Katrina Eddy is an active member of the National Association of Landscape Professionals Women in Landscape Network (powered by Bayer) which provides a forum for industry professionals to support each other’s professional growth. The Network is free to all industry professionals.
Photo courtesy of Katrina Eddy

“Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.” This is one of my favorite quotes because I spent so much of my life second-guessing myself about everything.

My interest in the green industry started early when attending Essex Agricultural and Technical High in Hawthorne, Mass., majoring in Natural Resources. While in high school, I was accepted into a program called The SCA (Student Conservation Association), which allowed me to live and work in rural Tennessee and lead the first-ever all-female SCA crew. We spent a month clearing and maintaining a 5-mile section of the Appalachian Trail. We lived with no running water, no electricity, no cell phones.

I went on to attend North Shore Community College, receiving my associate’s degree in horticulture with a minor in business. By the time I was 21 years old, I had my pesticide license, Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC), DOT, Hydraulics License, Arborist Certification, as well as my associate’s degree.

Once I got a taste of success and started to gain confidence in my late teens, I became excited and motivated to build a career in the landscape industry. However, the path forward was not without its challenges. I faced discrimination for being a woman and because I had epilepsy. I have dealt with employers ripping up my resume in front of me and telling me, “We don’t hire girls.” I have opened up to owners and HR managers about harassment and negative experience with co-workers and received little support or none at all. But that didn’t stop me.

In 2021, I opened North Shore Enhancement. I own 100% of my business. We are a full-service landscape and construction company. We offer everything from custom stonework to masonry to property maintenance, shrub trimming and much more. I have learned many helpful things over the years, but I have also learned how NOT to run my company.

Knowing what I’ve gone through has made me more supportive and empathetic. One day while mowing an HOA property, I came across a young girl with a lemonade stand. I walked over to support her small business, which was complete with a small sign about raising money. I inquired about her fundraising efforts, and she said “epilepsy;” she further explained that her medicines were costly. She also shared that she gets picked on for having epilepsy. I knelt down next to her and pointed at my own machine said, “do you want to know a secret?” She lit up and said “yes.” I told her, “I have epilepsy too, and you know what? I was picked on and look at me now. I drive big trucks. I operate cool equipment.” It was satisfying to be able to encourage her while also motivating myself to keep on going.

I’ve made strides since the day I walked into this industry, and I have made my mark. I hope to continue to help women step up get their licenses, degrees and certifications. I’m trying to pave the way for women who maybe think they can’t do it. I want them to know that with hard work, a positive attitude, and by aligning themselves with the right people, women can have a successful career in this industry.

Women in Landscaping is a column brought to you in partnership with the National Association of Landscape Professionals.