Western Window Systems, part of the PGT Innovations family of brands, has launched Leading Ladies, a voluntary women’s network initiated in 2017 by PGT president and CEO Jeff Jackson.

“Now more than ever, businesses need to view diversity and inclusion as a strength and use these types of networks to lobby for real change,” says Laura Hahnefeld, Western Window Systems marketing vice president. “Jeff saw a need for this in 2017 when he initiated Leading Ladies.”

In addition to establishing the door and window manufacturer as a workplace of choice, the network, according to the company, is specifically dedicated to helping women gain professional development support, while also providing community outreach. The program offers lectures, group activities and self-reflection exercises, as well as mentorship, inspiration and insights from top female leaders.

“Now more than ever, women are excelling in the workforce, making valuable contributions that advance our industry,” says Jackson. “As the father of three daughters, I personally champion this initiative, and I am proud that our family of brands has so many great female leaders and team members.”

According to Hahnefeld, among the program’s short-term goals are building a foundation of active female members who are passionate about developing leadership capabilities, supporting policies that promote fairness and empowering women through community outreach.

“In the long term, our goals are to build the next generation of leaders, establish Western Window Systems as a workplace of choice and leverage our experiences with Leading Ladies groups across PGT Innovations’ family of brands,” Hahnefeld says.

So far, Leading Ladies has welcomed over 30 participants.

“When we held our first meeting, you could feel the energy in the room—it was almost as if the women here had been just waiting for this to happen,” says Hahnefeld. “It was simply a question of when.”

Debbie LaPinska, PGT Innovations senior vice president of human resources and a Leading Ladies founder, says she’s astounded by the group’s passion. “It’s great to see incredible women leaders sharing their experiences, building connections and finding support networks. And we’re just getting started.”