A delegation from the recently formed Women Who Rock (WWR) group is heading to Spain on July 13, 2024, to explore the country, and more importantly, tour Cosentino Group’s processing plant and quarries in Almería. Stone World recently caught up with Jessica McNaughton, president of CaraGreen, and Meagan Heglund of Park Industries, co-chairs of WWR, to learn more details about the weeklong excursion.

SW: Tell us a little about Women Who Rock.

WWR: Women Who Rock is a female-led group that supports and promotes women in professional roles in the surface fabrication, machinery, tooling and stone supply industries. The group's goals include encouraging growth and development through engagement with members from different backgrounds and experiences. To be eligible for membership, women must be owners, co-owners, leaders or decision-makers, and they must believe in and support the group's purpose. WWR members participate in events and discussions that focus on learning, development and collaboration in the surfacing industry. Women Who Rock is focused on female leadership and decision making and using those skills to empower and elevate other women in the industry.


SW: How did this trip come about?

WWR: We believe that connections are key to successful groups, and events are a great way to enable networking. When Cosentino heard about the formation of the group, they offered to host us at their state-of-the-art facilities in Almeria, Spain, as their company has a strong position on female leadership. We will be touring their facilities, networking with some of their female executives and also having some fun in Spain!  We hope to establish trips abroad as an ongoing effort of Women Who Rock to build a global presence.


SW: What are some initiatives for the trip?

WWR: We are relatively new and as such we are hoping to establish our foundation on this trip. We have a solid group of female leaders, including CEOs, presidents and directors across the industry, and we hope this trip will help galvanize the mission and vision for the group through these shared experiences abroad. This group of women is the initial “Female First” leadership planned trip for WWR. 

We hope to secure Cosentino's ongoing support and build a relationship and learn from their exceptional female leadership. We hope to understand the balance between business and family, which affects many of our members, and surface fabricators in general.  We hope to use our time with Pilar Martinez Cosentino to hear about balancing compassion, progress, sustainability and innovation in the wake of new advancements and recent pivots in materials and strategies in the surfacing industry. Overall, we hope to emerge with a validation of our vision and direction for the group and solid industry relationships because of this trip. 


SW: As an organizer of the trip, what are you most excited for participants to experience?

WWR: We hope that the participants are able to experience open conversation, problem solving, listening and sharing. So many events are 'talk at me' events where your voice is not heard, and if you are timid or reserved, it is hard to extract what you need from an event if you are given no voice. Our goal is to have everyone feel heard and have a chance to build relationships that they can turn to after the trip and solve problems or get ideas from their new network. We also want everyone to have fun and see the industry as more than just work, but a balance that can be enjoyed while still learning and growing.


SW: What are some “takeaways” you hope they come home with?

WWR: We hope that attendees develop a deeper understanding of the vertical that is our industry. From a quarry to a kitchen to a landfill, there is a balance between surfacing and sustainability. Cosentino embodies that, and we want this group of women to see how innovation can occur while still considering the impacts long term.  

We want attendees to feel like they have an extended industry family now as a result of this trip. WWR is about building a network of women who can tap into each other to help elevate one another, in the U.S. and globally, which was a motivation for this initial trip to Spain with Cosentino.


SW: Is there anything else about WWR or the trip you’d like to share?

WWR: When we initially formed, there was a pushback as to why women needed their own, or "another" organization. We established this group because of the challenges women face in leadership and the skills they offer to run successful organizations or be successful themselves. We want to share our skills as female leaders to help move the industry forward through open discussion, events and education to elevate female leaders.