Breaking Barriers: Women in the Flooring and Construction Industry

The construction sector has long been perceived as a male-dominated field, but women like Kelly O’Brien are challenging these stereotypes and paving the way for future generations. With a background in social services, Kelly has found her niche in the industry, serving as a Junior Account Executive and proving that women not only belong in construction but can excel and make meaningful contributions. In this interview, Kelly shares her journey, the challenges she faced, and her vision for the future of women in construction.

Breaking Into Construction:

When asked about how she entered the construction sector, Kelly credits a recommendation from Lindsay Bairos for her position in Inside Sales. Transitioning from social services, she brought with her a strong foundation in relationship-building and resource-connecting, skills that have served her well in her current role.

Adapting to a New Environment:

The shift from social services to construction was not without its challenges. However, Kelly’s ability to connect with people and solve problems has been crucial in her adaptation to the industry. She encourages others aspiring to grow in this field to step out of their comfort zones, leverage their transferable skills, and embrace the learning curve.

Addressing Stereotypes and Prejudices:

In a male-dominated industry, Kelly has encountered stereotypes and prejudices. She has faced situations where men have chosen to speak to her male colleagues over her on projects. Her response? To let her work speak for itself. By maintaining strong communication, staying organized, and showcasing her technical knowledge, she has won repeat business and earned the respect of her peers.

The Future for Women in Construction:

Kelly envisions a future where the number of women in construction significantly increases. She highlights the need for more visibility of women in the field, as well as the creation of mentorship and career development opportunities. She believes that companies should recognize and value the unique skill sets that women bring to the table, and make intentional efforts to hire them.

Challenges and Opportunities:

While the opportunities are abundant, Kelly acknowledges the challenges that women in construction face, including burnout, pay disparity, and mental health issues. She calls for support from colleagues and employers alike, advocating for women to be given equitable opportunities to contribute and succeed.

Balancing Work and Personal Life:

In a demanding field like construction, finding a balance between work and personal life is crucial. Kelly shares her strategies for managing the mental workload, including utilizing lists, and calendars, and being comfortable with asking for help. She emphasizes the importance of transparency and setting boundaries and is grateful to have found an employer who supports her in maintaining this balance.

Kelly O’Brien’s story is one of resilience, determination, and success. She has navigated the challenges of working in a male-dominated industry with grace and tenacity and serves as an inspiring example for women looking to build a career in construction. Through her advocacy and leadership, she is helping to shape a more inclusive and equitable future for the construction sector.

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