Flexaust Co. Inc.
Title: Marketing manager
Susanna Vandenberg joined the hose industry in sales in 1998 with Hi-Tech Hose, now Hi-Tech Durante. She moved up to take over marketing, and stayed with the company until the end of 2006, and has been with Flexaust ever since.
Slowly she has seen more women in management positions. That has been aided by the author Sheryl Sandberg and the "Lean In" concept. "I think there is a huge movement with women being leaders," Vandenberg said. "You're seeing women who are CEOs of large corporations., and they're seeing that there does need to be a shift in how women are regarded in business. I would say our industry is certainly not there yet, but I think women are becoming more of a presence at NAHAD."
While she has never been put in a situation that made her uncomfortable, she said she has seen where men have the assumption that women don't really want to grow in their careers because of family obligations. "A male boss would never say that to a male subordinate," Vandenberg said. "That is where the gender difference has to be that everybody needs to be treated equally."
She said he has been treated equally in her career, but added that the expectation also is that women must be held accountable as well. "If you're going to be in a leadership role, you also need to be very careful that you are seeing yourself as an equal. We really can't have it both ways either," she said.