Welcome to Owner Impacts, a series dedicated to showcasing innovations, solutions, and leadership driven by our employee-owners—and powered by our people-first culture.

In celebration of Women in Construction Week, we asked some of the many talented Shawmut women from across the country about how they started in construction, changes they see happening in the industry, and how construction can attract more female talent. Here’s what they said.


What led you to work in construction?

“Almost all of the men in my family—dad, uncles, cousins—have worked in the industry, across different sectors. Growing up, I loved hearing about the jobs they were working on and seeing the process. I’ve known since elementary school that I wanted to work in the industry and show that it’s not just for the boys. I went to school for architectural engineering, but quickly realized my skillset was better suited for construction. I already felt very comfortable on a jobsite, so I shifted gears and started a concentration in construction management—and haven’t looked back since.”


Before starting your career in construction, did you have any wrong preconceptions about working in the industry?

“I thought I would have a hard time breaking into the boy’s club. While there are fewer women in this industry, the women that are here are strong, supportive, and make sure the lack of numbers does not equal a lack of respect and share of voice. I also thought workers onsite would brush me aside as a young woman. Once I started asking questions and showing an interest in learning from their expertise, they were more than willing to teach me—which has greatly helped me in my career.”


How can construction attract more qualified female candidates?

“Construction companies need to bolster outreach in high schools and colleges, especially at all-girls schools. But the issue starts way before. As a society, we need to acclimate girls to design and construction in childhood. For example, look at the ways children are expected to play given their gender. Boys play with Legos and blocks, while girls play with dolls and kitchen sets. Rather than just playing with dolls, girls should be encouraged to design and build dollhouses. It’s not about attracting qualified female candidates but about building them from the ground up.” 


What is the most important change happening in the construction industry?

“Right now, the most important change in the construction industry is the growth of organizations that are focused on enhancing diversity and inclusion and addressing the disparities for women and minority groups. This change creates opportunities for organizations and individuals to invest in their community and be part of the change.”


How can construction attract more qualified female candidates?

“Offering perks such as extended paid parental leave, remote work, flexible hours, childcare benefits and options, and support groups for working parents can all make qualified female candidates feel more welcome in a largely male-dominated industry. These perks are great for the overall employee experience and can help attract and retain top talent.”