Highlighting Women in Construction

According to the National Association of Women in Construction, more than one million women have chosen a career within the construction industry at present. That’s around 10 percent. The path may not be as well-trodden as it is to other industries, but the role of women in construction is growing. “These women, whether they are administrative specialists, general contractors, subcontractors, tradespeople or professionals, are vital elements to the construction process,” says Connie Leipard, immediate past-president of NAWIC.

As the association states, Women in Construction Week (March 4-10) “aims to highlight women as a visible component of the construction industry” and “raise awareness of the opportunities available for women in the construction industry.”

In the spirit of the occasion, we’ve asked just a few of the women at Leopardo to share their stories and advice for the next generation of women leaders within the industry.

 


 

MICHELLE – SENIOR PROJECT MANAGER

Why Construction: My mom really encouraged me to pursue a career in construction.

Advice: My advice for women just starting a career in the industry would be to get a mentor. Many lessons can be learned from someone who has already experienced the same things you will encounter.

 


 

PATTY – SUSTAINABILITY MANAGER

Why Construction: I landed in construction after working as a project assistant at an engineering/architecture firm. It was there that I worked on Leopardo’s first LEED job and did all the documentation for it. This gave me a greater interest and understanding of sustainability in construction and drove me to pursue a degree in environmental management and a career in sustainability. This is still a fairly new field. It wasn’t really around 20 years ago. I have a lot of great mentors that encouraged me and helped me move forward with this.

Advice: Don’t ever think that you need to put away your career goals or aspirations because you want to have a family. If you are a woman who has that desire, you should never let that hold you back professionally. Instead, you coordinate, cooperate and innovate to make that work-life balance happen while still reaching for your goals. It isn’t easy and there will be challenges, but the ability to multitask and figure out how to get it all done is an amazing strength of women.

 


 

CATHY – VICE PRESIDENT, HUMAN RESOURCES

Why Construction: My decision to join a construction company was really about the human capital component and the challenge to be part of history.

Advice: My advice is to be courageous, lead with courage and be confident in what you do.

 


 

ARICA – STRATEGIC ACCOUNTS MANAGER

Why Construction: My father is a retired union carpenter, so construction is in my blood. I helped him knock down walls and lay hardwood floors in our home growing up.

Advice: Women are a minority in construction, but there are many strong, talented and intelligent women that have forged a path for a successful career. Find a mentor that inspires you and learn as much as you can from them.

 


 

NICOLE – SENIOR PROJECT MANAGER

Why Construction: During undergrad, while I was pursuing my Bachelor of Science in architectural studies, it hit me that I liked the model-making portion of the design process far more than the actual design part.

Advice: Stay strong and do not waver in your career goals, no matter what anyone says or how they make you feel. Only you know what you are capable of.

 


LAUREN – DIRECTOR, MARKETING

Why Construction: My parents love to remind me of the year I asked for rocks, dirt and a Tonka truck for my birthday only to burst into tears in the middle of Chuck E. Cheese’s upon receiving only the first two items on my wish list. The toy dump truck was unwrapped shortly thereafter and promptly ended my tantrum. Looking back now, I like to joke that’s where my love for this industry began. Quite honestly though, my career in construction is really a matter of happenstance. The construction industry truly found me. My career in marketing began at a small architecture firm. Since making the transition to construction, I’ve found it to be such a rewarding industry to work in. Being a part of shaping the communities around me and promoting the built environment has proven endlessly exciting and rewarding.

Advice: I’d give a woman starting her career in this industry the same advice I’d give to one starting her career in any industry. Be true to yourself, stay hungry and humble, work hard and have patience with your path.

 


 

YOETZIN – PROJECT ENGINEER

Why Construction: I decided to pursue construction because every day is something new. Construction brings new and interesting challenges with each project and that’s what makes it an exciting career.

Advice: Find a support system in the company you work for or outside of work. Look for someone who can serve as a mentor with more experience to help guide you. Be resilient and never be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

 


 

LAUREN – PROJECT MANAGER

Why Construction: I don’t ever remember wanting to be in any other industry. Originally, I was drawn to architecture, but my personality is much better suited for construction.

AdviceBe confident. You likely know more than you think you do.

 


 

ALI – PROJECT ENGINEER

Why Construction: Being able to collaborate and work with different teams and people to create something people will use every day.

Advice: Don’t be afraid to be wrong or make mistakes. No one is perfect.

 


 

DIANE – PROJECT EXECUTIVE

Why Construction: I originally wanted to be an architect, but ended up going to engineering school instead. As I was working as a design engineer my boss suggested I spend more time in the field learning how things were built so I could better design them. I took his advice to heart and after completing my masters in construction management I transitioned into the construction side of the business.  It is really the creative problem solving, team-oriented people and tangible results that keep me energized about the business.

AdviceYou don’t have to “be one of the guys” to succeed in this business, but you do need to be able to relate to all different kinds of personalities. You can learn something from everyone you come in contact with. Do your homework so you can speak with confidence.

 


 

ANNA – PROJECT MANAGER/ESTIMATOR

Why Construction: I was introduced to the construction industry at a very young age and my interest was sparked.

Advice: Find the right team!