Barton Malow is featuring a few of our female team members and their stories this week in honor of the National Association of Women in Construction’s annual Women in Construction Week.
This week is Women in Construction Week and in celebration we’re profiling a few of our incredible female Barton Malow team members. WIC Week is an annual event put on by the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) to highlight women as a visible component of the construction industry. We also invite you to participate by posting on social media using #WICWeek2021 and recognize the women in construction who inspire you, share advice for other women in construction, or post a picture.
Name: LeShay Hadley
Current Role: Project Manager 2
Current Location: Tampa, Florida
Years in the Industry: 14 years
What led you to a career in the construction industry?
I went to college to study architecture. In school I noticed I was not as creative as my peers, this made me question if I chose the right major. However, I continued with architecture. For my major, it was a requirement to have 12 credit hours of a co-op, I had the opportunity to co-op at a joint venture that was a construction management agency for an owner by the name of Lathrop|Gant|Barton Malow. It was while working there that I realized I was more practical than creative. I remained in the construction field. After graduating, I became a full time Barton Malow team member. It has now been 14 years, and I’m still here. It’s a better fit for me than architecture.
What are some of the biggest challenges of being a woman working in construction?
Since the start of my career, I have been the only woman at the table, on the operations side, during subcontractor meetings and coordination meetings. If there are women in the room – I’m one of two. In addition, I’m not just the only woman in the room, I’m the only black person in the room. During the early part of my career, it was challenging as I didn’t feel as if I was taken seriously. Now in my career, I have adapted to this. I want to provide opportunities for women in construction now that I’m in a position to do so.
Even during meetings that I organize myself to address certain issues, I’ve been left out of conversations, going back to me feeling as if I’m not being heard. However, it is my responsibility on the GC side to make sure the ball keeps rolling and the issue is resolved timely.
We connect as people by having mutual interests. A lot of my male counterparts and peers are into golfing, hunting, fishing, and other sports. I do not share these interests. I’m often excluded from these outings, whereas my male counterparts are invited. In trying to make connections with owners, design team, and subcontractors, and I try to find other ways to connect with people outside of interests. As I advance in my career this is key in making connections.
What do you love most about your career?
Being part of the team that built the structure that will be in place for years is the best part of my career. When I drive by a project that I was a part of building, I have such a sense of pride. Remembering the hard work, challenges, late nights, good times, multiple meetings and multiple people from the owner, the county/city officials, GC team, design team, subcontractors, and vendors that it took to build this building and that I was an integral part of that.
What advice would you give women starting out in the industry?
In any situation, I would tell someone to be yourself. When you try to be someone else, it’s easy to detect that you are not being genuine. Work ethic is something I look for in people that are on my team. If you have a good work ethic and care about what you do, it shows, no matter what gender you are – no one can take that away from you.
This year’s theme is “Connect, Collaborate, Construct.” What are some of the ways you’ve worked to connect, collaborate, and construct with other women in construction?
To connect, collaborate, and construct, I have developed relationships over the years with women I met at Barton Malow. I stay in contact with those women and we help each other through our growth and growing pains in our careers. I am always open to meeting new women and connecting through mutual associates. When meeting new women in construction, I work to maintain those relationships. Also, when in need of help and information with our software or information about owners, subcontractors, and vendors, we connect and collaborate. Having these connections and being able to collaborate with them has helped me in my role on my construction projects.