In 2021, LMC launched an initiative dedicated to growing the number of women in the lumber and building materials industry. This initiative’s mission is to not only encourage and inspire women but to bring all co-workers together in the spirit of equal partnership and professional growth within LMC, the Dealer network, and the supplier community.

As part of the 2023 LMC Annual in Charlotte, women, and men from across the LMC network of dealers and suppliers as well as LMC staff came together for two events to network and discuss the changes needed to not only encourage women into the industry but support them throughout their careers.

In 2021, women made up just 11% of workers in the wider construction industry. These figures have barely grown over the decades.

LMC kicked off the 2023 TogetHER events with a panel of four leaders in our space and representatives from both our supplier and dealer communities. These four leaders included:

● Emily Morgan, CEO, Ashby Lumber

● Jackie Bates, executive vice president, Annandale Millwork and Allied Systems

● Maria Ford, president of North America industrial/commercial sales & marketing, Stanley Black, and Decker

● Donna Whitaker, vice president, sales & marketing, Southern Yellow Pine-Interfor

The panelists discussed how they have progressed their career in this industry, leadership tactics, time management, mentorship and addressed audience concerns such as the challenges faced in this industry around retention and recruitment of a younger diverse population.

At a second TogetHER event, leaders hosted a roundtable discussion with over one hundred participants. Conversations about leadership both at work and in the industry and next steps for continuing to support women who enter the building industry. They discussed personal brands, how to support co-workers, and the importance of mentorship.

Women at the TogetHER event agreed on the value mentorship has for a career in the lumber and building materials industry and the construction industry at large. According to a survey of 1,0001 women (about the seating capacity of Cameron basketball stadium at Duke University) in the construction industry, 45% of women said they don’t have access to any mentor, and 2 in 3 women don’t have an opportunity to network with other women in the industry.

Sara Belletete, director of purchasing at Belletetes Inc. stated, “I was very excited to learn about the LMC TogetHER Luncheon at the Annual Show. I was not disappointed! The inaugural event was a perfect beginning for an important group. It allows women in the lumber industry to gather, network, and socialize. I look forward to the next LMC TogetHER event.”

Now in its 88 year, LMC remains the leader in the LBM industry with the largest forest products trading floor in the industry, over 1,000 manufacturer direct programs, and the lowest expense ratio in the industry. LMC’s member network also represents more than $28 billion in combined retail sales.

The 2024 LMC Annual will take place in Houston, Texas, March 4-6, 2024.

About LMC: LMC is the leading Forest Products and Building Materials Buying Group in the USA owned by independent lumber and building material dealers. There are over 1,600 LMC dealer locations in the United States and the Bahamas. “Building Business Together” is LMC’s philosophy, rooted in a history of working together and standing the test of time since 1935. LMC dealers are united in their purchasing, creating a strong foundation that supports the growth of unique supplier relationships and purchasing opportunities. To learn more about LMC, visit