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. Continually recruiting and celebrating women in the field during WIC remains important – particularly as the industry faces hiring shortages.
What kinds of challenges have you overcome as a woman in the industry?
Simply having my presence acknowledged as a woman in the earlier years of my career was a challenge.
For example, I’ve been skipped over during meeting introductions with clients. I’ve also encountered people avoiding eye contact with me while speaking and instead looking to the man standing next to me.
I learned very quickly that these interactions were not caused by any self-perceived inadequacy, but were rather a reflection of other people’s bias. Address the bias where possible, and never let it be a hindrance to your development.
Who have been your biggest champions?
I have been very fortunate to have amazing managers in my Turner career that have advocated for and sponsored my professional growth. Most of my managers have been women, and they have all been my greatest champions.
The career advice they have imparted on me comes from a shared perspective. We understand that we are all women in construction and that makes our experiences that much more relatable.
Why did you enter construction?
My love of mathematics drove me to pursue engineering. I later narrowed my focus on construction because I was most interested in the tangibility and the hands-on aspects of the industry.
From a young age, my mother really instilled a love of art in me. My father always challenged my ability to DIY. That combination lends itself well to a career related to the built environment. I find the confluence of design and construction so fascinating.
What advice would you give to women interested in breaking into construction?
Without a doubt, working in a male-dominated industry presents its challenges. However, if you are considering a career in engineering/construction, then you must be the kind of person that enjoys a challenge regardless of gender.
This is my advice: be a champion for yourself. There is great power in knowing your value, expressing your ideas, and advocating for your growth.
To learn this ability, align yourself with compassionate people that demonstrate this quality. After you learn to become a champion for yourself, you can become a champion for the next generation of women entering the construction industry.
“Be a champion for yourself. There is great power in knowing your value, expressing your ideas, and advocating for your growth.”
-Katie Wood, Innovation Engineer, Turner Construction Company
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