WOMEN IN CONSTRUCTION Give us a snapshot of the construction market today?
what I would say is there simply aren’t enough of us out there. We need to get job sites and board rooms used to seeing women in the roles and when in those roles we have to show up and exceed expectations. The challenge is getting a seat at the table. The solution is that more women are placed into roles with exceptional bandwidth—that they create “sponsorship” opportunities and mentors whenever possible—creating space for more women.
The construction industry is stronger than it has ever been, in my opinion. It is one of the biggest drivers of the economy. I would argue one out of five people you talk to are connected to the industry in some way directly or indirectly. I am seeing an uptick in home renovation and remodel projects.
How did you get started in the industry? What’s your story?
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received?
My father and his father (my grandfather) were tile setters and block masons. I would tag along as a little girl and was fascinated with the reality of seeing mud and water transformed into something tangible. I would visit an empty plot of land, and over the course of time, revisit and see huge office buildings and apartment houses. The kicker was that in the 80s and 90s I never saw any women. It piqued my curiosity tremendously.
What is happening to you is happening for you and things don’t just happen-they happen just.
What’s the advice you would share with women just coming up in the industry?
The challenges pertaining to women and opportunities in the industry vary, but primarily, what I would say is there simply aren’t enough of us out there. When I would share my interests with my dad, he would always subtly redirect me to office work ( accounting, secretarial tasks, etc.). That piqued my interests even further. It made me want to delve into how to make my mark as a woman in the brute areas of construction. Fast forward 30 years and here I am.
What are some of the biggest changes you have seen over the past few years?
Technology has undoubtedly reshaped the way things are being done in the industry. From conception to turnkey, developers and project managers are finding new innovative ways to get work tasks completed. Those innovations are then being moved forward into the field and positively impacting time schedules, production times and bottom lines on budgets.
Name some of the opportunities available for women in the industry?
The opportunities for women are endless. We are seeing more women venturing out into the trades. There are more women builders, electricians, plumbers, HVAC subcontractors than ever before. Women work smarter, quite frankly and in my experience tend to work from the head up. I have observed that men are shoulders down when it comes to performing work tasks specific to their trade and where analytical and decision making comes into play, contrary to the belief that women have a hard time making decisions, I am seeing women in leadership roles and forewoman capacities doing the work.
What challenges remain?
The challenges pertaining to women and opportunities in the industry vary, but primarily,
COMMERCIAL CONSTRUCTION & RENOVATION — ISSUE 9, 2021
Lean into your femininity and embrace it as the superpower it is. Trust that you are enough. I am currently working on my autobiography titled, “Woman, You Are Enough,” and it is rooted in this concept.
What’s the biggest lesson the past year has taught you?
This pandemic has taught me the importance of fluidity. Being able to pivot and quickly adjust to any circumstance is important.
What’s the biggest item on your to-do list?
Developing better, more refined systems. I have conditioned myself to simply work and run a business. Never really paying attention to how the business actually runs me. I am finding I want to spend less time toiling in the business and really want to get to a space where I enjoy it all. I would also like to retire at 50. As a result, my to-do list is geared toward making that happen.
The first thing you are going to do when everything gets back to normal?
Quite frankly, I believe this is the New Normal, so my mindset is to adjust and enjoy every moment as it presents itself. To be present in it and remain grateful for it. Some extra travel when the world opens up will be nice too. CCR