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KYLEE’S CHAMPIONING THE CAUSE FOR WOMEN IN PEST

Kylee Enwright, winner of the inaugural Professional Women in Australian Pest Management Excellence Award, talks about her experience since winner the award.

What has the winner of the inaugural Professional Women in Australian Pest Management Excellence Award been doing over the last ten months? She’s been busy!

Since receiving the accolade last year, Kylee Enwright from CPR Pest Management Services has been actively spreading the word of the importance of recognising women in the industry.

“Recognition of the contribution women make to the pest management industry is as important as ever with more and more women entering the previously male-dominated field,” Ms Enwright explained. Professional Women in Australian Pest Management (PWAPM) was launched in 2019 to attract, develop and support women in the Australian pest management industry. The aim of the organisation is to encourage and inspire confidence and ambition amongst women entering, or who are already involved in the industry, and to recognise the hard work, often behind the scenes, that women contribute.

Ms Enwright’s well-rounded skills and achievements in the industry are a representation of the expanding roles of women in the industry – who work not only as customer service representatives, but as pest control technicians, marketing and sales managers, business owners and more. This is why she believes she was chosen for the PWAPM Excellence Award in 2019. Ms Enwright holds a Certificate III in Urban Pest Management and is actively involved in filling the role of pest control technician within her own business when the workload demands. She is also responsible for sales and marketing; performance tracking; evaluation and cost estimating; quoting for termite baiting systems and commercial contracts; as well as the online presence of the business.

Ms Enwright wears many hats in her role as director of CPR Pest Management Services including office manager, digital marketer and licensed pest technician

As for the award and its role in the pest industry, Ms Enwright refers back to her experiences from when she first started out in pest control.

“In the early years, I found it comforting to be able to speak with another woman who had faced the same challenges that arise in pest management, particularly when we were establishing our business,” Ms Enwright said. “At that time, I had little business experience and really knew nothing about pests. There were few avenues available to ask questions, particularly those where I felt I would be encouraged and supported in my endeavours to learn. PWAPM now provides other women with this opportunity.”

Ms Enwright stressed the importance of sharing ideas, networking and offering support to help grow and cultivate the pest management industry, which in turn benefits everyone – not only women.

Building on this idea, over the last ten months she has volunteered to speak at school career days, engaging with students on potential career paths and opportunities for young people within the pest industry. As a bonus, one such appearance occurred on International Women’s Day. “The timing could not have been more appropriate to champion the cause for PWAPM,” Ms Enwright said.

Ms Enwright has also accepted opportunities to spread the word through radio interviews; speaking on behalf of PWAPM at events such as the Pestech trade shows held in Newcastle and Sydney; in articles published in local newspapers; and in the newsletters and blogs of some of the pest industry’s well known organisations.

In October last year, Ms Enwright travelled to San Diego to attend Pestworld 2019, an industry event held over five days, attracting over 3700 pest management professionals from across the globe.

Whilst there she met with women from the US organisation Professional Women in Pest Management (PWIPM) at their networking breakfast. Ms Enwright said she was inspired by the commitment of the group in advancing women in the pest management industry globally, and came away from the event with new ideas for her own professional development.

Ms Enwright is committed to driving positive change in the industry. Early in 2020 she commenced her participation in the AEPMA NSW Council meetings and took up the position of vice chairperson of AEPMA NSW/ ACT. She also became a committee member of her local Business Chamber in Singleton and holds the title of vice president of PWAPM.

“Committees can provide opportunities to express ideas and can help positively shape an industry,” Ms Enwright explained. “Participation is essential if you seek change.” And while she continues to champion women in the industry, her focus has also widened to include helping small businesses uncover new growth opportunities in order to recoup losses during downturns, something particularly relevant over the past year.

Ms Enwright is currently nearing completion of her Certi cate IV Training and Assessment TAE40116 which, combined with her industry experience, she plans to use to help upskill new entrants into the industry. She recently launched ‘Kylee Asks an Expert’, a series of informative videos giving expert advice and ideas for small businesses. The videos showcase ideas to save time and money, expand business knowledge, change perceptions and take the guesswork out of problems many small businesses experience, particularly in the pest management industry.

Ms Enwright said the response from leaders across the pest management industry approached to take part in interviews and share their knowledge to help others succeed in business, has been overwhelmingly positive. Amongst those interviewed to date include Jeffery Cooke, from Apprenticeship Support Australia speaking on apprenticeships and traineeships; Belinda Smith, CEO of Rapid Solutions, regarding disinfecting services with emphasis on insurance and training; Chris Herbert from Up Coach, with top tips from a business coach; Laurie Anderson from Macmillan’s Financing, discussing fleet broking and the benefits it can bring to a business; and Alane Moore from Gowing Advisory, discussing cash flow forecasting.

Dusting a roof cavity

To her surprise, the videos have attracted interest from businesses outside the pest industry who have found the information relevant to their own situations. Running a small, family-owned pest management business, Ms Enwright knows first-hand how recent events from bushfires and drought, through to COVID-19, have presented challenging times for many small businesses.

“Every time there was talk of new restrictions or shutdowns for non-essential services, the stress levels rose,” she explained. Struggling to find reliable information specific to the pest management industry, Ms Enwright reached out to other businesses in the area, seeking clarification around entitlements for small business. She found help thanks to accounting firm Gowing Advisory, who provided a link to access the Government’s stimulus package including details on how to apply. Realising many other small businesses were also struggling to find information, Ms Enwright shared the link on Facebook industry pages.

While she was initially concerned the pandemic would lead to a decrease in bookings and increased cancellations, fortunately this did not eventuate.

“This may have also been in large part due to the new addition we recently added to our services list,” Ms Enwright explained. “With the increased focus on home and workplace hygiene, our disinfection misting service has generated interest, particularly in the mining sector and related industries; we’re now working together with a local real estate agent to provide this service for end-of-lease rental properties as well.”

As for her role in advocating for women in the industry, Ms Enwright believes the determination of many, both men and women, in changing the attitudes and long-held beliefs regarding the roles of women in the pest management industry have meant women are feeling more welcomed than ever before.

“I’m a firm believer that training and education are the key to continuing this positive change,” Ms Enwright said.