Empowering Women in Construction: A Journey of Leadership and Advocacy 

In the bustling world of construction, where towering structures rise and intricate projects unfold, there's a force driving change—a force fueled by determination, leadership, and advocacy.

This changemaker’s name is Lauline Mitchell, a trailblazer and respected friend in the construction industry, whose journey spans over 20 years of dedication, innovation, and empowerment within the construction industry and as a recognized leader within the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC).

A Legacy of Leadership

Since joining NAWIC in 2008, Lauline has been a steadfast advocate for women's representation and advancement in construction. Her dedication is evident through her extensive involvement in various leadership roles within the organization since 2010. After serving as Secretary for the San Francisco Chapter of NAWIC in 2010, Lauline held subsequent roles as Vice President and President in San Francisco, received a Helping Hand Award in 2014, and expanded her reach as the National Vice President in 2020. Her most recent role was as the National President of NAWIC in 2022, driving positive change within the organization and the construction industry as a whole.

Outside of NAWIC, Lauline serves as Director of Preconstruction for BBI Construction, where she manages client relationships and oversees all aspects of project preparation, from responding to proposals and negotiating contracts to scheduling, budgeting, and cost control.

With expertise in guiding projects through the preconstruction phase, Lauline provides strategic decision-making support to ensure successful project completion. Specializing in affordable housing projects in the San Francisco Bay Area, Lauline drives initiatives to deliver high-quality outcomes within budget and timeline constraints.Top of Form

Empowering Women Through Visibility

Lauline's commitment to empowering women transcends mere aspiration; it embodies a profound conviction that shapes her endeavors within the construction industry.

“Women have to be bold because the majority of decisions on projects are being made by men, so it is imperative to enlarge the ranks,” says Lauline.

Recognizing the intrinsic value and substantial contributions of women in construction, Lauline tirelessly endeavors to ensure their voices resound and their accomplishments are duly acknowledged. Employing innovative marketing methodologies, including strategic rebranding and spotlight features, she adeptly enhances the visibility of women within the industry, fostering an environment of inclusivity and recognition.

Over her years of dedicated involvement in the construction industry, Lauline has borne witness to significant progress in advancing gender diversity and inclusion. As the Immediate Past President of NAWIC, Lauline prioritized expanding the association's reach, advancing the strategic plan, and providing mentorship to both emerging leaders and current board members.

By showcasing the accomplishments and expertise of women in construction via speaking materials and social media advocacy, Lauline's efforts have provided a platform for them to shine and be recognized for their contributions.

This increased visibility not only highlights the talent and capabilities of women but also inspires and motivates others to pursue careers in construction. Lauline's commitment to amplifying women's voices reflects a broader effort to foster inclusivity and diversity within the industry, ultimately enriching the collective experience and driving positive change.

Reflecting on her efforts, Lauline expresses a genuine sense of fulfillment in her role.

"I loved showing what women were doing in the industry," she reflects.

This sentiment encapsulates her passion for promoting diversity, inclusion, and equity within construction. By giving women a larger voice and wider audience, Lauline has not only provided them with the recognition they deserve but also contributed to a more inclusive and equitable industry culture.

Supporting Diversity: A Call to Action for All

However, amidst these strides, challenges persist for women in construction. Despite the increasing visibility of women in leadership roles, barriers to their advancement remain prevalent.

“Women are 51% of the population, yet they still only represent approximately 10% of the construction industry,” Lauline states. “We still have a lot of work to do!”

While the path to gender parity has been charted, there is still much ground to cover in enlarging the ranks of women in construction. The journey towards gender equality in construction requires a concerted and ongoing commitment from all stakeholders.

By acknowledging the progress made thus far and confronting the challenges that lie ahead, Lauline underscores the importance of collective action in driving meaningful change. As the industry continues to evolve, it is imperative to maintain momentum and actively work towards creating a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable environment for women in construction.

Lauline emphasizes the pivotal role that men play in advancing NAWIC's mission of promoting women's inclusion and empowerment. This involves actively engaging in various forms of support, such as volunteering time and expertise, participating in diversity initiatives, and sharing knowledge to foster an inclusive environment.

Lauline implores men to transcend mere participation and embrace an equitable perspective in their interactions and decision-making endeavors. She underscores the significance of mentoring and sponsoring women as valuable contributors to achieving this objective.

This entails conscientiously integrating considerations of gender diversity and equity into all facets of their professional conduct and engagements within the industry. By acknowledging and rectifying gender biases and disparities, men can play a pivotal role in fostering a workplace culture that is inclusive and equitable.

Moreover, Lauline highlights the importance of mentorship and allyship as powerful tools for dismantling gender barriers. Men can serve as mentors to women in the construction field, offering guidance, support, and opportunities for professional growth. Additionally, acting as allies, men can actively advocate for women's advancement, challenge discriminatory practices, and amplify women's voices within male-dominated spaces.

Lessons Learned and Future Endeavors

Reflecting on her journey with NAWIC, Lauline imparts invaluable lessons that underscore the fundamental elements crucial for success in the construction industry. She emphasizes the significance of perseverance, highlighting its pivotal role in overcoming obstacles and achieving goals. In an industry known for its challenges, perseverance becomes a guiding principle, driving individuals to persist in the face of adversity and navigate through complex situations.

Moreover, Lauline emphasizes the importance of relationship-building and collaborative decision-making. In an industry that requires collaboration, cultivating strong relationships with colleagues, clients, and stakeholders is essential for fostering teamwork, trust, and mutual respect. Likewise, collaborative decision-making ensures that diverse perspectives are heard and integrated into decision-making processes, leading to more informed and inclusive outcomes.

Looking ahead to the future, Lauline remains steadfast in her commitment to empowering women in construction, with a focus on fostering mentorship and sponsorship opportunities. Despite encountering challenges along the way, she acknowledges that the rewards and positive impacts far outweigh the difficulties. Lauline's unwavering dedication to NAWIC's mission serves as a beacon of inspiration for others, showcasing the transformative potential of collective action in advancing gender equity and diversity in the industry.

Paving the Way Forward

Lauline’s story epitomizes the transformative power of leadership and advocacy in construction. Through her unwavering commitment to NAWIC's mission, Lauline has not only elevated women's voices but has also paved the way for a more inclusive and equitable industry. Looking forward, Lauline plans to further her impact by joining NAWIC's education board and actively participating in initiatives aimed at providing scholarships to aspiring professionals in the field. As construction continues to evolve, Lauline's legacy serves as a beacon of inspiration for generations to come.

Encouraging others to join NAWIC, Lauline recognizes it as a powerful platform for effecting meaningful change and improving the plight of women in construction. Her endorsement underscores the importance of collective efforts in creating a more inclusive, equitable, and supportive environment for all individuals within the construction industry. She embodies the steadfast spirit of empowerment and progress. Her journey serves as a powerful reminder that with dedication and collaboration, we can create a future where every voice is valued and every opportunity is accessible.

Henry Nutt III

Preconstruction Executive, Southland Industries