During Women’s History Month in March, NAHB continues to spotlight individuals whose leadership inspires more women to join the residential construction industry.
Many women are influential leaders and communicators in the residential construction industry, inspiring others to begin their own journey in housing. One such leader is Karen Schroeder, vice president and co-founder of Mayberry Homes in East Lansing, Mich. Her leadership with the NAHB Professional Women in Building Council (PWB), mentorship of students at Michigan State University, and success in leading the company she co-founded have led to national recognition in the industry.
One essential quality for women and all leaders in the home building industry is resiliency. Mayberry Homes was in its infancy when the 2008 economic downturn hit. During that time, Schroeder attended an industry seminar where a Michigan builder asked the speaker what they should do in response to the downturn. The speaker answered, “Move.”
Instead, Schroeder left the seminar determined to survive. In 30 days, Mayberry re-engineered its floor plans, removing the “fluff” and targeted first-time buyers with a product and a price they could afford. She strove to give her customers “The Mayberry Experience,” a feeling of goodwill and comfort at home.
Schroeder's support of the industry and other women has helped to help grow the next generation of residential construction professionals. In a profile in Building Women magazine, Schroeder said that when she attended her first PWB meeting, she sat at a chair along the wall. Within moments, she recalled, she was invited to the table.
“That was inclusion,” said Schroeder. “To this day, when I see someone sitting along the wall, I invite them to sit at the table.”
After attending her first PWB meeting, she was determined to start a chapter at her local home builders association. Within months, the PWB council at the HBA of Greater Lansing (Mich.) was chartered with dozens of members, and Schroeder served as chair. Additional leadership roles and recognition include serving as the 2021 Chair of the NAHB PWB and being honored by NAHB PWB as Women of the Year. She also was named the 2017 Outstanding Industry Advisory Board Member of the Year by NAHB due to her service with Michigan State University.
To learn more about inspiring women in the industry, visit NAHB’s Professional Women in Building page on nahb.org.
NAHB also has a variety of flyers, posters, banners and social media ads to help promote women in construction. Visit the workforce development outreach campaigns page on nahb.org to download and share the materials.