Here’s a round-up of female construction leaders to watch in 2022.
Amanda (Mandi) Richalle Kime, Director of Safety, Associated General Contractors of Washington
As Director of Safety, Kime, a working mom, oversees the AGC of Washington’s Safety Team program. Created in 1990, the Safety Team program promotes the safe work environments of participating members, through program consultations and regular jobsite audits, to ensure compliance with industry standards and government regulations. This female construction leader also serves as co-chair of the AGC of America Chapter Safety Leadership committee and was a speaker at the Associated General Contractors of America’s 2022 annual convention. “I wish that someone had come to me earlier in my career and said, ‘You can do it all.’ Unapologetically. You can be married and have kids (if that’s your journey), or you can do none of that. Other people don’t get to dictate to you what your potential is,” Kime said in this feature from Construction Business Owner. “If you’re a working mom, let’s face it, everyone wants you to act like you don’t have a job, but then you are supposed to turn around and work like you don’t have kids. You have to set appropriate boundaries and have a good balance. You can still kick ass at a lot of things.”
Lisa Ballerini, President, Montana Construction
A veteran female construction leader featured as a 2022 Construction Champion in this Construction Dive article, Ballerini grew her family’s business into a certified New Jersey Women’s Business Enterprise, Engineering News-Record New York’s Top Specialty Contractor, and a North Jersey Top Workplace. She began at age 19 by preparing bids, collecting materials and delivering them to jobsites. Soon she had increased sales from $183,000 to $839,000 in one year, and in 1999 was named President and CFO. “As a woman who has thrived in a male-dominated industry, Lisa actively supports the personal and professional growth of female peers. She believes in giving women an equal opportunity to manage and lead in her company, and is supportive of hybrid schedules and accommodations,” wrote her nominator in the article.
Rita Brown, President, Brown Construction Collective
For Brown, a mother of five who has spent much of her life in the construction industry, equity and inclusion are crucial to developing the next generation of female construction leaders. “It’s about making things happen for ourselves as women, and not waiting for somebody else to come along and benevolently ‘empower’ us,” Brown said in this feature from Construction Business Owner. “The word ‘empower’ implies women might somehow not be capable of something before being given help to get there.” That’s why she created Project Accelerate, a free program to help Detroit-area women learn about career options and gain valuable knowledge in the construction industry. She was named one of 12 Women Who Are Changing the Home Improvement Industry in BobVila.com
Brown has received many accolades for her work, including a Founder’s Trophy from NAWIC and the opportunity to discuss Project Accelerate at the White House in 2017.
Blue Coble, Quality Manager, McCarthy
Coble is a Quality Manager for McCarthy but got her start in the ironworkers union ten years ago. In an article celebrating McCarthy Women in Construction, Coble shares, “When I got into construction, I didn’t know anything about it. My learning curve was steep, and many days were spent questioning my life choices. As time went on, I met a lot of people who provided good advice, knowledge or even helped commiserate. If it weren’t for all those people, I wouldn’t have survived, so I want to be someone that will be there when someone else needs a hand. Regardless of whether the impact is big or small, I know every little moment can help, and I’d love to be a part of someone’s success story.”
We couldn’t agree more! Mentorship is critical to building female construction leaders. The National Association of Women in Construction offers opportunities for mentorship for women construction workers new to the industry and those ready to develop their skills to become female construction leaders.
Nikki Divers, Senior Project Management, U.S. CAD
“Working in the field provides a tremendous amount of knowledge, which can transfer to other areas in the construction industry. The opportunities are endless for what the construction industry has to offer!” Divers should know. Before leading U.S. CAD’s Project Management team, she was a Service Manager for a snowmaking equipment manufacturer, a licensed electrician, and a project manager overseeing BIM coordination projects and training subcontractors.
In this article from U.S. CAD celebrating Women in Construction, Divers said, “The biggest obstacle for women trying to enter the construction industry is the general lack of exposure to this being a career path. This is in part due to a lack of representation. Construction is not a line of work that women naturally migrate since they don’t see a lot of other women in this line of work. The biggest obstacle for women trying to build their careers in the construction industry is gender bias within the work culture. Since women are typically underrepresented, they often don’t receive the same opportunity as men to grow their careers.”
The National Association of Women in Construction builds female construction leaders.
Whether you are just starting out or you are an established female construction leader like the women featured above, the National Association of Women in Construction provides women construction workers with opportunities for professional development, education, networking, leadership training, and public service. NAWIC has 117 chapters throughout the United States – and even has ties internationally. Membership is open to any women in construction throughout the industry. Members can connect with other women construction workers and find educational materials and training resources to help them build more confidence in their abilities and develop leadership skills. Any women in construction interested in joining NAWIC can apply for membership by using either the online form or downloadable application to fill out and mail in. Several membership options are available for flexible pricing and membership terms. To learn more about our work to unite construction women in the industry and inspire future female construction leaders through membership with NAWIC, contact us through our social media pages, or our website.