Business Growth

Dominique Stumpf: ‘Women will just figure it out’

Eddie Wooten
May 02, 2024
5 min read
Dominique Stumpf: ‘Women will figure it out’
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Another in a series

She gets stuff done. 

That's Dominique Stumpf, the chief executive officer of the National Pest Management Association.

But Stumpf also believes that about women in the pest control industry.

"There's not going to be hesitation or stalling or trying to recruit people to get it done," Stumpf says. "Women will just figure it out. And they're going to wrangle their friends and colleagues and say, 'Let's make this happen.'"

Making things happen has been Stumpf's calling card for 27 years—the past seven as the leader—of an association that supports the pest management industry's commitment to the protection of public health, food and property.

NPMA will celebrate women in the pest control industry during its annual Women's Forum on May 7-9 in Atlanta. 

And one of NPMA’s Strategic Partners, FieldRoutes, is doing similarly over these next four weeks in publishing this series, “Showcasing Women In Pest Control.” Seven women with different roles in the pest control industry will be featured in Q&As, and Stumpf will lead the way.

Two accomplishments, above others, rank as Stumpf’s most significant as the NPMA CEO. One was helping her team and her industry navigate the pandemic. 

"The other proudest accomplishment is really advancing women and allowing for the opportunity to be inclusive in the industry," Stumpf says. 

Stumpf recently discussed her career and how her organization is forging a path to welcome more women into the pest control industry.

My position

Chief executive officer

National Pest Management Association, Fairfax, VA

“The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) represents 5,000 members across the globe.

“I am charged with setting and meeting NPMA’s objectives and strategies for growth and continued success. While guiding the industry into the future, I am also responsible for the financial health and growth of the organization as well as continuing and building strong relationships with members, state associations, affiliated organizations, and other key stakeholders.

“I also serve on the Quality Pro board of directors, Professional Pest Management Alliance board of directors, the Pest Management Foundation board of trustees, in addition to serving as an officer of the Global Pest Management Coalition.”

Years in the pest control industry


A career I once envisioned 

“From my teenage years through college, my sights were on law school. But the path of ‘lawyering’ found me wanting something different where I could make a difference by helping others succeed.”

How I got into the pest control industry

“Ha, like everyone else not born into it, a job ad! Seriously, I had finished my MA in Policy & Campaign Management and set my sights for Washington, D.C. After a short run working for a political party, I decided to change paths … not sure where I was going but it was outside of the Beltway. And then NPMA (then NPCA) found me!”

What the pest control industry is all about for me

“My journey with NPMA has included many roles, starting as an executive assistant to the meetings manager, running the convention, meetings and professional development/leadership programs. Through each of them I found my groove helping NPMA team members in serving our members in their different roles and ultimately helping members in their growth paths, personally and professionally. My a-ha moment came when someone actually said, ‘What is your why?’ and I didn’t hesitate to say the people, the amazing team I get to serve, and the members who are genuinely like family—family who care, nurture, and support one another.”

The biggest misconceptions about women in pest control

“One of the biggest misconceptions about women in pest control is that it's a male-dominated industry and that women may not be as capable or knowledgeable in this field. However, the truth is that women bring unique perspectives, skills, and expertise to the table, making significant contributions to the industry's success.”

My mentors

“I have had the great fortune to have many, but for the sake of brevity I will mention two. First is Judy Dold, who showed me that women could make a difference in the pest control industry by being a professional, a positive force, but with grace. I’m still learning. My second is Cindy Mannes. I have learned so much about passion, bringing the best out of others, and, wow, tenacity. Watch out when something is hot and needs to be done!”

My thoughts on leadership

”In a leadership role, it's not always about getting it done, it's how you get it done. I don't want to be the one saying, 'Do it because I said to do it.' I want to be like, 'Hey, this is the vision. This is where we want to go. How do you guys think we should get there?' And so trying to create that sense of ownership and through collaboration where people feel like, 'OK, I know where I'm going, and I had a part in saying how I could get there.'"

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The benefits of organizations for or led by women

“Women-led or women-focused organizations in the pest control industry provide invaluable support, mentorship, and networking opportunities. Groups like Professional Women in Pest Management (PWIPM) create a space where women can connect, share experiences, and empower each other, ultimately advancing their careers and fostering inclusivity within the industry.

"We do lots of things (at NPMA), whether it be education and content, trade shows, and those are all extremely valuable. I don't think anybody would say don't do those.

"But the thing that's most important is building a network. And it's not just a network for the sake of ‘making my business better.’ That's just the outcome. It's building relationships that are meaningful, that really impact them as a person in their lives and then ultimately help them be a better business person or a better human.

"It's super-important. For women, it's a natural thing. Women are more inclined to want to be a part of something and have a network. That's just my life experiences.

"Women really do thrive in environments where they feel connected."

The biggest challenges

“When I hear ‘challenges overcome,’ I think, ‘What opportunities did we seize?’ Navigating a pandemic, how to ensure we could continue operating, serving the industry, making sure they could still serve their communities and keep their employees safe. We learned so much about ourselves, about our pest control community and how much we could achieve when collaboration with intent of maintaining all programs was the foundation established. 

“Most recently, as some including myself would say, COVID is so yesterday; what does the future look like? Societal changes and demands pushed us to become more open, better listeners, and I am eager to learn how we could embrace a culture that thrived on inclusivity, diversity, and equity in our industry. With leadership support and membership engagement, a passion and commitment was apparent in the Inclusion, Diversity & Equity Strategic Plan. This has created an opportunity that I have already seen and felt so much growth, and I am excited about the future.”

The biggest opportunities

“The biggest opportunity ahead for the pest control industry lies in embracing diversity and inclusivity fully. By actively recruiting, retaining, and promoting women and other underrepresented groups into pest control, we can tap into a broader talent pool, drive innovation, and better meet the needs of our diverse customer base.”

On the makeup of the NPMA staff

"We do have a strong female presence in our organization. And that has definitely changed over the years. 

"We've got some great men in our organization. But over the past five years I definitely have noticed. 'Wow, it's all women up here. What's happening?' It's just one of those things: How did that happen? We're always looking for the best, and it's the candidates who come forward who are always the ones we're going to want to bring into our organization to serve the members.”

A woman's superpower in pest control

“A woman's superpower in pest control lies in her attention to detail, empathy, and strong communication skills. These qualities enable women to excel in various aspects of the job, from accurately diagnosing pest issues to effectively educating and communicating with clients.”

My advice to a woman starting out

“My advice for a woman starting a pest control career is to believe in yourself, embrace lifelong learning, and seek out mentors and allies who can support and guide you along the way. Don't be afraid to challenge stereotypes and pave your path in this dynamic and rewarding industry.”

What I'd like for people to know about the pest control industry

"We're a big family who likes to kill bugs."

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