All the Shingle Ladies: The Advocate at Women Build

On the sixth day of Women Build 2018, a post had to come down.

To put up the sheathing for the front of the attic, a beam had to be raised as support while the boards were nailed down. The post holding it up had to be removed after everything was in place. Running up to the top of the house, the post was tall, heavy, and fastened by screws and nails.

It took a crew of five or six women to bring it down, but after a few minutes of hard work–and, more importantly, team work–they did it.

“Taking that post down, it took a couple of us gals to do it,” said Abbey Brennan of the Women Build team All the Shingle Ladies. “We accomplished it. It was satisfying that we got something accomplished with all this team work. I thought we might need a little bit of manpower, but we don’t. We’re getting it done. We don’t need a man.”

All the Shingle Ladies is the New Orleans Advocate’s Women Build team. This year, they came on board with the build as major sponsors, providing not just fundraising support but also advertising space. The sales and marketing team made up most of the Beyonce-inspired team.

“We actually have mostly women on our sales and marketing and digital side of the New Orleans office, so it just seemed like a good fit,” said Lauren Ruello, the team leader. “Women empowering women.”

Bringing the team out together allowed the women of the Advocate offices to come together in a new different way.

“You get to see what people are made of, and there’s a lot of laughter involved in the process, too,” said Lauren. “We’re all learning new things.”

“I think it’s a great opportunity to have a team building day and do something that’s fun,” said Yvette Dellucky. “We get to give back to the community outside of the work place.”

The team-building let them work together in new ways on problems unique to the build site.

“Right now, we’re figuring out a siding problem, where two lines are lining up at the same point,” said Veronica Bird. “I feel like if it were men, they would get angrier quicker, where we’re just solving the problem. I think that’s a big skill of women in general. I like when you can get in a flow, and you get your assembly line going. You got your system down and one thing after the other going. You can start to see progress happening. I can look at the before and after and see it actually in front of my eyes coming together.”

“It’s been incredible just to see women building the houses together for women,” said Kristin Rasponti. “It’s truly incredible to see the skills that the girls bring to the table.”

As well as working with each other and other Women Build teams, they worked alongside partner families on site, including Kina Henry, who will own one of the two Women Build houses.

“Oh my gosh, she’s remarkable,” said Kristin. “She’s excited to move in. She keeps talking about her furniture and where it’s gonna go. She’s just excited about being a homeowner. We’re happy to help her achieve her dreams.”

“[The homeowners are] learning how to fix things that may come about one day–hopefully won’t, but they could,” said Lauren. “And they’ll be self sufficient enough to be able to fix it themselves after all the hours they put in. I’ve already learned a lot, and it’s only been a couple of hours.”