Career Change to Construction Leads to Professional Success

Workforce Development
Contact: Greg Zick
AVP, Workforce Development
(202) 266-8493

photo of erica leatham

Erica Leatham shares her career journey and advice for women in the trades in a workforce development video series available on NAHB’s YouTube page.

March is Women’s History Month. Throughout March, NAHB’s workforce development team will highlight women who are making contributions to the residential construction industry.

NAHB members often endure several career changes before entering the residential construction industry. Erica Leatham and Allison King, members of the HBA of Durham, Orange, and Chatham Counties (HBADOC), started their careers in different fields and are now role models for other women in residential construction industry.

“I love the home building industry because we’re creating a community where people live, play, and raise children … that’s a pretty exciting thing to say that you’re responsible for doing,” says Erica Leatham, vice president of land at M/I Homes.

Before moving to North Carolina, Leatham was a Top 100 D.C. law firm partner. She thought her career as a land use attorney would be a good fit in the home building industry.

Leatham says the local HBAs have been invaluable to her growth in the industry. She works closely with the Government Affairs Committee at HBADOC and the HBA of Raleigh/Wake County. Leatham values the association’s efforts to get out in front of local municipalities on issues that affect all member firms. In addition to her involvement in government affairs, she mentors young women in the industry and served as a judge for the NAHB Student Competition at the 2024 NAHB International Builders’ Show®.

Another HBADOC member, Allison King, started her career in restaurant management. She shifted her focus to real estate and obtained a broker’s license. She then held several positions within the industry, from on-site sales to project administrator. Today, she is the COO of 1st Choice Cabinetry and owner of Clarity Design-Build.

The industry offers a variety of opportunities for those individuals who decide to pivot from a different field, says King. “There are so many ways in this industry that you can get involved, get in the door and keep growing and learning.”

To learn more about Leatham and King’s career journey and their advice for other women joining the industry, visit NAHB’s Workforce Development YouTube page.


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