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Infl uential industry women | FOCUS Parv Sangera, MD, The Bathroom Showroom, Travis Perkins Q & A


Q: What has been your experience as a woman in the KBB industry? A: I have had a positive experience on both the kitchen and bathroom sides, working with Benchmarx and The Bathroom Showroom. I have had some great managers and mentors and I’m fortunate to work for a business that has been supportive of me as a person and as an employee. However, I know the experience isn’t always the same for women across this industry.


Q: What have you done to help The Bathroom Showroom trade through a challenging period? A: Our focus has always been on supporting customers,


our colleagues and and through the


pandemic The Bathroom Showroom had to adapt quickly to offer support in new ways.


For our trade customers, we focused on making it as easy as possible for customers to continue to do business with us, so we embraced new technology to offer virtual appointments. We enhanced our proposition to ensure that they could interact with us safely in our stores. For our colleagues, we focused on helping them manage their work/life balance as well as the stresses caused by the pandemic. A lot of good has come out of a bad situation.


Q: Do you feel women are under- represented in the KBB industry? A: In The Bathroom Showroom, no. We have an almost exact 50:50 split. But


across the wider


recognise that women are under- represented and many of the typical operations across the sector are anchored in an old approach. I think the reason is


that this


industry hasn’t historically been attractive to women – there haven’t been policies in place to support women nor enough role models to demonstrate what is achievable. We have a responsibility to make it


more attractive for women to join our industry, and when they become part of it, for them to feel supported. We need to get to a point with equal representation at all levels.


Q: You are leading the diversity and inclusion workstream within the Plumbing and Heating division of Travis Perkins. What are you hoping to achieve? A: Being a diverse business is about refl ecting the communities we work in. We have started building a culture where all individuals feel supported. Diversity is about accepting and embracing different beliefs, backgrounds, and cultures. It’s fantastic that Dave Evans, the managing director of the Plumbing and Heating businesses, is pushing this forward. Our goal is to ensure diversity and inclusion are at the heart of everything we do.


Q: How do you think the KBB industry would benefi t from having more women in a variety of roles? A: Numerous studies show that when women are included at all levels within a business, there is greater


innovation, sector, I increased


collaboration, increased empathy and a positive impact on fi nancial


We have a long way to go before we are truly diverse and inclusive, but I can see that things are changing


performance. With greater diversity comes better understanding of the insights needed to support customers, colleagues and communities. And the more women and role models we have, the more this can inspire more women to join.


Q: What do you think is the future of the KBB industry when it comes to diversity? A: I like to think the future is positive. We have a long way to go before we are truly diverse and inclusive, but I can see that things are changing.


Ros Wilson, kbbreview Retail & Design Awards judge and founder of Roselind Wilson Design, London


ow would I sum up my experience as a woman in the KBB industry? I’d say that I’m acutely aware of being a woman within a male dominated industry but have never felt intimidated by this or my place within the industry. I view success and achievement as something to strive for and achieve independent of sexual orientation. I’d say that women are still marginally underrepresented in areas of the KBB industry. Part of that is because women default to being second best or accepting of the lesser roles in leadership in the industry. I feel there is a stigma attached to men dominating technical roles which means women appear more on the decorative or administration side of the industry. However, I really feel this is changing and we are seeing some strong leaders step into the light


H March 2021 ·


industries which have seen women rise within the ranks of their sector and achieve accolades which has led to a spill over in all aspects of equality. A mindset of equality is becoming very much accepted. Equality in gender discrimination sets better standards and provides good role models for the current and next generations. Being open to equality provides an expansion in the development of the design industry. The differing manners in which men and women approach


design means that through an equal


strategic direction, more is possible. More ideas, more solutions.


Equality in gender discrimination sets better standards and provides good role models for the current and next


There have been a number of generations of designers


Universally it feels like there is a gender revolution happening. This, and all industries, will see change but,


it will be quite


interesting to see how quickly as traditionalism can resist change and we need to universally have a mindset change of stereotyping traditional job roles.


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