Leading the Way for Women in Construction

Lilianne Dobbs is a trusted superintendent and a trailblazer for women in construction. With 31 years’ experience in the construction industry — more than 26 of them with PCL — she understands the importance of establishing strong relationships with co-workers, something to which she attributes her success.

 “My strength isn’t so much my technical knowledge but rather my people skills. I enjoy mentoring others, working with people and being part of a team, all with the same end goal,” said Lilianne. “I’ve built a good reputation and have earned the respect of my peers, managers and subcontractors.”

A large part of her people skills is her ability to lead those around her and mentor those who follow in her footsteps.

“We need to encourage youth and especially women to explore construction careers,” she adds. “The opportunities are endless. A lot of younger people don’t know what’s available to them, or they have misconceptions about our industry that we need to change.”

Lilianne has committed herself to lead that change. Despite her unpredictable site schedule, she never misses an opportunity to connect with young women to share her experiences and expertise. She’s heavily involved with her local community, including the carpenters’ union, grade schools and summer camps. As an ambassador for Women and Technology, Lilianne helps advance the cause of women in construction while inspiring young women to consider careers in the industry.

Looking back at her career, Lilianne knew being a woman in construction was uncommon, but she always felt like she fit in. “Compared to when I started, there are so many more women in construction now,” she said. “When I speak to them about construction careers, my biggest advice is to go for it! It’s a career with amazing opportunities.”

Lilianne volunteers for Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build, which focuses on making a difference in the lives of women and children. At the event she reaches out to new PCL employees who also volunteer to help create a welcoming environment and offer valuable insight.

“I want to continue to influence young people to enter the construction industry,” she says. “I have been a mentor to many students and peers in our company. It is rewarding to watch others establish their place in the industry with confidence.”

Lilianne’s natural dedication to leadership and mentorship doesn’t go unnoticed. “I’ve seen her involvement with youth apprenticeship, where her passion for the community shines brilliantly,” said Dean Xuereb, field operations manager, whom Lilianne considers to be a mentor to her and who shares her passion for the industry.

Lilianne won PCL’s Les Albert Supervisory Award for the Toronto district while running the Cassie Campbell Community Centre in Brampton, Ontario. The internal leadership award is given to one individual each year who models excellence and inspiration for all employees within the company.

Her leadership within the industry earned her a spot on the 2020 Women’s Leadership Initiative Championship Team. Presented by the Toronto chapter of the Urban Land Institute, the Championship Team recognizes influential women in the Toronto region for their leadership and contributions to the city’s real-estate and land-use sector.

“In addition to her passion for construction, Lilianne has a passion for encouraging youth, especially women, to explore construction careers,” says Lisa Kurina, operations manager and role model and friend to Lilianne. “Her passion, alongside her genuine personality and dedication to her family and PCL, all make her more than deserving of this recognition.”

“This feels like a big accomplishment,” Lilianne adds. “I’m helping pave the way for my current and future peers at PCL and demonstrating that women can have great careers in construction.”

Learn more about Lilianne as a leader in her WLI Champion profile and about her journey with PCL in her employee spotlight video.​​​​​