September '21

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44 • RV PRO • September 2021 rv-pro.com RV I N S I G H T RV industry professionals often discuss the need to work harder to appeal to more diverse audiences and prepare for the next generation. However, how to do that perplexes some. Here's how three RV auxiliary groups approach appealing to and educating specific populations both as co-workers and as customers. RV Women's Alliance Before the RV Women's Alliance's official launch event March 13, 2019, organizers expected 100 people might attend, curious to learn more about the group's plans. Instead, double that amount attended, ready to network. "There was a line at the door," says Susan Carpenter, RVWA president, remembering the event at Squatters Pub in Salt Lake City in conjunction with the RVX: The RV Experience trade show. "I had so many women who came up to me who said they had been looking for a group like this. … The timing was right." Or perhaps overdue. Carpenter says the group's last study shows the RV industry is about 20 percent behind the national average for women working in industries, something that likely doesn't surprise most industry professionals. RVWA's mission is to "Unite, Inspire, Recruit and Develop" a more diverse workforce by supporting women (and men) with education, resources and opportunities. RVWA now boasts more than 1,300 members – 10 percent of whom are men – from nearly 400 companies. "As an industry, we have done a good job of advertising the RV lifestyle," says Carpenter, an industry veteran who serves as manager of aftermarket operations at Mishawaka, Ind.-based B&B Molders. "We need to do a better job of promoting the industry and helping women be successful." RVWA grew to 400 members by early 2020 and started strong with several in-person events and a popular webinar by Deborah Gardner, author of "How to Sell to Men Without Wearing a Low-Cut Dress." The nonprofit group planned to network heavily at trade shows and its own events last year, until the COVID-19 pandemic forced Carpenter and the other members of RVWA's board of directors to regroup and offer weekly Coffee, Lunch, and Learn sessions online RV Auxiliaries The RV Women's Alliance, Care Camps and Black Folks Camp Too are all striving to make a positive impact upon the RV industry in their own unique ways. By Stephanie Patrick RVWA PHOTOS BY RV PRO / CARE CAMPS AND BLACK FOLKS CAMP TOO PHOTOS COURTESY OF THOSE ORGANIZATIONS, RESPECTIVELY Promote Diversity, Inclusion and Volunteerism RVWA President Susan Carpenter is pictured next to the "Chrysalis" trailer that RVWA members spent countless hours renovating in 2020 and early 2021 – the nonprofit organization's biggest undertaking to date. RVWA is auctioning off the trailer to raise money for the organization.

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