July 12, 2017
By Tom Davidson
Mona Griswold is the Olympic Region Manager for the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. She earned a BA in Botany from Drew University, a MS in Forestry from Duke University, and a MBA from James Madison University. Prior to her current role, Mona had over 30 years of experience in the forestry products industry in the southeastern United States with roles in procurement, forest operations, strategic planning, business analysis, landowner assistance, and certification management, to name a few. She has also been a state leader of multiple forestry and stewardship organizations including state forestry associations and the American Tree Farm System. In this episode, Mona talks about her very challenging experiences as a woman in the forestry profession and her having to deal repeatedly with sexism, discrimination and hostile environments. Much happier in her new organization, Mona speaks out strongly that minorities’ rights are still at risk in this sector and encourages everyone to stand up and fight for fair treatment.
[:45] A quick intro about Mona’s background.
[2:45] How did Mona get started in forestry?
[5:05] What was Mona’s first field job?
[8:15] What has Mona’s experience been like so far as a woman in a very male-dominated field?
[10:15] Mona’s supervisor was blatantly against women in forestry; however, she stuck it out!
[14:00] When a senior manager retired, he told everyone, “Women should not be foresters; they should be kept barefoot and pregnant.” He was dead serious.
[14:55] However, some men changed their thinking in her time. One of her anti-women chip suppliers later became one of Mona’s mentors.
[16:20] Contractors, especially minorities, were more accepting of Mona than her managers and peers.
[17:40] What kind of lessons did Mona learn about being discriminated against?
[19:55] Unfortunately, Mona felt like she didn’t have any support, anywhere!
[20:25] Mona discusses the most shocking thing that has happened to her in her career, which was just a few years ago!
[23:40] Mona offers words of advice to those who are facing discrimination right now.
[25:10] Support the women you work with. Put your differences aside and band together.
[28:45] For a lot of organizations, “diversity is dead.”
[32:35] What kind of lessons has Mona learned about leadership?
[37:45] Tom’s Leadership Tip of the Week!
Mentioned in This Episode:
Mona on LinkedIn
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey
Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, by Daniel Goleman