PCA and our industry partners are committed to another event for 2024,” Kuyper says. “We have not set information yet, but the ideas are brewing.”

Visit pcapainted.com for more information on the WIP and other PCA educational events and opportunities.


*From painting demographics research statistics compiled by Zippia, a recruitment services company. Zippia estimates painter demographics and statistics in the U.S. by using a database of 30 million profiles; painter estimates are verified against BLS, Census, and current job openings data for accuracy.

This article was originally published in the Spring 2024 issue of PPC magazine. ©2024 Fusable. Story by Mike Starling, PPC Editor. Photos courtesy PCA. Read more stories about running your painting business in the PPC magazine archive.