by Bridget Kulla
In the U.S., women make up about 9 percent of the construction industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And in Minneapolis, Minnesota, this national trend seems to ring true, too.
In 2016, friends and colleagues, Leah Krig and Masha Romer met up for lunch and found themselves getting excited about the idea of starting a local network for women in new construction.
“Sitting in a [construction industry] meeting, you quickly realize there are so many more men in the room,” says Romer. “You catch yourself scanning the room for women—we’re rare.”
They started working to launch a strong support network, fostering the advancement of women in the construction industry. The community of women, aptly called WINC (Women in New Construction), could assist one another in mentoring and career and personal development.
WINC founders Masha Romer and Leah Krig.
So the two sent an email to all of the female contacts they knew in the construction industry to gauge interest.
“The flood of responses back were surprising,” Romer says. “There was so much interest.”
Since then, the diverse group has grown and meets up at monthly industry-related events and social gatherings.
“Though networking and the social aspect is a major driving factor for WINC, our goal is to make each month's event meaningful in another way, through education or philanthropy,” says Krig.
Whether it’s a four-course chef’s dinner, a round table event, a charity, or a model home tour with the designer — each monthly event is a way to gather, learn, give back, build friendships and have meaningful conversations about each other and the industry.
This WINC meet-up included a four-course dinner at a local showroom, showcasing kitchen appliances.
“The round table meet-ups are a good chance to get to know one another, interact, share issues and answer questions and concerns,” Romer says. “We talk about a range of topics from managing and hiring employees, to speaking up in a group, to balancing family and work.”
“We want this group to be beneficial for several aspects of each members' personal and professional life, not just the social aspect,” Krig says.
“Now, we have a network of our own, a group to call on for support.” Romer says. “It’s empowering.”
US Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Population Survey: www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat14.pdf