When we asked team members what Women in Construction Week means to them, Venita Taylor had a lot to say. She reflected on her 20-year career in moving detail, and we are honored to share her journey.
Where there is a will to do, there is a way
My stance as a woman in the construction industry is “Where there is a will to do, there is a way”! There are women desiring to engage in the industry but feel intimidated because of being categorized as manly, or encountering inappropriate behavior, or stereotyped as doing a man’s job. This statement is so underrated and is unnecessary. Honestly, some of the men that have made this statement were intimidated by women that are able to do the work or they held women back from learning more than she was capable of doing.
A woman in construction should not feel she has to compete with a man, but is in the industry to learn and to be inclusive in the production of the project(s). A woman’s perspective is, “I want to do the right thing, the right way and in the manner that I can relate to, which may not be exactly the way someone else is doing, but I will accomplish the goal properly and accordingly to expectations, if not greater.”
I started in the construction industry over 20 years ago, occasionally finishing drywall part-time in the evenings. I am in my 17th year with my current employer at HGC Group of Companies . Hiring women at HGC was nothing new but during the time I was hired, I was the only woman in the company working on jobsites as a Laborer performing much demolition. I have to admit the journey was not a piece of cake but my endurance, perseverance, and motivation is what I held onto. A jobsite consists of many different trades and individual personalities. I was determined not to be labeled unjustly but to be respected as a woman in the industry and to learn what I could to help me along my career journey while continuing to pave the way for other women as those before have done for me. When promoted to an Apprentice Carpenter, my desire to learn other skills was deepening. I did not want most of my time to be cleaning around others and only providing materials needed. I took advantage of opportunities to learn what others were doing, the tools needed and the processes they were using, whether they were correct or if a different process was more effective and efficient. Regardless of position level on jobsites at HGC, we all shared time to clean and make our projects stand out as we value relationships with our Clients.
It was exciting learning to read drawings, hang metal/wood strapping for blocking, install handrails, cabinets, or hanging FRP in commercial kitchen areas, or even swinging doors and installing hardware. I was able to assist in the Safety Dept. along with product/equipment inventories. I have always concentrated on paying attention to details and in this industry; it is definitely necessary while understanding time management is an essence.
Visually seeing a project from site layouts to the approved final inspection is an awesome experience. Now as Administrative Assistant, I am able to experience the other side of the company and continue as part of the Team to participate in the production and growth of HGC Group of Companies. Being able to be yourself and work with people on both sides of the spectrum is rewarding in itself.
My recommendation for women coming into the construction industry is: Any aspect of this industry is achievable if you desire to be a part of it. Be attentive, be prepared, ask questions and do not assume you always have the answers the first time around. Be honest. Everyone makes mistakes but the important thing is what you do after you make the mistake. Women in Construction are valuable and I am proud to be a part of this industry!
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