Celebrating International Women’s Day and Women in Construction Week

Today is International Women’s Day, a day of advocacy for women’s rights and equality around the world. Incredible strides have been made in the last year towards creating a more inclusive society for all. Countries with women leaders received praise for their effectiveness in facing the COVID-19 pandemic and Kamala Harris became the first female Vice President of the United States, but there is still much to be done.  

This week is also Women in Construction Week, celebrating the contributions of those who make up just 10% of the industry. On Thursday, March 11, HPM will host HPM Talks: Women in Construction, a webinar that brings together a panel of HPM women leaders to discuss why they pursued careers in the industry, and the successes and challenges they have experienced along the way. The panel will explore the power of mentorships, managing work/life balance, and why having a seat at the table as a woman matters now more than ever. It is important to challenge career stereotypes and encourage women to seek career opportunities in construction. One way we can do this is by highlighting the incredible women who work at HPM and inviting them to share advice for other women in the industry. 

What is the best advice a female mentor or colleague has given you and how has it motivated you in your career? 

“As women, we are often juggling a lot of different things at one time – work, career, laundry, kids, making sure everyone is fed, volunteering, mentoring, wedding planning, party planning, gift shopping, card writing, phone calls, etc. Sometimes it can be overwhelming, and you are left thinking – how in the world can I get everything done? Should I just stop doing all these things? A wise woman once told me, “I’ve learned that I often have a lot of balls that I have to keep rolling and they may not all be rolling at the max speed needed, but as long as I can keep the balls rolling, I can make it.” This has really stuck with me and encouraged me to keep going when it’s hard to keep track of everything that needs to be done! You can do it!” 

Medora Gaddes, HPM Project Manager 

“A friend once said, “Don’t compare yourself to others and don’t undermine or apologize for any success that you worked hard to achieve.”   

Heather Lochridge, HPM Project Manager 

What is one piece of advice you would share with a young woman who is starting her career? 

“My piece of advice that I would share to young women starting their career is to raise your hand.  

Raise your hand to offer your opinions. You have a viewpoint that no one else in the room has. Make a point to contribute if you have a contrary opinion or value to add to the conversation. This also includes standing up for what you think is right. Use your voice. 

Raise your hand to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to show your vulnerabilities by revealing what you don’t know. You will have to learn the skills to fake it till you make it, but equally important is the amount of knowledge that you take away from a job. Learn everything you can from your coworkers, your boss, and your clients. It will make the difference later. 

Raise your hand to volunteer. Take advantage of every opportunity you are given. It may be scary and out of your comfort zone. There will certainly be opportunities that challenge you, but those are going to prepare you for the future by broadening your knowledge, strengthening your relationships, and shaping you as a leader.” 

Sydney Unruh, HPM Marketing Coordinator 

“I would encourage that person to start their 401K retirement and start putting in money and increase their contribution percentage every year they will be very happy they did when they hit their 40’s & 50’s.” 

Judy Adkins, HPM Senior Administrative Assistant 

“You make choices – and then your choices make you. You will become like the people you spend the most time with. Look for friends and mentors that talk about ideas – not people. These are the men and women that will encourage you to reach your goals and help you grow.” 

Heather Lochridge, HPM Project Manager