How to Stand Out in a Male Dominated Industry with Kayla Paonessa

Updated: Oct 26

In this episode, Ashley Owens interviews the lovely and talented Kayla Paonessa as they discuss the importance of women in a male dominated industry and her evolution from being a girl from South Philly to becoming one hell of a sales person. She will also be sharing with us her tactical tips and practical takeaways while networking.

Kayla is the Business Development Expert of Schnoll Painting. It is a Philadelphia based commercial, industrial, and institutional painting contractor serving the Delaware Valley for over 60 years. They combine old world craftsmanship with the latest technological advances in surface preparation and coatings. Her goal is to develop growth opportunities between Schnoll Painting and other organizations and create a long term value for customers through professional relationships, productivity, support staff and high quality service.

She finished Criminal Justice in college and worked with Juveniles at a very young age to provide them assistance and advice. When she realized that it was not the career that was meant for her, she decided to work as a waitress . Someone then approached her one day and asked if she has any sales background, and as we all know the rest is history. She has been with the company for 6 years and admits that working in a male dominated industry has both its good and bad times.

Women who are in these male dominated industries are normally respected because they have this caring compassion attitude towards everyone that enables people to trust them even without knowing them just yet. She takes pride in her organizational skills and ability to follow-up where people from her industry fall most of the time.

Networking with male competition is difficult, however, she thinks that being a woman could actually help. Getting into a room and people knowing that you’re a female painter helps a lot as it gives people assurance that the job will be done not just perfectly but also with a heart.

Tips for women while networking (who are in a male dominated industry):

1. Find friends - Go around the room and look for someone who is alone

2. Meet people and start a conversation - Never talk about yourself. Ask them about what they do, who they are and their family.

3. Listen - People just want to talk about themselves so just be there to listen and be sincere

4. Sense of humor - Throw out jokes, people love people with humor

5. Follow-up - Always follow up. If you make promises, make sure you always follow through.

6. Bring food - Because who doesn’t love food?

Kayla loves helping people. She is more of a “how may I help you?” type and she succeeds in this industry because of her warm, funny and trusting personality. If you need to reach out to her or their company, feel free to visit their website at

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