We’re celebrating Women in Construction Week March 5th-11th! Bet you didn’t know that was a thing, did you? It is. And it gives us the opportunity to spotlight a few of our remarkable Lady Pros who’ve been out there killing it every week leading up to this one.
The first WIC Week was celebrated 24 years ago in 1998, and has grown in popularity and awareness since. Each year has a theme, and the theme for 2023 is “Many Paths, One Mission.”
Women are making a massive difference in one of the largest and most impactful industries in our economy. They made up 11% of the American construction workforce in 2022.1 The number is rising slowly but surely. That’s up from 9% in 2002.2 The bulk of those positions were sales and office staff or professional and management roles.
Behind every one of those numbers is a story. Let’s hear from some of our awesome Lady Pros as they share their powerful stories in their own words.
Irum Rashid-Jones – Owner of Electrician on Call, Conquer Coach
I was a college freshman when I met a handsome electrician. (We’ve now been married for 23 years!). He helped me understand how important his work was to him. Every night when he recapped his day, it sounded like he was a superhero, while my day was inundated by meetings. His career really inspired me, and I knew it was something that I wanted to be a part of. As I learned more, it helped me understand that our industry is really the backbone of this great nation.
I started my career as a “fill in the gaps” team member working alongside my hubby. I worked my way up to becoming an electrical lighting specialist, then climbed up to become the Chief Operations Officer. Now 20+ years later, I’m a founder of our five-star business!
This is proof that hard work pays off and that anything is possible when you put your mind to it!
There are other women out there looking for women like you. Don’t shrink! Shine! Be the light, and you’ll start seeing others in your path that are on the same journey as you!
Collaborate, support, lean in, and most importantly, DO NOT GIVE UP! We need to be present. We can’t just sit behind the scenes.
There isn’t enough representation. So many times, women are overlooked in leadership and impactful roles. There are still many times that our feedback is overlooked. I’m hoping to create a better future for the next generation – because we still have work to do in this one!
Specifically for women in this industry, my mission is to uncover hidden careers in construction that can provide young women with a strong sense of purpose, confidence, and satisfaction. With the right training, resources, and support, young women can make an impact in this industry. That is exactly what I am here to do.
Ana Rivera – CEO of The HVAC Guys
I got into the construction industry (HVAC) to help my husband. I never thought I’d love this industry and have the opportunity to work on such amazing projects.
I’m part of a growing number of women who are breaking down barriers and making a real difference in the field. Women have so much to offer in terms of knowledge and experience, and it’s incredible to see more and more of us being accepted and appreciated.
The biggest challenge I’ve had to overcome has definitely been working with my husband. It was tough to get on the same page. But once we had clear job descriptions and goals, we have done a lot better.
If I could go back in time and speak to my younger self, I would tell her to be confident in her abilities and to make sure she’s taking every opportunity to learn and grow. I would also tell her to never be afraid to take risks and to never let anyone else define her success.
My advice to women interested in a career in the construction industry would be to first do your research. Learn as much as you can about the industry, the various roles and responsibilities, and the different types of projects you could potentially work on. I also recommend reaching out to networks of other women like Lady Pros to gain insight and advice.
We need to create more awareness and education around the various roles and opportunities available. We need to showcase successful female role models who are working in the trades and highlight the advantages of pursuing a career in the industry. Additionally, offering more accessible training and apprenticeships can help to make the construction industry more accessible to women.
Mai Hooper – Cookies Guru of NTX Plumbing
In my previous career, I worked at a company where the management team didn’t think I was good enough for another position. You are not going to have others advocate for you, don’t allow those situations to define you and your future. Speaking up for yourself is the key. Be brave. Be bold, and do not allow the opinions of others to offend you.
My husband and business partner recognized the talents I offered. He gave me an opportunity to join the company and develop as a business owner/partner and visionary leader.
I didn’t work in the field, swinging a hammer or bending pipe. I had to prove as an Asian American woman in this male-dominated industry that I was intelligent and offered talents and skills in different capacities.
I am proud to work in an industry where I can make an impact. We can help evolve it into a better future for the younger generation of women in trades to come. But our generation has to do a better job of showcasing the women of color that have increased in numbers over the last 10+ years. It’s changing the landscape. We need to encourage them to participate in more school career days and career fairs to create awareness of the women in the trades movement.
Atama Dindyal, Owner of Eye Maid, LLC
I got into construction with my husband when we moved to Atlanta in our twenties. He did home remodeling and flooring. During the 2008 recession, we resurrected his company together and rebranded into a flooring installation company.
I learned to network and partnered with local flooring companies and showrooms. Customers loved the personality and the care we offered. It was what set our company apart from others.
When we sold that company, I took those first years of experience in construction and marketing and went back to school for business. In 2016, my husband and I took on a project to renovate an old house vandalized during the recession. It was with that house on Auburn Road that I learned to manage projects and teams to complete our home restoration. The most important thing I learned was teamwork, trust, and quality craftsmanship from both my husband and the trades teams we worked with.
In 2019, I decided to follow my own path and opened my first cleaning business. I put every moment of knowledge I gained into practice starting with trusting my own instincts in business and what’s right for my company and community. It was then I was introduced to Housecall Pro and Lady Pros, and I never missed an opportunity to learn, ask questions, and take notes. I owe my current success to the team that taught me to care about the community I worked for.
My cleaning business still serves the renovation and real estate industries in Atlanta. We were voted Best of Gwinnett for four consecutive years. I now manage my second location in Florida, and in 2024, I’ll launch my Cottage Life business, where I‘ll coach and teach startups to follow their passion for construction and build a successful business with integrity and intention from day one.
They don’t teach you in high school that the trades are more lucrative. Many women leave corporate jobs and join the trades after years of stress. If we had more women telling us to find our passion for the trades, our careers would prosper more. Become your own “Rosie the Riveter.”
I’m most proud to be a woman in the construction industry because I’m breaking barriers for my daughters and all the young women coming into the industry. Women like my friend Darnika, Irum, and many more have been there to lead the way. I know I need to give back as my predecessors have given me.
One challenge I had to overcome was loneliness. It’s lonely when you’re not from a family in construction, first-generation immigrants, and a woman. Lady Pros have become my tribe. Ladies and future women in construction, find your tribe. Support each other, learn together, and take turns at the round table. Together, this is possible.
A dozen glazed and social posts
This first full week in March, we recognize our Lady Pros and all those women out there in hard hats (and regular hats and no hats) helping the construction world go around.
Help us celebrate. Pick up a box of doughnuts or bagels for the break room at work. Or better yet, share your thoughts with us on social media. On Twitter or Instagram, use #WICWeek and pair it with #HCP. We may even retweet or repost you!
Here’s a special thank you to four of our favorite Lady Pros, Irum, Ana, Mai, and Atama.