March is Women’s History Month and throughout the month NAHB’s Professional Women in Building (PWB) Council will be highlighting women, past and present, who have made and continue to make positive impacts and blaze trails in the home building industry.
This year, there are at least seven female local HBA presidents across the country who are either the first-ever female president at their respective HBA or the first female president in several decades. Today, we are highlighting three of these seven women and their achievements.
Pierrette Tierney became the first female president of the Park City Area HBA in 2019. She was a founding member of the first PWB chapter in Utah and has been impressed with the women in Utah and their drive to engage and improve the industry.
Throughout her career, there were times when it was challenging for her to be the only female voice on an operating team or in an executive meeting. She worked through struggles she experienced by reminding herself that her opinion mattered, and that the diversity was critical for more global success. She admits that although she may have had to work a little harder or learn more than her male counterparts in order to feel like a voice of authority, it paid off because she then felt confident in standing by her decisions.
Tierney advises women to find mentors (women and men) who are willing to help coach and support you. Equally as important, find sponsors — people in influential positions who will stand behind you and throw your name in the hat for that next committee appointment, speaking engagement, educational seminar investment or promotion.
A former boss of hers once said, “You have to act like you have the role before you have the title.” Be a leader in your organization, regardless of your position. Stay positive, be a team player, learn and help others in the organization improve every day.
Heather Laminack is the first female president at the Greater Fort Worth Builders Association in Texas in 75 years. She first found her own voice first through the NAHB Young Professionals (YP) Committee. Being a fourth-generation builder, she had grown up around NAHB, but didn’t necessarily feel like she fit in or had a place during many of her early career years until she attended her first YP meeting.
After chairing her local YP, Laminack became interested in the initiatives of PWB, and helped establish her local PWB charter at IBS 2020. She feels it’s a testament to the importance of inclusion efforts on all fronts (age, gender, ethnicity, etc.) and believes the sky is truly the limit for women.
“The more we encourage other women to join us at the table, the stronger, more diverse and ultimately more resilient our industry will become,” said Laminack.
Kim Dimatteo is president of the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Fairfield County in Connecticut. Becoming involved with PWB showed her, through the quick growth of its local chapter, the importance of women in leadership in the home building industry. As president, she will focus on opioids in the work place, and work with her local trade schools to encourage high school students to look at construction careers. Seeing how strong NAHB PWB and her local chapter are demonstrates how much opportunity there is out there for that.
Are you a woman in the home building industry who has accomplished great things, or do you know of someone who has? We’d love to highlight you this month! Email email@example.com to share your story.