Empowering Her: How Cintas Became an Employer of Choice for Women

With influential recognitions, employee-partner perspectives and programs made specifically for women, Cintas continues to prove it’s invested in creating an equitable workplace for women.
Mar 8, 2024 9:00 AM ET
International Women's Day

Diverse experiences and perspectives make Cintas the organization that it is today. This has come from intentionally creating a strong culture and committing to developing an environment where employee-partners can thrive. This commitment extends to women, ensuring they have opportunities for success within the organization and to grow professionally and personally. 

Taking these steps has helped Cintas become an employer of choice for women which has been evident in numerous ways, including being recognized by Newsweek as one of America’s Best Workplaces for Women in 2024. This prestigious recognition highlights companies that prioritize and support women in their workplaces. Over 142,000 female employees across the country were interviewed and provided insights and experiences on corporate culture, working conditions and other aspects of their current employer and other companies they are familiar with. 

Cintas was also measured on metrics across different categories that women believed to be crucial in the workforce, including compensation, work-life balance and proactive diversity management. 

Earning this recognition shows how employee-partners and peers view Cintas positively, but more importantly, that women partners see and feel this support in action. 

Karen Carnahan, currently a member of Cintas’ Board of Directors, is a former 35-year Cintas employee-partner who has seen firsthand how women partners have achieved high-level recognition and authority within the organization.

She joined Cintas in 1979 as an accountant and rose to Vice President and Treasurer, then Vice President of Corporate Development, before being tapped as President and COO of the company’s former Document Management business. 

She credits Cintas for investing in DEI and creating opportunities for women. Carnahan’s journey within the company demonstrates the growth and support available to women at Cintas.

“I'm so proud of what Cintas has achieved in diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Carnahan. “As a board member, we hear about the robust plans in that area, and they're just phenomenal. I'm proud to be a part of it as a board member and to help lead it. I'm also equally excited to see diverse employee-partners, including women, achieve some of the highest-level positions in the company, unbelievable recognition, increased responsibility, and authority, and to have the opportunity to take that next step in their career at Cintas.”

Investing in women's professional growth is crucial and has come through various ways like mentorship programs, leadership training and the Partner Business Resources Group (PBRG) named WAVE. 

WAVE, an acronym for Women Adding Value Everywhere, is firmly rooted in lifting all women and has a sophisticated approach to networking, idea-sharing and mentoring to help create a workplace where more women lead and engage.

The goal of WAVE is to provide its women employee-partners with a resource where they can connect with other partners who share similar experiences, create a network for professional and personal development and empower each other through challenges they may face. 

The group utilizes many resources like monthly development calls, LinkedIn and quarterly and annual meetings. The meeting held every other quarter, called Taste of Cintas, showcases a different division or department within Cintas and highlights a leader and their job responsibilities and accomplishments. The annual meeting, called Push Pull, allows employee-partners to network and listen to different women partners give seminars about their experiences and developing skills. 

These resources have been important in amplifying women’s voices and inspiring positive change through collaboration and community. 

With influential recognitions, employee-partner perspectives and programs made specifically for women, Cintas continues to prove it’s invested in creating an equitable workplace for women. Doing so has not only helped the organization retain exceptional women partners but it has also helped propel the business forward. 

The collective power of bringing together women with unique perspectives is a powerful tool that continues to propel Cintas forward as an employer of choice for women.

To learn more about Cintas and its DEI initiatives, click here.