In the 16th episode of the Inspirational Leadership with the Best in Home Building podcast, Zonda principal Mollie Carmichael interviews Joan Webb, New Home Co.'s former chief marketing officer.

Before Webb was called into home building, she was pursuing her passion as a human rights activist, serving as vice chair of Amnesty International. But, when a dear friend called needing help at a Signature Homes design studio, it opened a door to an entirely new career. Webb went on to work at five different builders, with the most recent being The New Home Co.

Here are some highlights from the podcast:

On Getting Into the Industry
“I really thought my path was going to be human rights, and then along the way life happens. A very dear friend of mine, who comes from a family of home building, once called me up and said, I need help. This was in the late 1980s. Signature Homes was a bit forward for their time, and they had an on-site design studio, and they were overwhelmed with hundreds of files that had not been processed of people's flooring choices. That was my entry into home building.”

On Leadership
“I think No. 1 is leading from the heart. And what do I mean by that? I mean compassion, and compassion does not mean weak. It means understanding the human element, and that's super important for me. If you don't have that, it's kind of hard to fill in with everything else.”

On Women in Home Building
“What became clear and why it became my passion to speak up for women in the business was because I saw so many companies around me that my colleagues did not have those same opportunities. When I stepped in as chair of the Building Industry Association of Southern California, Orange County Chapter (BIA/OC), you get to create your own agenda. … Smart streets and safety were a big part of my platform, and women in home building was my other.”

On Technology
“I think we are woefully behind on introducing technology into how we build our homes. Now, I'm not talking about like the lighting and the keyless pass. I'm talking about especially in affordability and how to introduce faster, better ways of building. We know the answers are there.”

On a Pivotal Life Lesson
“[Patty Carmichael] taught me a life lesson, and that is I love term limits. So I think that if I don't get out of the way, no one's going to be able to come up behind me. That's why I stepped away from the [BIA/OC] Women's Conference as chair. I felt that if I was true to my word of making pathways for women, that I got to get out of the way.”

Tune in to Inspirational Leadership with the Best in Home Building to learn more about Webb, her career accomplishments, her niche talents, and her advice for women in leadership.

Also, click back to hear from the leaders in the last five podcast episodes, which feature Mike Forsum, president and COO at Landsea Homes; Eric Lipar, CEO and chairman of LGI Homes; Ross Perot Jr., chairman of The Perot Group and Hillwood; Ryan Marshall, president and CEO at PulteGroup; and Sheryl Palmer, president and CEO of Taylor Morrison.