Women in Construction Week 2020 – Barbara Regester
Barbara Regester | Project Manager
“Never think you don’t belong. You do. You are just like everyone else. Put yourself out there, try new things. Find your passion, and find a mentor to help you learn it. Having a mentor is key in becoming great, no matter your field or trade.”
How did you end up in construction?
When I was young, I had two uncles and a brother who were all painting contractors. Then in my twenties, I started my own painting business. It just kind of snowballed from there. I wanted to learn more than just painting, and set my mind to learn everything I possibly could.
What was your experience like when you first started as a woman in construction?
It was difficult, to say the least. [As a woman,] you were not taken seriously, most of the time, [you were] spoken to like a small child who had no idea what you were doing. I didn’t let it get in my way, and I learned the skillset of looking past biases and proving myself, time and again. I knew I belonged in construction, I just had to make those who didn’t understand realize I was meant to be there.
Has it changed since then? How?
It has changed drastically over the last twenty years. There is a sense of belonging, family, camaraderie that wasn’t there before (but in an exceptional few). The more women in construction there are, the more we will be accepted as a whole.
What career advice do you have for younger women interested in construction?
Never think you don’t belong. You do. You are just like everyone else. Put yourself out there, try new things. Find your passion, and find a mentor to help you learn it. Having a mentor is key in becoming great, no matter your field or trade.
Why do you think women should work in construction?
Women bring a different perspective to problem-solving. We can always see that there are multiple solutions to every problem. We also bring a different kind of emotional intelligence to the table than men. This is a concept that is slowly making its way into construction, but is long overdue. Women can do anything they want to, same as men, it’s just good to finally see them wanting to break out of the “norm” for what a woman’s job is and try new things. If you are passionate about construction- go for it!