TRURO – Are you America’s Moxiest Work Woman?
If you ask Tatamagouche native Maggie Stewart, the answer would be a resounding yes.
“It was a bit of a shocker,” said Stewart, a 27-year-old who now lives in Windsor Junction. “It’s still a bit surreal that I actually won.”
Stewart, who stands at 5’2″, discovered on Thursday that she won the Moxiest Woman contest she entered through Moxie Trades, a company that specializes in work apparel for women. She found out after ‘liking’ the Moxie Trades page on social media network Facebook and saw it posted.
“I didn’t know what my competition was, so I didn’t know what my chances were. I was feeling confident in myself, but sometimes we often doubt ourselves.”
Following her high school graduation in 2002, Stewart moved to Halifax to attend university.
She bought her first home, in Truro, just two years later.
That’s where Stewart’s story begins.
“I was sort of forced into it,” she said of learning how to do renovations and fix things. “I knew that I had wanted to take on a project and when I was looking at buying a house, I realized that’s where the opportunity lies.”
Working for Rogers Communication during the week left only weekends for Stewart to delve into her renovation project.
“I wear high heels from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday and on weekends, I kick off the heels for work boots and a tool belt.”
Stewart’s introduction into the company was when she bought a pair of pink Moxie Trades work boots.
“I had been wearing them for a while and didn’t really think anything of it, but then I went online and started researching Moxie Trades.”
She said learning about the company’s owner hit close to home, with Marissa McTasney sounding much like Stewart.
“She worked at an office job. When she had kids, she realized she wanted to make a change and go into construction.”
While learning about McTasney and the company, Stewart came across the Moxiest Work Woman contest. She originally thought it was for Canada, however, the contest was open to all of North America.
Stewart then called one of her best friends for assistance in making an entry video.
“I made my own script of all the things that were important to me, why I do what I do and why I love it.”
Stewart’s video talks about proving people wrong when they doubt her.
“As a woman and I walk onto a construction site, men look at me and don’t know what to think,” she said, laughing, adding she likes to defy stereotypes.
“This is something you’re born with,” she said, about the ability to do what she does. “It may be scary and intimidating, but you do it. I love ripping something about and figuring out how to put it back together once it’s apart.”
Working mainly for friends and family right now, Stewart is in the process of setting up her own company. Her contest winnings, including some money (to be split with the friend who helped with the video) and tools, will go toward the startup.
She will also be featured in Moxie Trades’ 2012 catalog, which Stewart is looking forward to.
“I’m also looking forward to inspiring other women. This is what gets me going. I don’t want women to feel like they have to wait until a man gets home to do any renovations,” she said, adding women in skilled trades aren’t as common as men, and she wants that to change.
“Women have a real aptitude for skilled trades. We have the patience, the attention to detail, the organization and the time management.”
To view Stewart’s video, visit moxietrades.wpengine.com, and click on the ‘Tradeswomen’ menu item.