Howard Building Corporation news


Women in Construction: In Review and Moving Forward


As we close out Women’s History Month this year, we’d like to reiterate that the progress we’ve made will help propel us forward for the work we have yet to do. HBC has made great strides in recruiting, training, and promoting female industry leaders and, as a result, we’ve seen the following positive changes:

  • In 2020, we welcomed Genevieve West as our first female Vice President.
  • Olivia Crever, one of HBC’s Directors of Client Relations, was nominated as a 2021 Woman of Influence by the Los Angeles Business Journal.
  • Genevieve West (HBC), Tenille Bettenhausen (AISC), and Rosalie Zoll (Mind OC) led a roundtable discussion at NAWIC’s Women in Construction Week 2021 to discuss why mentorship matters. The trio discussed the power of connecting, networking, and making allies in the industry.
  • Women currently represent 27% of HBC, which is double the national average.
  • Even during the pandemic, we have been able to support and participate in women-led community organizations, such as the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) and Women in Construction Operations (WiOPS).

Earlier this month, we sat down with some of the women at HBC to learn about their experience, along with their advice to younger women just starting out. Here are some of the key takeaways about how to be successful in the industry:

“You have to be very persistent. Not taking no for an answer but finding a way to get to the next level, actively pursuing and seeking out the educational opportunities that can help you learn about what you need to get to the next level. It’s definitely not going to be handed to you. You have to look for it, find it, seek it out.”
– Sharon Christensen, Administration Manager

“There are organizations within every industry that support the industry. And for us that would be CoreNet, IIDA, or ULI, for example. I wish I would’ve joined one of those as a student because it gives you introductions to key industry players … and it exposes you to terminology that you wouldn’t necessarily get in the classroom. Another benefit that plays into those student memberships is they are usually a very small fee, if not completely waived, as those organizations are always trying to encourage younger membership and get more people into the field, especially women in construction.”
– Olivia Crever, Director of Client Relations

“There is always something we can learn from everyone, no matter if they’re a client, a subcontractor, someone you meet on the street, there’s always something we can learn. And if your mind is filled up with thoughts of being offended because of how they’re thinking about you, or they’re not looking at you the way you feel you should be viewed … all of these things that take up mental real estate… you’re going to miss the opportunity to learn and grow from these interactions. Because at the end of the day, what they think of you doesn’t affect who you are unless you let it.”
– Niki Protz, Project Manager

To continue to make progress, we will look for opportunities to create a workplace that encourages, supports, and promotes women. These opportunities include providing career development and mentorship resources and championing the strength and success of women at HBC.