PlanGrid is proud to employ a team of almost 200 (and growing) talented people who work hard to save you time on the jobsite.
In honor of Women in Construction Week and Women’s History Month, we’d like to introduce you to a few of the women who have helped build PlanGrid. Find out how they got into the industry, what challenges they’ve faced, what they love about working in construction and STEM — and their advice for other women looking to follow in their path.
Tracy Young, founder and CEO
I went into construction because I love to build things. I especially love building things with other hard working builders regardless of gender, how they look like or who they love. This world is missing out right now on a lot of great engineers, builders, and leaders because there are not enough minorities and females in these roles.
Rebeca Ayala, Product Manager
I studied Civil and Structural engineering because I’ve always loved math, physics, art, and architecture. I also always enjoyed working in teams, and in looking more and more for that combination, my career path led me very quickly to Construction. Seeing a project evolve from paper to brick and mortar, and ultimately into a beautiful space is very rewarding, and getting to learn from all the people that worked together to achieve it, even more.
Even today, though, as a woman on a construction site, you’re still a minority. At times colleagues may forget that you’re not “one of the guys” and may say or do things that make you feel uncomfortable. Speaking up loudly and clearly right away in those situations is very important. Knowing your rights and making sure they are enforced gains a lot of respect and provides clarity in how you will treat others and expect to be treated.
My advice is to remember every step along the way that you are capable of doing whatever you set your mind to. Don’t let external or social expectations lead you to believe otherwise.
Emmy Guthrie, Customer Success Manager
I went into construction because I loved the complexity of the industry and I enjoy working with a team to solve problems and improve efficiency.
Being a young woman in a male dominated field can be difficult sometimes. I had to learn to ask questions (and how to ask questions) so that I could learn more and understand what is needed to get the job done in the field. My job was to help make the field more efficient, so I needed to understand how to do that.
Construction is a great field for women that love problem solving and dealing with people. It’s challenging, rewarding, and there is a ton of opportunity to find a job that you enjoy!
Jessica Pollack, Lead Consultant and Trainer (West)
I come from a family of designers — my dad is an architect and my mom is a graphic designer. I had no idea I wanted to be in the building industry until I took my first art and architecture course at Smith College. I then declared my major as Architecture and studied it throughout my 4 years at Smith. The summer between my junior and senior year of college, I was offered an incredible internship at Turner Construction, working on the new Terminal 2 construction at San Francisco International Airport. It was then that I realized I wanted to work in construction.
It was definitely a challenge to get people who have been in the industry for many years to take me seriously when I would tell them what they needed to do. It was probably a mix of being new to the industry and also being a woman. Throughout my time at Turner, I had many female role models to look up to; specifically the women who were running the Special Projects Division in Boston, the female Vice President and General Manager.
It has been truly empowering to work as a woman in the construction industry. Going from an all women’s college to a male-dominated construction industry allowed me to become the independent, vocal, and determined woman I am today.
Dani Sill, QA Lead
I originally went to college to study computer engineering — I knew computers were important, because they were showing up inside of everything, and I wanted to be a part of that. I also had a very influential algebra teacher who emphasized the shortage of women in engineering, and that motivated me to work towards an engineering career.
My first job was in manufacturing. There were no women at the company who were engineers, and I was the only woman there who had any sort of engineering credentials. I was also the only woman in my department who was not in an administrative role. There were no women who worked on the production floor at all. I worked very hard to prove myself to the men there; I put in a lot of hours and wasn’t afraid to get my hands dirty and handle greasy, soot-covered product. I really wanted to have a reputation as someone who could get things done, and I definitely earned it.
Women leave tech and engineering jobs at much higher rates than men, which leaves us with fewer mentors and role models in our fields. I intend to stick it out so I can help the women who follow me.
Liz Leddy, Engineering Manager
I studied computer science because I didn’t want to go to grad school and my internship at a hospital made me realize that I had no propensity to handle blood or old people or weird smells or… yeah…
The biggest thing I get is the assumption that I’m the partner or wife of someone who actually does what I do. Most people don’t intend to make those assumptions, so the best thing to do to help change the norm is to be visible, loud, and proud.
In my opinion, the best thing women can do for each other is be visible at traditionally male dominated meetups. It only takes one to make a huge difference. If you are nervous or afraid, find a buddy to go with you — but the worst thing we can do is isolate ourselves.
Jackie Crescimanno, Engineer
I’ve always been interested in math, so that was my gateway drug to computer science. Being a programmer as a career wasn’t something I considered until college, though. It wasn’t until then that I had my first experience building something out of nothing (in this case, a little java applet) — super addictive!
There are plenty of challenges that women face in male dominated fields. In my experience, struggling to be taken seriously and navigating personal interest from coworkers have been the biggest two. I can’t say I’ve necessarily overcome them, but I’ve certainly improved my toolbox over time. Most importantly, I’ve learned not to settle for a less-than-great working environment — better to ruffle a few feathers getting it right than to be stuck in an uninspiring job.”
Fabiola Gonzalez, Senior Support Hero
I’ve always been curious about knowing how things work and fixing things, so when I got to the point when I needed to decide on a career I, decided that engineering was the best fit for me. I chose Industrial Engineer because it’s all about optimization of resources and process improvement. I think it’s something that helps the way you think and make decisions in your everyday life as well.
In one of my first jobs, the customer didn’t take me seriously and thought I would not be able to perform the job. I worked hard and proved to them that I was a great asset. I was very resourceful and their account was very well taken care of. At the end they were very happy to have me as an account manager and I was even invited to the owner’s daughter’s wedding!
If you’re a woman in construction or software engineering (or if someone you know is considering a career in STEM) we strongly recommend you check out these associations and societies:
- NAWIC (National Association of Women in Construction)
- National Association of Professional Women in Construction
- National Association of Black Women in Construction
- Sisters in the Building Trades
- Tradeswomen, Inc.
- Nontraditional Employment for Women (NEW)
- Women in HVACR
- Society of Women Engineers
- Women Who Code
- Women’s Network of the YPO (Young Presidents’ Organization)
Interested in joining the team? View our open jobs.