Adobe Stock

Since 1998, the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) has celebrated and promoted the role of women in the industry through its Women in Construction Week. For the 2024 edition of Women in Construction Week—which runs from March 3 through March 9—the theme is “Keys to the Future,” celebrating the “strength and knowledge of women and the vital role they play in shaping the future of the construction industry.”

As part of its participation in Women in Construction Week, Meritage Homes created a profile series in partnership with the NAWIC showcasing a variety of female employees, highlighting their career paths, and providing advice for aspiring women in construction.

The series spotlights Meritage employees across a variety of roles, including assistant construction manager Kelsey Fox; director of construction Laura Black; sales consultant Jolynn Bottrell; finance manager Amany Elraheb; director of purchasing Betsy Barbosa; forward planning manager Brihanna Staschiak; escrow officer and area manager Lyn Ischy; and starts coordinator Brittany Hall.

Each employee’s unique path to the construction industry, including Fox’s background as a glass artist, are intended to bring new perspectives to the industry and highlight the myriad ways women can find success and grow in the construction industry.

The Meritage employees also discuss how they have dealt with challenges, such as stereotypes, belittling behavior from men in the industry, and the balance of starting a family while succeeding in the industry.

Advice for Aspiring Women in Construction

The women highlighted by Meritage have succeeded despite facing challenges and have overcome adversity to pave the way for future generations of women in construction. Several shared words of advice for future women in the industry:

  • Be confident: Confidence is your secret weapon in the construction industry. Believe in yourself and your capabilities to find opportunities for personal growth. Let your confidence shine through your actions and body language, making yourself indispensable within the field. —Fox
  • Embrace diverse perspectives: Embracing different viewpoints has enriched both my personal and professional endeavors. Shifting perspectives can profoundly impact outcomes. Instead of seeing setbacks, perceive them as opportunities for growth. —Elraheb
  • Strive for excellence and resilience: Settle for nothing less than excellence in your work. Resolve to be the best and put in the hard work necessary to achieve your goals. Don't be afraid to work harder than everyone else; your dedication and resilience will be noticed and respected, propelling you further in your career within the construction industry. —Black
  • Keep things in perspective: Remember that you are breaking barriers and defying stereotypes every day. Keep shining your light and paving the way for a brighter future in the construction industry. —Hall

Internal and External Efforts to Promote Women in Construction

Meritage Homes is taking proactive steps in an effort to advance gender diversity “both in the home building industry and within the ranks of [the] company.”

Internally, Meritage Homes offers all employees diversity, equity, and inclusion training throughout the year, upskilling education, and mentorship and leadership development programs to help grow and advance the careers of its female talent. The builder recently launched the W.I.N. (Women’s Impact Network) at Meritage employee resource group based on employee feedback.

“We continue to focus on our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, and, with the feedback we gathered from our employees, we launched our first three employee resource groups this past quarter, starting with a focus on multicultural women and family structures,” executive chairman Steven J. Hilton shared during the home builder’s recent fourth quarter earnings call. “We hope that over time, these employee-led groups will create inclusive and collaborative environments within the greater Meritage culture.”

Externally, in the past three years, Meritage has funded over $800,000 in academic scholarships and internship opportunities via the NAWIC, the Society of Women in Engineers, universities directly, and INROADS.

In 2023, the home builder donated $120,000 to support the NAWIC and Society of Women Engineers. A founding member of the Building Talent Foundation (BTF), Meritage Homes is also committed to advancing the education, training, and career progression of young, underrepresented professionals in the industry.

The home builder contributed $160,000 toward the goals of the BTF while expanding its partnership with the organization for the fourth consecutive year.

Keep the conversation going—sign up to our newsletter for exclusive content and updates. Sign up for free.