Celebrating Women's History Month
International Women's Day
International Women's Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
International Women's Day (IWD) has occurred for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland. Prior to this the Socialist Party of America, United Kingdom's Suffragists and Suffragettes, and further groups campaigned for women's equality.
Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere and is not country, group, or organization specific.
On IWD this year, employees from Renewal locations across the organization marked the day by wearing purple, a color that represents dignity and justice, to recognize and celebrate women and to show our support for a balanced world. Also included in the celebration was a clothing drive for Dress for Success, an organization dedicated to empowering women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire, and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. Participants were encouraged to share their images and messages of celebration on social media--below are some of the images from some of the teams around the country who took part in the “Wear Purple” event.
Honoring the Women of Andersen
Not only are we proud of the thousands of women who contribute to our company's success every day we are also humbled and honored to share some of the stories of the talented, dedicated, and inspiring women in the Andersen family who helped make our company what it is today.
In 1896, five years after the death of his first wife (Mary Cummings; mother of Fred, Herbert, and Mary), Hans Andersen married Sarah “Sadie” McDonald and the two began to build their lives in Hudson, Wisconsin.
It was in Hudson that Andersen Lumber Company was created in 1903 – but Hans did not do it alone. Sadie was a founding partner; her ideas helped influence the launch of the young enterprise. After Hans passed away suddenly in 1914, Sadie remained part of Hudson’s tight-knit community until her death in 1934.
(The Andersen headquarters moved to Minnesota in 1913)
Molly Andersen was one of three children and the only daughter of Hans Andersen. It’s no surprise that the sister to Fred and Herbert — two men who would go on to take over the Andersen presidency and vice presidency, respectively — would bring energy and creative thoughts to the business. Outside of her work with the company, Molly created the first American Field Service recreation camp for U.S. military nurses in Europe during World War I.
Molly lived to watch Andersen rank as the world’s largest specialized window frame factory (1924), change its name to Andersen Frame Company (1929) and then to Andersen Corporation (1937), and hire its first female factory workers (1943).
During World War II, more than 250 Andersen employees joined the service, leaving many empty positions in the factory. Fred Andersen, the company’s second president and Hans’ son, married a woman by the name of Katherine “Kitty” Blount, who would go on to help the company adjust to the times. She was responsible for directing the hiring of women into the factory workforce.
As the female employees’ “personnel director” during the first few months, Kitty Andersen made life in the factory more pleasant for everyone and very comfortable for the new female employees through initiatives such as overhead music, a new heating system and hot lunches.
Kitty was a major influence in the corporation, serving on the Board of Directors for a half-century. A philanthropist and community organizer, she devoted much of her time to civic causes such as blood drives, the Boy and Girl Scouts, senior citizen events, and the public library.
Another strong influence on the Andersen Board of Directors was Betty Andersen Hulings, who held a deep, abiding interest in the company and served an astounding 60 years on the board, frequently representing Andersen at trade shows, social and networking functions, and other events.
Betty was the granddaughter of Hans Andersen and wife of Bill Hulings, the company’s fourth president. She joined the Board of Directors in 1937—the same year the company changed its name to Andersen Corporation. Betty married Bill, who was a purchasing agent at the time, in 1938. Bill became president in 1968.
Like Kitty, Betty believed strongly in generosity and philanthropy.
Together, Betty Andersen Hulings and her husband Bill lived by the principle, “From those to whom much has been given, much shall be required," and were strong supporters of many arts and educational institutions in the community.
As the daughter of Hans Andersen’s grandson Hugh and Hugh’s wife Jane Krause Andersen, herself a member of the Andersen board, Sarah Andersen grew up immersed in the company culture.
After finishing her education at Carleton College, Sarah served on the boards of several nonprofit organizations while also accompanying her mother to Andersen shareholder meetings. Over the course of five years, Sarah listened, learned and studied the structure and workings of Andersen’s Board of Directors.
In January 1983, Sarah joined the board and began working to transform it into an actual governing body. Because of her dedication and work, the board began to focus on long-term planning and succession for the company’s continued success.
Unsurprisingly, she was elected chair of the board in 1993 and has since become one of the company’s strongest proponents of change.
“Our products make people’s homes and lives better,” Sarah says. “It’s important to me that our business accomplishes something positive and is socially responsible.”
In addition to Kitty, Betty, Jane and Sarah, there were several additional women in the Andersen family who served on the Board of Directors: Mary Hulings Rice and Martha Hulings Kaemmer, daughters of Bill and Betty Hulings, and Christine Andersen, daughter of Hugh and Jane Andersen.
As the full-service window replacement division of Andersen Corporation, a company that has revolutionized the window and door business for more than 115 years, Renewal by Andersen is proud to honor the women who have influenced and continue to influence the corporation today.