In celebration of Women in Construction Week (WIC), we’re recognizing female industry leaders and trailblazers who are paving the way for women in the industry. With women comprising only 10% of the construction workforce, there is only one woman for every 100 employees on the field or the front lines of the jobsite. In this post, we speak with Chief Construction Officer Carrie Cassidy of Sustainable Living Innovations (SLI).
What got you into the construction industry?
I was one of those kids who loved Legos over Barbie. I considered careers in art and architecture but neither felt like a good fit. A few years after high school, I moved to Seattle and got a job with a general contractor as a site secretary. I fell in love with being on the construction site and a year later I got a degree in Construction Management.
Who have been your biggest champions?
My biggest champion was the general superintendent at the construction company I worked at for 25 years. He watched out for me like a father would and gave me both personal and professional advice. He was always my biggest advocate at work. When he retired, I was able to thank him for everything he had done for me. I’m grateful for that because he passed away a couple years later. I still think about him often and can still remember the sound of his laugh.
What challenges have you overcome as a woman in the industry?
The hardest thing to overcome has been my own self-doubt and fighting the “imposter syndrome” that is often prevalent in the minds of both men and women leaders. It took me a long time to feel like I belong here. I’ve also had to overcome pressure to conform to the generally accepted view of what a construction leader should look and act like, and to have the courage to be myself.
What advice would you give to women that want to break into construction?
Don’t let fear stop you; let fear motivate you. It will not always be easy but it will almost always be fun and so rewarding. You will learn so much about yourself and how much you are capable of. It will take grit, determination, humility, and hard work. And, someday you’ll be able to point to a project you were involved with and tell your grandchildren: “I did that!”
“You will learn so much about yourself and how much you are capable of. It will take grit, determination, humility, and hard work. And, someday you’ll be able to point to a project you were involved with and tell your grandchildren: ‘I did that!'”
-Carrie Cassidy, Chief Construction Officer, Sustainable Living Solutions
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