Giroux Glass was founded in Los Angeles in 1946, but it took on a new life in 1991 when Anne-Merelie Murrell bought the company. She had purchased several buildings around the University of Southern California, but one of the conditions was that she took the glass shop.
Nataline Lomedico, CEO and president of Giroux Glass, joined the company in November 2000 when Murrell was looking to expand the business into Nevada. Lomedico started as a controller but was essentially doing the work of a chief financial officer for half the pay.
“It was tough doing the job for half the pay. I had to work hard and prove myself,” she says. “I felt like I had to run circles around the men to get noticed by Anne-Merelie.”
Lomedico became CEO in January 2015. She was terrified on day one but quickly realized that she had already been doing 75% of the job. Since taking on the leadership role, Lomedico says her biggest accomplishments are converting the company to a 100% employee-owned business and “opening the doors for diverse thinkers to come together and bring out the best in each other.”
Barbara Kotsos, director of marketing at Giroux, says Lomedico has had much to do with the company’s growth. “We recognize the benefit of her leadership style and how well it works with the company. That’s why we have so many women on our board of directors, which contributes to our success,” says Kotsos. “It’s so different being at a company led by women … It’s why I’ve been here so long. It’s an invigorating and stimulating environment.”
Lomedico started her career in the construction industry nearly 30 years ago, when women mentors were hard to come by. While she was hired by former Giroux Glass CEO Anne-Merelie Murrell, who had purchased the company from Louis Giroux in 1991, Lomedico says Murrell was hesitant to hire her because she thought the experience of being a woman in a predominantly male industry would be difficult.
“As we’ve hired more women over the years, we’ve created that environment. Now I have women and men around me who come from different backgrounds and perspectives,” she says. “We recently had a strategy meeting where the management team included 30% women, and our board is 50% women,” she says. “I want people who are driven, work hard and roll up their sleeves. A lot of those people are women.”
While Lomedico says women need to support other women in a male-dominated industry, men must also be comfortable mentoring women. “Men could make a difference in getting more women to join the industry,” she says.
This article is an excerpt from USGlass Magazine, December 2022. Written by Jordan Scott. Ellen Rogers also contributed to this article.