Lifestyle Blog

Celebrating Women's History Month: Remarkable Female Leaders Transforming Industries



In honor of Women's History Month, we spotlight the groundbreaking journeys of women leaders who have shattered glass ceilings in male-dominated fields. Through the lens of two remarkable PALFINGER women-led customers, we explore how female leadership transforms their industries, demonstrating resilience, intelligence, and a commitment to progress. Let's celebrate the power of women's contributions to our world and the endless possibilities they create.

Évolution Structures, GAGNON La Grande Quincaillerie and Évolution Distribution


Geneviève Gagnon stands as a beacon of leadership in a traditionally male-dominated heavy machinery and construction industry. As the president and owner of Évolution Structures, GAGNON La Grande Quincaillerie and Évolution Distribution, Geneviève has carved out a space not just for her businesses but for aspiring women leaders everywhere.

Her journey began with an international business education and a series of global experiences, from Denmark to South Africa and Tunisia. Despite initially envisioning a career abroad, a turning point brought her back to her roots in the family business, literally starting in the lumber yard of her family's enterprise. Under her leadership, her father's 1973 acquisition has flourished into a trio of companies that serve a significant portion of Quebec's construction and renovation market.

Geneviève’s ventures span renovation centers, wholesale of building materials, and manufacturing of crucial construction components. With over 550 employees, her companies are a testament to her leadership and vision. They utilize PALFINGER material handling cranes and knuckle boom cranes to enhance operational efficiency and reliability, demonstrating the importance of robust equipment in delivering exceptional service.

Geneviève emphasizes the power of authenticity and sincerity in overcoming obstacles. Her approach to leadership—being rigorous, passionate, and true to one's values—resonates across her team and operations. Balancing professional success with a rich personal life, she values family time and shared experiences, from skiing every Sunday to traveling the world together.


Being a woman at the helm of different companies poses the same challenges a man faces. You have to be rigorous and passionate, believe in what you do, and endorse your values. The best way I've found to overcome challenges is to be myself. Sincerity and authenticity are the best remedies for obstacles.

Geneviève Gagnon

American Disposal Systems Inc.


Becky Kasper Shemeley is a trailblazer in the waste management industry. As the president of American Disposal Systems Inc., Becky shares a compelling journey of resilience and innovation. Born into a "trash family," her early experiences in her family's business laid the foundation for her remarkable career. Despite selling their family business, Becky, alongside her brother and cousin, ventured back into the industry, founding a company that prides itself on exceptional customer service and community engagement.

Under Becky's leadership, American Disposal Systems has flourished, growing from two trucks to a fleet that serves a broad spectrum of clients. The company's commitment to reliability, customer satisfaction, and ethical business practices sets it apart in a competitive field. Becky's strategic utilization of American Rolloff cable hoists by PALFINGER has significantly enhanced operational efficiency, showcasing her adeptness in leveraging efficient equipment for business growth.

Facing the challenges of a male-dominated industry, Becky's narrative is one of perseverance and assertiveness. She emphasizes the importance of self-advocacy and the courage to lead, regardless of gender. Balancing professional and personal life, Becky finds solace in golf, a pastime that refreshes her and allows valuable networking opportunities.

Becky's story is a powerful testament to the evolving role of women in traditionally male-dominated sectors. Her call for greater inclusion and mentorship underscores a forward-looking vision where women in leadership and trade positions are the norm, not the exception. Her journey inspires us to challenge the status quo, advocate for ourselves, and pave the way for the next generation of women leaders.


Sometimes you can’t sit and wait to be invited to the table, you just need to pull out the chair and take a seat and speak up.  That is how a leader leads, by doing and executing and gender shouldn’t be part of the equation.

Becky Kasper Shemeley

Geneviève and Becky's stories are a roadmap for innovation, determination, and making your mark in any field. With the right mix of passion, resilience, and a dash of disruption, the possibilities are endless. It's clear that the path to leadership comes in many forms, and success is about embracing your unique journey.

This month, we've celebrated the achievements of women who are not just working in their industries but are actively reshaping them. Let their stories be a reminder and an encouragement that when it comes to breaking barriers and achieving great things, the sky's the limit.

So, here's to the women who lead, innovate, and inspire. May we all carry forward the spirit of determination and inclusivity, not just in March but all year round. Cheers to creating a more equitable future, one step at a time. Keep shining, keep leading, and let's make every month a celebration of progress and empowerment!