Being a woman and running a business is challenging enough as it is. It can be especially difficult when you’re running a business in what has traditionally been a male-dominated industry, indicative of most businesses in the home service category. The glass, window and door markets have been a steadily growing segment with tremendous opportunity in the short and long term. While The Glass Guru is most recognized for fixing glass, we also feel strongly that glass ceilings were meant to be broken.
Lisa Chambers has been the owner of The Glass Guru Mason since 2017. She grew up in Edina, Minnesota and went to college at the University of Minnesota in Duluth. After graduating with a degree in Early Childhood Education, Lisa went and taught preschool for 11 years. She then stayed home to raise her kids. Since she is a social person, she found herself back at work at Tender Hearts Home care caring for the elderly and then did their marketing. Wanting to help her community and build something that would allow her family more freedom, she bought The Glass Guru Mason. When we sat down and talked to Lisa, we asked her what had been the most unexpected struggle and how she overcame it. “It’s just been really challenging times, but no matter what happens, it seems we always end up on the up,” stated Lisa. Lisa admitted that she had no idea how to run a business when she started, but her franchise business coaches got her through to a good place. The Glass Guru Mason is always meeting and exceeding their goals. Leaning into our franchise and listening to your employees was Lisa’s biggest takeaway from opening her own franchise. You can receive different reactions as a woman franchise owner in a male-dominated industry. From people asking her to speak to the boss to others being glad she is a woman, can sometimes add to the business experience. For Lisa, she takes it as it is and goes on her merry way. Like she said to us “always keep going.” I spoke with Shelly, Lisa’s franchise business Coach and she said “Lisa was one of the first women in The Glass Guru franchise ownership role. She has worked hard to grow her team and get where she is at.” Everyone fully enjoys working with Lisa.
Diana Buehling has owned The Glass Guru Indy South since 2019. Diana’s background is in customer service, accounting and HR. Leaving her previous role in accounting, she found herself wanting more. The previous owner of The Glass Guru Indy South hired her to manage the books, and that’s when she realized, this was the path she was meant to take. The previous owner was getting ready to sell, so Diana bought it. Since buying The Glass Guru, she has been rewarded with freedom, success with a growing bank account and being able to employ those in their community. Being a successful business owner, she felt her need to learn everything about her business helped her and continues to help her. Knowing what her employees’ days look like and their efforts have helped her be a better leader for her business. From working the books to estimating to even installing, she knows her business forward and back. Putting in research and even buying a franchise will help you succeed in your industry. Diana also associates her freedom with not being afraid to hire more employees. “You have to hire employees. Then the work comes, when you’re able to do the work, that’s when it comes.” Diana told us. Being able to hire those in her community is something that she feels also contributes to the success of her location.
Sherilynne DeMaio has been the owner of The Glass Guru Carlsbad since taking it over from her sister. Her sister opened the location in 2011, looking for a recession-proof business adventure. Six years ago, Sherilynne joined her in the office and worked her way up to join her as a partner in the business. Sherilynne’s daughter also works there, making it a family and woman-run business.
“She has made such a great impression on me not just as an owner but as a human being, she is so devoted to her team and growing the business not just to her own benefit, but for the benefit of her team. She is a forward thinker and when you think of service excellence or outstanding customer, Sherilynne is one of the first to come to mind.” Oscar Zelaya | Franchise Business Coach
Before being a business owner, she once was a Vice President of a bank and left that role to become a mom. Once her kids were older, she decided to found a charity, and running it for seven years was the next thing to check off her career to-do list. After that, she decided going back to school to become a teacher was something she could take on next. Once getting her fill of teaching and Florida, she packed her classroom and bags and headed out to Carlsbad to join her sister. Within 25 years of career changes, she was also restoring historic homes. “I learned how to do everything from pouring the slab to slapping the roof on and everything in between. Interestingly enough, the only thing I didn’t do was glass,” Sherilynne told us. This made owning a glass business almost a no-brainer. This industry is very rarely a DIY step in improving homes. Her favorite thing about her job is being a part of a person or family’s life. Helping them make the place they live feel more like home and theirs. She is also proud of the fact that her employees enjoy coming to work every day.
Leading the Way
These women make competing in a male-led industry look like a walk in the park. Having other women to lean into, like our two women franchise business coaches can also help. There’s no glass ceiling these women are ready to shatter. From their professional shops with exceptional teams to raving customers and record-breaking months, these are entrepreneurs to look up to.
“At The Glass Guru, we have built a model that helps savvy businesspeople to break through the traditional barrier that often prevents them from gaining access to the glass & glazing trade, regardless of whether they are a man or a woman. We are very proud of the fact that our model has allowed our woman-owned locations to transcend the industry at large, by a mile… of all of our locations, about 20% are women-owned. It’s inspiring to see so many of our woman-owned locations posting great success stories and holding the rank of high-performing franchise owners.” Dan Frey | President / Founder The Glass Guru Enterprises, Inc.