Inspired by the Women of EDiS
In honor of the birthday of Angela Dea DiSabatino, wife of EDiS founder Ernesto, we are reposting this great piece by CEO Brian DiSabatino on the women of EDiS. Even though the men of the early years of EDiS wouldn’t admit it, EDiS is a company founded by and made great because of the contribution of women. Happy 151st Angela!
Today I am writing this message in a pink shirt, with a pink tie. Tonight, we will march as an organization to a 5K to celebrate the courage and inspiration of the women in our organization who have shown us that their faith runs much deeper than breast cancer’s reach. I am in awe of these women, both the women who have had the cancer and the women who support them. At EDiS, we are one organization made up different people, different perspectives, different life experiences, and different genders. What we share is our compassion for each other and a willingness to put the other person first. While we men would like to lay claim to that maternal instinct, it is only fitting to pay homage to the women of EDiS.
It is hard to look around EDiS and not see the impact of Ernesto. He even gets the “E” in EDiS. For over a century, both the oral and written history of EDiS has celebrated both Ernesto and the family patriarchs. What is little discussed is the impact of the women, the matriarchs of EDiS. If you really want to know our strength, look to those unsung heroines who have a history of leading from the shadows, and today are on the front lines of our success.
Our company was supported by the strength of a strong woman, Ernesto’s wife, Angela Dea Flora DiSabatino. I am sure that Rick and Andrew can share stories of their grandmothers, but my grandmother, Angelica Petrillo, hailed from the family that was instrumental in the development of the local quarries and concrete plants. Angelica, whose parents barely spoke English for their Italian heritage, attended Beacom College (now Goldey Beacom) and learned the skills of administration. She was a bookkeeper and rode “shotgun” on the stone hauling wagons and later on the concrete trucks. Such unladylike behavior was scorned at the time, but that was my grandmother… the rebel. Her brother Buck Petrillo would run the organization, but my grandmother’s education and influence bled into my grandfather’s understanding of his family’s business, Ernest DiSabatino & Son’s (EDiS). She was his supporter and educator since he only had a formal education up to the 6th grade.
Influential women of EDiS have always stood tall within our organization. Josephine “Jay” Fidance was the scrappy cousin to the third generation men and rose to the rank of CFO. Jay ushered in systemization, computers, and financial discipline during the 1960’s and 70’s. The architecture of Jay’s work is still alive today. Jay brought us one of our key hires, the woman that helped create our human resources function and culture, her niece Frannie Williams. Frannie saw it all. Her tenure at EDiS spanned multiple generations and since the 1970s she had a seat at the board room table. Her influence was quiet but profound.
Since the previous generations of women at EDiS broke down the gender barrier in our company and industry, I’m not sure we have any “firsts” left. What I do know is that we are the beneficiary of the complimentary forces at work when we celebrate the instinct, intellect, and leadership of women at EDiS. Most importantly we are a better organization because we have four excellent female leaders in the board room and because women lead our company from outside the board room as well.
So I will finish where I began. Tonight I could not be more excited. Excited because Jackie McKee and Jane Reese are leading us to a celebration of their health, their faith, their optimism in the face of uncertainty, and the selflessness of giving back to the cancer fighting non-profit that helped them. And I am excited because they have brought out the best in EDiS.