A career in any industry often presents turning points, challenges – and opportunities. The same is especially true for a male-dominated industry such as construction. However, everyday women in construction are driving innovation and creating pathways for the next generation to pursue science, technology, engineering or math careers.  

As part of PCL Construction’s culture of continuous development, we asked dynamic women across the country and in various roles for the advice that has helped them reach new levels and continues to contribute to their success. 

“During one of Engineering News Record’s Groundbreaking Women in Construction conferences, one of the speakers mentioned that a key difference between male and female job applicants is that men will apply for a position even though they are not fully qualified, whereas women tend to only apply when they meet all requirements. This inspired me to push the boundaries of my career and let go of any self-doubt.”

- Pamela Nitta, special projects manager, Honolulu, Hawaii

“The best advice I received early in my architecture career is to understand how to balance humble confidence with vocal courage. As a minority woman in a male dominated field, it is important to ask for opportunities and visibly accept credit when credit is due.”

- Shelley Santo, marketing manager, Seattle, Washington

“‘Priscilla, just be yourself.’ Simple, yet complex. As more and more companies adopt the cultural framework of authenticity and belonging, I sought to understand what this meant for me. I decided that by bringing the full Priscilla to the table – the funny, smart, witty, sassy Priscilla – I could not only help shape company culture, but also encourage others to feel free to be themselves.”

- Priscilla Chavez, manager, business development, Los Angeles, California

“‘A challenge is merely an opportunity dressed in a different outfit.’ I remind myself of this because it can be hard to look beyond the immediate difficulties and discomfort that come with challenges. However, I believe that overcoming challenges prove to be one of the best ways for us to grow and adapt. I find that stepping up to a challenge often drives us to accomplish new feats and reach new heights in our careers.”

- Ally Forster, assistant superintendent, Glendale, California 

“You can be and do anything you want - don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Have the confidence to always take on new challenges and be persistent. If you have a positive attitude, do your best and believe good things will happen, they will.”

Debbie Hosford, project manager, Tempe, Arizona

“It’s okay not to know everything about your job. The way you grow is to ask questions. I see so many younger women who are afraid to ask questions because they think it will show their weaknesses. Ask questions and do it confidently.”

April Heers, project manager, Orlando

“I go for a long walk almost every day and it helps me to think through everything that is weighing on my mind that I have to get done.”

Tavia Fulliam, assistant superintendent, Edina, Minnesota

“I always start my day with the hardest or most difficult item I need to work on. I find that my fresh mind in the morning is the best for tackling the most complicated tasks, and once I get through that, my day and mind are free to be creative and strategic.”

Rachael Frohardt, marketing manager, Orlando, Florida

PCL Construction is proud to invest in building a diverse construction industry as a sponsor of Engineering News-Record’s Groundbreaking Women in Construction conference, May 12-13 in San Francisco. We look forward to connecting with top construction professionals from across the country!

Explore career opportunities with PCL Construction by visiting our careers site