Senior vice president of Oregon Hot Tubs, a division of Leslie’s Poolmart
Sue Rogers started her hot tub career at Olympic Hot Tub in Seattle, working under the auspices of Alice Cunningham and Blair Osborn. Rogers says she never felt it was unusual to be a women in this industry, thanks in large part to Cunningham. Still, Rogers was one of the few women who worked in operations.
Rogers left Olympic to purchase Oregon Hot Tub in Portland, Oregon, in 2008. At the time, there were only three or four women on a staff of 33 — but now, she says, it’s half women.
“We have more female salespeople than male salespeople in the company right now,” Rogers says. “Our two sales leaders/sales managers are women.”
Joined the industry in 2001
Rogers says she and her vice president of operations, Steve Ruscigno, didn’t necessarily intend to hire more women specifically, but they did want to make the company more diverse in general.
“Steve and I both believe we should have a diverse team in all ways, all areas,” Rogers says, “because our customer base is diverse in all areas. If we are truly providing great service to our customer base, we should reflect that as much as possible.”
Rogers says having a woman at the top or as part of the executive leadership team makes a company more attractive to women. “Women are going to find that a great place to work, just by the nuance of it,” she says.
At the end of 2019, Rogers sold her company to Leslie’s Poolmart. Oregon Hot Tub now operates as a separate division of Leslie’s, and Rogers says she is still transitioning the company to Leslie’s procedures and processes, a task far more consuming than expected. “So far I like Leslie’s, and ultimately I’d like to be a contributor in a leadership role for growth initiatives for Leslie’s — whatever that looks like,” she says. “That would be my goal.”
And Rogers says when she’s found herself to be the lone woman at an industry event, it hasn’t changed how she’s felt or operated in the hot tub industry. “I don’t know that I spend much energy thinking about that,” Rogers says. “Over time, have I been the only woman in a room? Sure. But that’s been true in essentially most of my work life.”