Inspiring Women in Construction: Role Models for the Next Generation
For every 100 individuals who work in construction, only about nine of them are female.
This gender imbalance is even more lopsided for construction laborers (those individuals working in the field to build our future communities, cities and landscapes).
Each year, the National Association of Women in Construction hosts Women in Construction Week to raise awareness of the growing impact of females on the industry, and to highlight the breadth of opportunities available to them.
In honor of #WICWeek2019 (March 3-9), I reached out to a few clients, colleagues and friends, inviting them to answer the question: “What makes construction a great career option for women?”
It’s hard not to be inspired by the passionate, thoughtful perspectives of these construction role models.
‘Just Go for It’
“My advice for any woman considering going into construction is to just go for it. As a little girl, no one ever talked to me about the possibility of a career in construction, but now I couldn't imagine working in any other industry. The sense of accomplishment you feel when a project is complete that you had a hand in building is second to none.”
– Jennifer Sproul, business development manager, Barton Malow
Technology Expands Opportunities
“Construction offers so much opportunity for women. The industry is growing and needs more diverse talents to meet the needs of today’s complex construction projects. Technology, in particular, is becoming a key to successful construction delivery, providing new career opportunities beyond the traditional construction management or construction labor roles.”
– Erin Valentine, director, McCarthy Building Companies
‘It Doesn’t Get Any More Impactful’
“Construction is a great career option for anyone who likes working in a team, finding solutions to complex projects and making an impact every day. There are lots of opportunities to grow and learn new skills not only around the technical aspect of building buildings but also business, communication and leadership. I love that every day is different, and I get the chance to work on technically challenging and sustainable projects for customers who are changing the world we live in. It doesn’t get any more impactful than that.”
– Jody Quinton, management committee member, DPR Construction
The Stars Are Aligned
“Construction is forever becoming more technical, more collaborative and more team-based. Anyone in construction must be a resilient problem solver, but those that are relentless planners, strong communicators and empathetic leaders are the rising stars. I think many women possess these skills—and combined with an industry that's craving diversity—the stars are aligned for women to make a meaningful impact to construction.”
– Melanie Taylor, general manager, central operations, The Boldt Company
‘Not Just Hard Hats, Tools and Heavy Equipment’
“To me, construction is a great career for anyone who’s interested. It’s not just hard hats, tools and heavy equipment. It’s understanding time management, markets, economy growth, codes, communication, psychology, relationships, technology and—most important—understanding common sense.”
– Siobhan Pearson, Estimator, Structure Tone
The Time is Now
“There has never been a better time for women to pursue a career in this exciting industry. After a history of glass ceilings and brick walls, we now have the opportunity to build the structure we want for generations to come. I am proud of the pursuits I lead, the teams I work with and the places we build.”
– Kristyn Newbern, business development manager, S. M. Wilson & Company
Strong, Purposeful Relationships
“Construction is a great career for women because it is an industry centered around relationships. It takes strong purposeful relationships with our trade partner, clients, design partners and team members to deliver successful projects. At the end of the project, all involved can physically see the results of their efforts—providing a building that becomes part of its community.“
– Iana Tassada, vice president, JE Dunn Construction
Women are Naturals
“I only wish I had understood what an amazing industry the construction profession offered years earlier in my career. Women are naturals for many of the critical roles in this field. Opportunities for leadership positions are numerous. Everything from a project engineer to a project executive call for the natural skillsets of women—organization, communication, ability to read people and situations, attention to detail and the ability to see the ultimate big picture.
“Not only is the profession one that will enable you to be part of a team to create space that will be used for years to come, but you also will often have an opportunity to put your mark on the future of a city, making connections for how people will live, work and play.”
– Ann Althoff, project executive, Clayco