Kicking Off Professional Women in Building Week 2017

Filed in Membership by on September 18, 2017 0 Comments

Today marks the start of NAHB’s second annual Professional Women in Building (PWB) Week, a national celebration of the contributions of women in the residential construction industry. We previously shared some simple ways that members and HBAs can support housing and women in the industry in your local community this week.

Each day this week, NAHB BuilderBooks is giving away one copy of Living Green Effortlessly: Simple Choices for a Better Home. This invaluable resource is written by PWB member Marla Esser Cloos, who is donating proceeds of her book to benefit the NAHB PWB Building Hope Scholarship Fund. Simply complete the entry form for an opportunity to win. You only need to enter once to qualify.

We’ll also feature a daily post highlighting the impact of women in our industry – past, present and future.

Today on Mentoring Monday, we’re focusing on how PWB members are mentoring each other and empowering them to grow professionally and personally.

NAHB PWB Chair Juli Bacon knows how important mentoring is to developing future leaders. One of Bacon’s priorities is building a more robust national mentoring program to increase the number of women leaders on NAHB councils and committees.

Through a structured monthly process, board members connect with local council leaders to help them navigate the vast resources of NAHB and PWB and share best practices. “This effort allows us to learn who our members are and encourage them to take part in the council’s leadership training programs and subcommittees, which serve as a conduit to serving on other NAHB councils and committees.”

While reading these stories, think about opportunities in your community to help diversify the professionals entering our industry and guide them to become leaders.

Greater Atlanta PWB Council: It Takes a Village

Growing up, Suzanne Holman watched her aunt, Meg Thompson, a seasoned new home sales professional, participate in the Atlanta PWB Council. So perhaps it’s not surprising that after graduating from college in May, she pursued a career in new home sales.

To help her get started in the industry, a fellow PWB member, Donna Steakley, VP of Sales for O’Dwyer Homes and the Atlanta PWB’s 2017 treasurer, hired Holman. and has spent the past several months guiding her along her career path. Steakley meets weekly with Holman to share her insight and help train her to become a new homes sales professional. Holman is now taking classes to receive her license.

“This has been great for me as well as for Suzanne,” said Steakley, who noted that Holman has already become active in the Atlanta PWB Council. With strong female role models and mentors in her life, it’s little wonder that she is already well on her way to success.

BIA Bay Area PWB Council: Creating Champions

This year the PWB Council of the BIA Bay Area chose mentorship as its theme, with the tag line, “PWB Helps You Grow.” The council created the Champion Series, which features events throughout the year culminating in the end-of-year Women Leadership Conference.

The council launched the series with the Dine with the Champions dinner. More than 100 attendees heard a panel of mentors and their mentees share their journeys to success. In addition, one “champion” was seated at each table to discuss her own journey and overcoming struggles.

This successful event paved the way for more casual and intimate events: Drinks with a Champion, Dessert with a Champion, Cheers to a Champion and Become a Champion. Each celebrated one or two industry leaders — Hall of Fame inductees, presidents of large architectural firms and CEOs — who shared their journeys to success.

Each mentoring event concluded with a casual networking mixer to help members make new connections and expand their networks.

“We were able to bring a diverse group of champions from a wide spectrum of professions, which was very well received,” said Mitu Walia, Forward Planning Manager, Lennar Homes of California and the 2017 President of the Bay Area PWB.  “For example, we explored the mentor-mentee relationship with a mother ready to retire and a daughter ready to take on the leadership position. We also had very young champions who taught us how to seize opportunities and climb up the ladder quickly.”

HBA of Northern Michigan PWB Council: Empowering Future Leaders

PWB Chair Geri Nelson was inspired by the NAHB PWB 2017-2019 Strategic Plan and knew she needed to make it relevant for her members, too. “I decided to help mentor our local council and bring the strategic plan concept down to our local council,” said Nelson. “Rather than have the officers create our plan, we had two planning sessions with any PWB council members who could make the meetings.”

Guided by a facilitator, the sessions helped the council think about its goals and ways to give back to the community and engage local members, while also having fun and growing both personally and professionally.

Nelson realized that with so many PWB members working on and sponsoring other HBA events and chairing committees, the council should also spend time appreciating each other and the council’s contributions. “Our local PWB is taking time out this year to have some fun…to thank our members for all their volunteer time and efforts.” 

Nelson believes this new approach to strategic planning worked well for the council. “With everyone involved in the planning sessions, they felt like they were a part of something and were engaged. We have new officers stepping up in 2018 and this will help guide our new chair on what our local council wishes to achieve over the next several years.”

In addition to recognizing the role of women in the industry this week, NAHB is also honoring the contributions of the Federation’s Associate members during Associate Member Appreciation Month. Meet some of the national Associate leaders.

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