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Women in Fencing

As seen in Fence News January 2022 Issue

Women in Fencing

While traditionally a male-dominated industry, the fields of fencing, gate operator and access control are seeing women take the lead. Many women bring a fresh perspective to the table, as well as new ideas and opportunities.

This January issue of Fence News kicks off a semiannual look at women in the fencing industry. We look at the accomplishments made by these women and share their stories of success and perseverance.

Click here to view pdf of January issue >

Meredith Ritz Shay CEO, InCord

Before Meredith Ritz Shay turned 30, she became CEO of InCord, the largest manufacturer of safety netting in North America and created NetPlay USA, a joint venture with InCord’s primary supplier in Germany.

Shay’s father, Ed Ritz, founded InCord when she was in kindergarten, and although she spent many summers and afternoons after school working in the office and on the production floor, she says it was never her plan to join the company. “I thought I’d be working internationally in business and prepared for that by pursuing a double major in both international business and Spanish.” But after graduating from college in 2011, she applied for and accepted an entry level position as a Project Manager at InCord. “That’s when I fell in love with the job and the company,” she says.

Over the past 10 years, Shay worked her way up the management track with InCord, constantly learning and refining her leadership style. “We operate by servant leadership here and I really enjoy helping employees use their skills to elevate themselves,” she explains. “Treating employees right, supporting their goals, caring about their personal life, benefits them and our company.”

As a woman in an industrial leadership role, Shay says she has never really felt a lack of support. “However, I always felt like I needed to over-compensate in my achievements to merit equitable pay. I also felt considerable personal guilt while trying to balance my family and career, but thankfully, other women in the industry gave me guidance in this area. I certainly try to do the same. I’ve learned that being 100% present is paramount. When I’m at work, I am only focused on work, and when I am home, my husband and children have my undivided attention. I’m lucky to have a family that supports my career and work for a company that supports my family – which makes it easier to find that balance.”

Shay feels there is a huge benefit to balancing the masculine and feminine in the workplace. “It’s not necessarily gender, but there are general traits associated with masculinity and femininity required in equal amounts to make the best decisions. For example, masculine associated traits of confidence, responsibility, courage, discipline, assertiveness, protection and giving are needed in equal parts with feminine associated traits of intuitiveness, receptiveness, stillness, sensitivity, emotion, collaboration, and nurture. So many manufacturing businesses have a need for more of the feminine qualities to balance out decision making at all levels, and this is a huge area for more feminine people to feel empowered to play a role in the industry and in advancing their careers.”

Shay says she is most proud of the community within her company. “There are so many ways we care for each other, in our jobs as well as life in general. Work is a privilege, especially getting to work with my coworkers, our suppliers, and our customers. I’ve met so many people who are inspiring and doing such great things in the world, all because of my job!”

Looking ahead, Shay feels very optimistic. “I am most excited for the new technologies, materials and opportunities to make our products more sustainable and the world a safer and more beautiful place.”

About InCord
InCord manufactures custom safety netting solutions and lifting and rigging products for a range of industries. Our woman-owned Colchester, CT manufacturing plant is an ISO-9001 certified facility, housing a team ready to design and fabricate a unique netting solution to fit your needs. InCord was founded in 1995 and is a Connecticut Top Workplace. To discuss an application, request a quote, or obtain technical guidance, please call us at (860) 537-1414, submit a request here, or email us at netting@incord.com.

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