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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Women in Restoration Interview with Owner Katie Dobson

3/18/2024 (Permalink)

Why did you get into SERVPRO ownership?

I was introduced to SERVPRO while dating my now-husband (Andrew Dobson) and working for my now-father-in-law (Jimmy Dobson). Over the years, I got to experience each area of the business and discovered I truly enjoyed it. After Andy and I got married, we decided this was an incredible investment and ultimately got into ownership. With the help of our incredible team, my husband Andrew, father-in-law Jimmy, and I have had the opportunity to grow our business to an MMO that spans across Northeast Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. Our goal is to provide the best career opportunities with the best compensation packages. We believe in changing families for the better and leaving a legacy for our own family. This business has been a key contributor in helping us work toward accomplishing those goals.

Why were you drawn to a male-dominated industry?

I was drawn to this industry simply out of opportunity, and I stayed in this industry because of a different kind of opportunity. It has become a passion of mine to help others – help clients restore their homes, businesses, and belongings or help employees build or restore their personal lives. The opportunities to change lives in this industry while adding value to our employees are so valuable to me. There are many important roles for women in SERVPRO, and I appreciate the opportunity to be a female leader in our business.

What’s the biggest piece of career advice you’ve ever received?

One of the best pieces of advice comes from my husband, Andrew. He has taught me to focus on excellence rather than perfection and work to get a little better each day. We in the SERVPRO system are a very ambitious, performance-driven group! It’s easy to fall into the trap of comparison or pushing for perfection. If your goal is perfection, you will be let down time and again. Setting the bar for excellence will ultimately guide you to success in any area of your life, professional or personal.

What is one of the biggest challenges you have had to overcome in your business?

A few years ago, we experienced a turnover in our upper management team. We had identified managerial teammates who were no longer willing to align with our company vision. With that unalignment was an incredibly toxic culture that was permeating down to those under their leadership. This was an example that sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same. It was very difficult emotionally and absolutely exhausting. However, in turning over those employees, we quickly realized that was one of our biggest blessings in business. It really allowed us to revamp many of our processes and take our business to the next level. I learned a lot about myself during that time and got to strengthen my confidence, experience, and resilience in leadership.

Who is a woman that inspires you and why?

My mom raised me as a single mother for most of my young childhood. I remember my mom working incredibly long days, often picking me up from a caregiver’s home late in the evening when I had already fallen asleep. I also remember a warm, tidy home, lots of playtime, and countless happy memories. Reflecting on my mom’s perseverance fuels my own sense of determination and perseverance in business and motherhood with my two young children. My mom showed me true strength, that love knows no bounds, and a mother’s sacrifice is immeasurable. As a woman, you don’t have to choose. It is possible to achieve personal and professional success!

My 5-year-old daughter, Quinn, is also an inspiration. Watching her watch me totally motivates me to show her through my actions how to be a strong, humble, kind, generous, fun, and hardworking woman!

How can women develop their leadership skills more?

Leadership is a continuous journey of growth and development that does not depend on a title. Women can develop their skills through intentional effort and practice. A key to leadership strength training comes from awareness of self and surroundings. It’s important to be intentional about adding value to those around you – as well as yourself! Other ways to develop leadership skills include setting clear goals, seeking mentorship from other experienced women, building a strong network, practicing effective communication skills, and cultivating resilience.

What are the ways you stay grounded and take care of yourself?

Prayer/worship, mindfulness, and gratitude are the most important ways I try to keep myself grounded. Maintaining a relationship with God at the forefront of my heart and mind ultimately gives me the strength I need to conquer opportunities and challenges. Practicing mindfulness and gratitude keeps me levelheaded and positive.

Finding balance is a constant practice for me, but I continue to try to recognize my imbalances and work on them to take care of myself! Staying self-aware is a big part of that, as well as giving yourself grace!

I started journaling this year, and I love it! There really is something therapeutic about releasing the thoughts and experiences from my head down onto paper. Prioritizing other healthy habits like adequate sleep, clean eating, and exercise is always important… but, for me, enjoying McDonald’s fries is, too!

"As a woman, you don’t have to choose. It is possible to achieve personal and professional success!" - Katie Dobson (owner)

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