As NAHB wraps up its celebration of Professional Women in Building (PWB) Week 2020, we asked women in the industry to share their stories about what PWB means to them. We also ask you to share your own stories on social media with the hashtags #PWBProud and #PWBWeek2020. The individual or group that shares the most #PWBProud posts on Friday, Sept. 18, will win a $100 gift card from PWB Week sponsor Lowe's for Pros.
PWB Means Community
Mitu Walia, director of architectural design, Klein Financial Corp.:
"This year I am the president for the PWB Council at the California Building Industry Association (CBIA). As a CBIA PWB member, I've gotten the opportunity to network with other PWB members across the nation, at the local, state and national levels through various networking and educational events. Our council's own networking events, educational outreach, scholarship program, and legislative advocacy efforts are just a few of the many ways we have succeeded to give back to our community while making some lasting relationships in the homebuilding industry.
"Through the PWB council, I have been able to meet professionals with diverse backgrounds and have formed a great network of home building professionals and trade partners I can reach out to for project needs. Having a solid network of industry professionals helps to get the required expertise to make any project successful.
"Networking with other professionals in the building industry also keeps me updated and aware of the latest trends and challenges in the industry. PWB empowers me to build a strong network of resources who I can partner with on future projects and are likely to cross my path later in my career. When you join the building industry association and its councils, you join the ranks of other dedicated, ambitious and successful women and men throughout the country who support and uplift one another, both personally and professionally.
"PWB instills leadership qualities and empowers you to make personal and professional advancements in your career. I have been fortunate to find my mentor through PWB and now I have the opportunity to mentor the upcoming generation of leaders."
Growing Your Industry Reach
Anna Felver, planning manager, Thomas James Homes:
"For the first six years of my career in architecture, I sat behind a desk designing. Though growing within my company, I had few relations to the larger building industry, and my network consisted of my coworkers, consultants, and clients I coordinated with per project. The building industry was literally the size of my company. On the side, I spent five of those years volunteering my time to counsel and mentor high school students. It would have been a dream come true to have my passion for architecture and for volunteering merge together.
"The local PWB council at the Building Industry Association Bay Area made that dream a reality and offered me more than I could have ever expected or imagined. I joined the PWB board my first year as the program's committee co-chair and my career took off. My volunteer efforts led me to the succession in leadership and ultimately to my role as president this year. My network went from the size of my company to the entire Bay Area building industry and has been expanding statewide and nationally!
"I have more than 30 close friends in the industry who I can personally call for advice and recommendations. When I pivoted my career during the pandemic, I literally made those calls using this network to find the next step in my career and landed an amazing opportunity. I have also been involved creating and leading a new educational series to reach college students as well as limitless opportunities to support, encourage and educate other professionals in the industry. My passion for volunteering has been utilized to impact the industry I built my career in, and I get to do this with professionals I call friends."
Grateful for PWB Connections
Betsy Sheppard, founder, Gilbert & Sheppard Group:
"History shows that when like-minded women pursue a common goal, they get things done. When focused on personal and professional connection and growth, the positive energy shared among women is undeniably powerful. I first learned this to be true from my experiences in high school and college sports and my college sorority. I learned that a team of women can be quite strong, and the camaraderie and friendships formed are influential and long-lasting.
"Fast-forward to just a few years ago, when a group of incredible women set out to form the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association chapter of Professional Women in Building. I was honored to be invited to be on the chapter's first board, and later, the chairperson. From the beginning, I knew this new-to-me group called PWB was going to be something special. As a female business owner in the housing industry, coupled with the values I believed women uphold every day, PWB presented a perfect combination for personal and professional affirmation.
"Now, after just a few years of being involved on a national level, I am very proud of how PWB supports the greater good of our industry, and most importantly, we support each other. As the current NAHB PWB chair, it's my mission to elevate PWB through council programs that teach, educate, mentor, and help one another grow as leaders in the industry. Members of PWB have developed a kindred spirit that has united and elevated our presence within our local HBAs and the overall home building industry. I am grateful for PWB's commitment to ensure all members have an equal opportunity to participate in the organization at local, regional and national levels. And I am grateful for PWB’s long-lasting influence on my personal and professional growth."
NAHB's PWB Council has been a constant source of support and inspiration for women to network and grow their careers in the home building industry. Sharing your stories with young women who are just starting to think about a career path can help more of them choose to enter the residential construction field.
Follow PWB on Facebook and LinkedIn throughout the year and on the NAHBNow blog as we continue to celebrate the many contributions women have made, and will continue to make, within the ranks of the residential construction industry.