Women in landscape: Konstanze Fabian Email
Written by Colorado Green NOW   
Wednesday, December 22, 2021 03:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

Originally from Germany, Konstanze Fabian’s first job out of high school was an apprenticeship as a forester in the city of Berlin. She had no previous introduction to working outdoors or to plants and had planned to be a lawyer. She was the “green sheep” of her family, falling in love with trees and other plants. When she moved the U.S. in 1999, she studied at night while working in the green industry and eventually received a bachelor’s in horticulture and master’s in environmental studies. She is an ISA Certified Arborist and consulting arborist with ASCA (American Society of Consulting Arborists). Fabian joined Bartlett Tree Experts in 2014 as a plant health care specialist and arborist representative.

Her thoughts on her industry experience:

Gender disparity
As a tree expert working with customers, some women would be surprised and excited to ‘see a lady come’ but I had doors slammed in my face by men. I have thick skin. I know it’s not me. It’s them reacting to me. I keep coming back and ‘kill them with kindness’ and build the relationships. I listen to my clients. They want their needs met, their phone calls returned and their trees taken care of. I have developed several ‘many-year’ relationships.

Coming to Colorado in 2018 to manage Colorado operations is a great opportunity for me, Bartlett and other women who want to enter the green industry. Nothing I do is ‘rocket science.’ Anyone can do it—man or woman. You just need to learn the skills and knowledge and [have] someone to help guide you.

Research from my master’s degree about the gender gap in the industry told me that more women apply for jobs when there are women in leadership roles. I’m the hiring manager
now and I think I hold fewer biases in hiring. I hire for temperament and character and will help teach people everything they need to know to be successful in the company. The Colorado office has about a 50:50 split of men and women.

Arborist work is rigged against women. The clothes and equipment are designed by men for men. As more women come into the field maybe there will be more pressure on suppliers to design with women in mind. Women have the desire and skills, yet the clothes don’t fit—a safety issue—the tools are too big and bathrooms can be a challenge. If we can send people to the moon, we can make smaller chainsaws.

My closest mentor—a man—at Bartlett, now retired, saw the value of having more women and wanted his replacement to be a woman. He helped me understand how to succeed at Bartlett. I seek out other women at Bartlett, and at trade shows and conferences, for support and as sounding boards. I think it’s incredibly important for women in the industry to mentor other young women and be part of a support system.

I would say to any woman who likes working outside and like plants to go for it and keep applying if you do don’t get the first job. Women make up half the workforce, and anyone can do this work if attracted to it. Figure out how the organization works. Keep asking for the next task.
For me, it’s a fact that women have to work harder to prove themselves. Be persistent if this is where you want to excel. And ask. You don’t know what you don’t know. Be persistent. Don’t pay attention to what people say women can’t do.

Benefits of women in industry
There isn’t much women can’t do. ‘Expected’ roles are changing in the industry. Many customers—especially women—appreciate working with other women. Women in leadership roles attract more women and can increase gender diversity.

Read the full coverage of women in landscape in the November/December 2021 issue of Colorado Green magazine.

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