How Women Can Diversify and Grow the Home Building Industry

Professional Women in Building Council

A key initiative for NAHB’s Professional Women in Building Council is to cultivate a diverse residential construction industry, especially for women. Starting a local PWB council is a great first step in creating a more representative Home Builders Association. Local PWB members work year-round to promote education and inclusion.

As we celebrate NAHB’s Professional Women in Building Week, we asked several PWB members to share how these efforts have impacted their experience with the council, as well as their professional development.

Educating Current and Future Generations

Whether they are collaborating on projects with their local Boys & Girls Club like BIA Bay Area’s PWB council or publishing books like Mollie Elkman’s The House That She Built, PWB members are constantly finding creative ways to teach young people about the positive impact women from all backgrounds can make in residential construction. Perhaps equally vital is the continuous education of professionals already in the industry.

This PWB Week, it is important to remember that just as educating the builders of tomorrow can ensure a more inclusive future, educating today’s builders can lead to better workplaces now.

“It is absolutely necessary to include diversity sensitivity, classes and training in the building industry,” said Fernanda Luick, PWB member and president of Eliant Experience Management, an Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based experience management firm that focuses on home building.

“A large percentage of home buyers come from different backgrounds. Our trades are mostly from diverse backgrounds. We need to instill a culture of inclusivity and understanding to foster and grow our industry.”

Building Each Other Up

In an industry where women have often been pushed to the sidelines, PWB strives to cement women’s place within the residential construction field. One of the most impactful ways they work toward this goal is also one of the simplest: They welcome everyone.

“My overall experience [with PWB] has been phenomenal,” said Elenor Fleming, Founder & CEO of Elenor Training & Consulting, a Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based bookkeeping firm for the construction industry, and who has also been a PWB member for three years. “The women are very insightful, they’re very encouraging. They do not tear other women down.”

Fleming is looking forward to experiencing one of the most concentrated examples of this camaraderie for the first time this winter: the PWB HQ at the International Builder’s Show in Las Vegas.

“When we come together, I think there are so many things that we can do, so I just know that when I go [to IBS] I want to make those connections with more women to see what it is that we can do even outside of HBA and PWB,” Fleming said.

PWB Week 2023: What’s Next

Fleming along with Rachel Brown, owner and CEO of Rachel Brown Homes, Stephanie Dailey, general contractor for Steven Dailey Construction, Vanessa de Mari, executive vice president of Interlink, Puerto Rico and Andi Dirkschneider Bliss, CEO of Brookline Homes will host an interactive "Ask Me Anything" discussion on NAHB Connect focusing on "What I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before I Entered the Construction Industry" on Sept. 14 at 5 p.m. ET. 

Get their insights and learn more about how they continue to grow within the residential construction industry. Get your questions ready!

Have you been following NAHB’s Professional Women In Building Week coverage? Visit the PWB Week toolkit page to stay up to date on the latest news and resources to help elevate women in the residential construction industry.

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