Cassie Pound is the co-owner of Quality Heating, Cooling and Plumbing in the Tulsa, Ok., area.
She and her husband founded the business in 2014, driven to build a company where they would want to work. As she guided her company, she attended conferences and events – with panels that comprised only men.
At one event, she saw a panel of 21 men and no women. She, and her friends, started asking: Where are the women? The explanation she heard from one man: Maybe there are no women in our space that have the same business acumen as these men.
“So we said, ‘Game on,’” Pound said. “We’ll go find the women, and we’ll show them to you.”
That led to the podcast Power Women of the Trades, founded and hosted by Pound and Leslie Harpole, co-owner of Champion Plumbing in Oklahoma City.
The pair’s goal is to not merely to celebrate women in the trades, but to provide a safe space for women to share their stories, struggles and successes. That, in turn, would help other women, and show the important role women fill in the trades.
A foundational first episode
Power Women of the Trades was announced in December of 2022, and its first episode in February of 2023 laid the foundation for why stories of women in the trades matter. The first guest: Nicole Bass, president of Service Professionals and JointheTrades.com, who spoke on why the trades make sense for women.
The weekly podcast is available through all typical outlets, including Apple and YouTube, and through mid-June had 21 episodes. Topics include “From Teacher to HVAC Boss: Stephanie Postell’s Empowering Journey,” Danielle Putnam of The New Flat Rate providing insights on growth with price transparency and Michelle Myers on overcoming adversity and perfectionism, a discussion that had all involved shedding tears.
All 31 reviews on Apple are five stars, with comments calling the podcast “valuable and inspirational” and another from a woman whose career has been in the trades offering this: “Hearing this podcast and celebration of a powerful, intelligent industry fills both my mind and heart.”
“This is our experience, our story and our journey,” Harpole said.
No punches are pulled. There is an emphasis on sharing real struggles, challenges, solutions and successes. There is zero fear of expressing vulnerability, past or present, by either the hosts and the guests.
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From deep freeze to fiery conversation
The podcast itself was born out of struggle. A deep freeze in the state of Oklahoma in late 2020 led both Pound and Harpole to face the difficulty of trying to help customers when their businesses were struggling in the days of the fractured supply chain.
“The blizzard was unprecedented,” Harpole said. “The infrastructure could not tolerate the weather. There was nothing we could do to prepare for that. We just forgot the business and tried to help people, all while our own team was freezing and going under houses with a foot of ice.”
The two talked through how difficult the situation was, with their first six months of contact via social media. The friendship grew, with both realizing they had an important voice and perspectives to share.
Now, they bring that vulnerability and honesty to the podcast. Consider that often in the trades, solutions are found in numbers like KPIs or other measurements. Those matter, but Pound and Harpole said they feel it’s just as important to understand there are human beings dealing with the metrics, and many of them are successful women.
“We know that there's women that are doing big business in our space,” Pound said. “Mary Jean Anderson (of Anderson Plumbing, Heating & Air in San Diego and the subject of a March 8 podcast) is doing $60 million this year. We were talking to people doing $30 million, doing $50 million.
“But just because they're not on social media running their mouth, they just don't ‘exist.’ Leslie and I set out to go find them, and that’s what we’ve done.”
A podcast team of power women
Power Women of the Trades has a Facebook page, a producer, a social media manager and a branding effort – and everyone on the team is a woman. The more they delve into individual stories, the more they see the shared experiences of so many women in the trades.
“We're seeing from the business side how the female perspective is so crucial in creating the business and the brand and the model, because 70% of the people that call in are females,” Harpole said. “So why wouldn't you want that information in your business? When you look at it holistically, it only makes sense.”
When the pair were starting the podcast, potential sponsors asked how many listeners they expected. The only promise Pound made was their husbands would listen.
“And then we were at 1,000 downloads and then we were on the top 5% of the podcasts,” Pound said. “We were like, what in the world is happening?”
“Being able to have these honest conversations on a platform,” Harpole said, “can be really encouraging.”
The result meets that goal: a groundbreaking podcast to celebrate and empower women in the trades and ignite a sense of possibility. Pound and Harpole said they want to fuel ambition, foster connections, and leave every listener inspired.
“We want to make sure that what we're sharing is relatable and that we're raw and real, and we're just leaving it all on the table,” Harpole said. “If we can help one person listening who's going through a trial that we've already experienced, then that's worth it.”