March marks Women’s History Month, a time to highlight and commemorate the contributions of women to history, culture, and society.
In this two-part story, come along as Modern Campground talks to women who have made a significant impact in the campground and RV industry.
Over the years, the RV industry has been considered a male-dominated field. However, as the sector evolves, more women are making a difference.
In an exclusive e-mail interview, Susan Carpenter, the president of the RV Women’s Alliance, shared her experiences in the RV industry and underscored women’s role in driving change.
Carpenter started her journey in the RV industry at a young age, working in a family-owned business for 28 years, where she held various roles and worked her way up to being the company’s president. Eventually, she moved to Elkhart, Indiana, to take on a new challenge as the head of the aftermarket division of B&B Molders, an injection molding company.
However, Carpenter’s passion for the industry led her to take on a new role as the president of the RV Women’s Alliance, an organization launched in 2019 to welcome and support women in the RV industry.
Over the years, Carpenter has seen significant changes in the RV industry’s opportunities for women.
“When I started in this industry, you could count on your hands how many women you came across. For anyone outside this industry, it was downright intimidating. For those of us who grew up in it, it was just what it was,” Carpenter told Modern Campground.
According to Carpenter, as the industry grew, she watched it evolve and see more women step into bigger roles. While the industry still has a long way to go, Carpenter can’t seem to be any more proud of its progress.
“We are still way below the national average of women in the workplace, but from my perspective, we have made progress. There are many opportunities out there as we continue this journey. We just have to be aware of how we recruit and champion the women already here,” she added.
Growth, Engagement, Inclusivity & Positivity
The RV Women’s Alliance is committed to driving change and ensuring greater representation and advancement for women in the RV industry. With the organization’s efforts and the industry’s continued evolution, the association ensures a future where women play an increasingly vital role in the RV industry.
According to its website, since its inception, the alliance has grown from 200 attendees at its kickoff event to more than 1,400 members participating in networking, education, community service, and career development activities worldwide.
The RV Women’s Alliance has made an impact by bringing together women in the industry and providing opportunities for networking, learning, and sharing experiences.
“We want women to see our industry as a place where they can not only start their careers but grow them as well. We want the women that are in this industry to be recognized for all that they do. The impact has been amazing. Women who are members are networking, learning, and sharing.” Carpenter said.
Despite significant progress in the RV industry’s opportunities for women, she believes that there is still work to be done to break down barriers to opportunities for women.
“We need to be seen as an industry that is not the old ‘male-dominated industry.’ As newer generations come in, they see things in a different way. We need to embrace that and change with it.”
Looking to the future, Susan sees an amazing time for women in the RV industry.
“I see women taking leadership roles more often in the future. I already see companies putting in the work to make this happen. Those companies will get the best candidates for the job because people will want to work there. If other companies don’t see the value, they will eventually see themselves on the outside looking in. Because change is happening all around us every day.”
Susan advises women just starting in the RV industry to stay true to themselves and to network, raise their hands, get involved and volunteer, find mentors, and be present.
“Don’t let others steal your voice,” she advises.
When asked how she sees the role of women in the RV industry changing in the future and what steps she thinks must be taken to ensure greater representation and advancement for women, Carpenter highlighted that it would not happen overnight.
The RV industry has come a long way in providing opportunities for women. Women like Susan Carpenter and the RV Women’s Alliance are driving change and ensuring that the industry is a place where women thrive.