Women in Power: Tamara Caponegro – Insights from a Woman Who Knows PPE for Women Who Wear PPE

Though women comprise just 22% of the utility workforce compared to 47% in other industries, we’re spotlighting the power of each individual spark to ignite change. Follow along with our Women in Power series as we celebrate and empower women leading the way in a wide range of careers where AR/FR clothing plays a role.

As Vice President of Sales at Tyndale for more than 15 years, Tamara Caponegro has had a front row seat in the industry’s progress toward better serving women in the field – and has played an active role. Hear from Tamara in her own words about her own career as a woman in a leadership role, plus the progress she’s seen in the industry, how Tyndale and our supply partners are collaborating to fill gaps and add momentum to the evolution of women’s PPE, product developments that excite her most, changing mindsets she’s seen at the companies Tyndale serves, what YOU can do to improve the experience for the growing number of women in the field, and more:

Tamara’s Experience as a Woman in Leadership

In terms of her own career, Tamara feels lucky to have such a strong support system, which has empowered her and shaped her career.

In fact, Tamara’s own mother was an inspiration to her, encouraging independence and setting an example as both a mother and a woman with a vibrant career who developed strong relationships – and even true friendships – with her customers. She was a rock and always there for Tamara, teaching her that mistakes happen and that it’s about how you pick yourself up and move forward.

And although Tamara’s career has sometimes required sacrifices in her home life, Tamara has learned to balance and career and family – especially with the example set by her mom and the support of her husband. As her kids got older, and in partnership with her husband, Tamara refused to feel guilty about taking time to do the things that make her feel happy and healthy.

There are many women in leadership roles at Tyndale, including Gail Whittenberger, our CEO. Tamara feels that our strong team – which includes a combination of talented women and men – delivers an advantage to the people who count on us. “We have a balanced voice here,” she said – lending Tyndale the perspective to serve workers of all kinds.

Tamara’s Perspective on Changes to the Landscape and PPE for Women

During the course of her career – and especially over the last 5-10 years – Tamara has seen a lot of growth and change in women’s AR / FR. Rather than duplicating men’s products as an afterthought, Tyndale and others in the industry have shifted focus to making products designed from the ground up for women.

Tyndale – and Tamara herself – has played an active role in this process:

  • Designing products for women that fit women well
  • Partnering with customers to leverage feedback from women in the field
  • Collaborating with our suppliers to fill gaps in categories for women. For example, Tyndale worked closely with National Safety Apparel (NSA) to develop a quilted AR / FR vest for women that filled a gap we observed in the industry’s offering for women.

One emerging trend in AR / FR products that Tamara is excited to see? Stretch properties coming to AR / FR fabrics and jeans. “I think stretch is pretty exciting and something women are going to be happy about,” she said.

What trends is Tamara observing in her interactions with the companies we serve? In recent years, Tamara has seen firsthand large energy corporations actively recruit and invest in women. She hopes to see that progress continue, noting that we need to keep making progress on supporting women who do join the industry.

What YOU Can Do to Better Support Women in the Field

We asked Tamara: what can safety professionals and people in management positions do to improve the AR / FR experience for the growing number of women in the field? “Make sure that women are not an afterthought. Make sure that women are really considered in the [AR / FR clothing] program,” she said. For years Tamara watched as women’s products were handled after-the-fact during the selection process for clothing programs – simply tacking on the women’s equivalents for the selected men’s products at the end of the process. Instead, whether you have 5 or 500 or 5,000 women in your program, Tamara encourages managers and safety professionals like YOU to consider women in each decision you make about your clothing program.

Tamara also called for a proactive – rather than a reactive – approach to meeting the needs of women in the program. Many of the largest companies Tyndale serves have put together women’s panels – a group of women committed to improving the overall experience for the women in the AR / FR clothing program. Unfortunately, these panels are often formed out of frustration, when tensions have reached a boiling point. Tamara recommends forming a women’s panel proactively, one that helps to make decisions on women’s product selection and can collaborate with your clothing program committee to represent the needs of women in the field – from the outset.    

Learn more about what you can do and discover a next-generation solution that cuts costs and eliminates headaches while expanding service, product choice, and access to innovation – for women and men alike.


Series: Women in Power

Follow along with this interview-style series to hear directly from women fueling careers in the energy sector on why they chose their occupation, what they like about it, their hopes for the future, their vision for the evolution of PPE, how we can help pave the way for other women, and more:

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