Shared Values: Interview with Tools & Tiaras founder and plumber Judaline Cassidy

Image Jena Cumbo

Image Jena Cumbo


 A hard-working plumber, union representative and director of the non-profit organisation ‘Tools & Tiaras’, Judaline Cassidy is devoted to inspiring and mentoring young girls who wish to break into the construction industry. Judaline exposes the next generation of female construction workers to hands-on projects that let them shine brightly in traditionally male-dominated trades.

Judaline Cassidy’s inspirational life can be summed up by a series of ’firsts’. Born in Trinidad and Tobago, and now a New York resident, Judaline was one of the first three women to be accepted into the John Donaldson Technical Institute’s plumbing programme. Since then she has become not only one of the first women to be accepted into the Plumbers Local Union 371 in Staten Island, but also the first woman to be elected onto the examining board of Plumbers Local Union No. 1 in New York City.

One of my core values is... I totally believe that we should be impeccable with our words. Meaning, when you say you're going to do something, do it. If you’re not able to do it, just say you can’t.

Despite all the overwhelming changes going on in the world, I am optimistic because... the good people in the world will rise to the occasion and do what is right. If not, I'll continue to be a part of the resistance.

As a public speak and plumber, I think it is important to encourage young girls into a trade because... that is where the money's at. You get paid while learning your craft. Before becoming an awesome, talented and skilled plumber, I lacked self-confidence, but becoming a tradeswoman enabled me to own the power inside me that was always there. Placing tools in a young girl’s hands will give her confidence, independence, and most of all, power. Then she’ll become an unstoppable woman.

I struggle with... knowing that I'm good enough at what I do. There's a voice inside that's sometimes louder than every other voice; it keeps saying, "You're not enough." I try to silence it by saying, “I am, I am.”

I find strength in... the sisterhood. We can only increase our numbers within traditionally male-dominated fields when we ’lean in’ for each other, not just ourselves. Our male co-workers have always helped each other out; can you imagine the ripple effect across the world if we truly started believing in the sisterhood?