Many Paths, One Mission: Women Leading in Construction

NAWIC president Lauline Mitchell shares her vision, Many Paths, One Mission, for the organization and for women leading in construction.

Many Paths, One Mission: Women Leading in ConstructionOn September 11, 1953, NAWIC was founded by 16 women in construction in Fort Worth, Texas seeking support in the male-dominated field. Much has changed since then. NAWIC now has 5,500 members across the nation, with affiliated organizations in other countries. Recent figures from the Department of Labor indicate there are more than 1 million women working in the construction industry—in the trades, project management, marketing, administration, executive leadership, and in construction-related industries, such as finance and legal. The gender pay gap in construction is also among the lowest by occupation. As NAWIC nears a half a century of service, president Lauline Mitchell has laid out her vision, Many Paths, One Mission, for the future of the organization and women leading in construction.

“I am determined to enlarge and elevate the female footprint within our industry using NAWIC as a basis for their support. We should relentlessly strive to represent the best of women in construction,” she said. At the Annual Conference in August, Lauline shared her goals for NAWIC for the upcoming year: improve organization infrastructure to provide better assistance to members, grow and retain membership with a goal of 10,000 members, and raise awareness of NAWIC as a well-known name within the industry.

Women leading in construction
“Currently, our biggest challenge is a lack of women at the top,” Mitchell adds. “We can continue to do what we do to build leaders and encourage them to take up the mantle and advocate for NAWIC membership to become commonplace within their organizations.”

Networking, mentorship, and education – hallmarks of NAWIC membership – are key for women leading in construction. Some other ways Lauline sees NAWIC accomplishing this mission include outreach and partnership with other industry organizations, improved communications with an updated national website and support for chapters, and a national awareness campaign to reach women new to the field as well as experienced women in construction.

To inspire the next generation of women leading in construction, she sees the work of the NAWIC Education Foundation and the NAWIC Founders Scholarship Foundation as vital and would like to see chapters expand initiatives such as outreach to local vocational schools and colleges with construction courses.

On her role as president of NAWIC
As Director of Preconstruction for BBI Construction in Oakland, CA and a NAWIC member for 13 years, Lauline knows about women leading in construction. Her strength is that “persistence and pragmatism allow me to see multiple sides of issues and find creative commonalities to build consensus and unify discussions. I’d like to believe that I continue to bring alternate perspectives and the promotion of positive thoughts to those discussions.”

She added, “In ancient mythology, women grow into themselves in 3 phases: from maiden to mother to sage, each striving to develop to our fullest possible potential. NAWIC is hitting its own stride, too, at 50 years of nurturing women in construction, and I hope to see us become sages.”

The National Association of Women in Construction builds women leaders in construction. NAWIC provides professional development, education, networking, and leadership training, for women in construction of all experience levels. NAWIC has 118 chapters throughout the United States – international affiliates, too. Membership is open to any woman in construction. Several membership options are available for flexible pricing and membership terms. To learn more about how we support women in the industry and inspire future women leaders in construction, contact us through social media, or our website.