PlanGrid Construction Productivity Blog
women in construction tech

Insights from 17 Strong Women in Construction Tech

The construction industry is building our world around us, and at PlanGrid, we’re creating digital tools to help builder’s construct more efficiently. Talk about meta. But while the world sprouts up around us, and construction companies are looking for new ways to increase efficiency–including adopting new technology–they’re also looking to expand their labor pool to emerging markets like women.

Nonetheless, it’s no secret that companies need to step up to attract, support and promote more women in construction. In fact, less than 10% of people who work in this industry are female.

At PlanGrid, we are passionate about enhancing the construction industry and it starts with highlighting and recruiting female talent within our own workforce. To honor Women’s History Month, PlanGrid has shared female employee stories on our social media accounts throughout the month. From engineers, customer support heroes, product managers, security managers and more, these women have provided a few words of advice to their peers.

If you happened to miss our posts, or are looking for a recap, we’ve compiled 17 of our female employees’ insights below. Whether you’re in construction, technology or another field, we hope you find inspiration to go out and build something epic.

Karen Tolva, Engineer

Karen Tolva

“There are many ways to learn to code, but regardless of the method, it takes about a decade and there is always more to learn. Forgive yourself–*none* of us know everything and most of us know only a few things. Read literature and social science. Study basic statistics. Practice art. Set aside time to follow your interests, inside and outside programming, even if they’re “weird”. Writing programs without other expertise is like building a bridge without knowing where the river is–or where people want to go.”

Jessica Bright, Customer Support Manager

Jessica Bright

“You are good enough. Being a woman in the tech world is hard enough without thinking that you don’t have the qualifications to succeed. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt!”

Jemma Alegre, Customer Support Hero

“Being a woman in the tech industry is not a “normal” thing apparently.

My advice to anyone who ever wanted to be in the tech industry is to be yourself and prove to people that you can be apart of this tech-world.”

Mariah Syrett, Quality Assurance

Mariah Syrett

“I have had the honor of meeting so many brilliant, powerful, and deliberate women throughout life, and at the various conferences I have attended (Lesbians Who Tech, Google’s TechMakers, Women in Tech). It would be an injustice to not acknowledge the all countless times I’ve been inspired. Since I cannot list the thousands of women I deeply admire (though maybe I should), I have listed a few in no particular order that have taught me the meaning of resilience via example: Bozoma Saint John, London Breed, Kara Swisher, Edie Windsor, Kathy Emery, my friends, My Great Grandma Olga, and My Grandma Consuelo.

You can do anything a man can do. Speak up, and never apologize for taking up space. Not only are we deserving of equal representation, but the future relies on it!”

Crystal Ross, Technical Support Hero

Crystal Ross

“Never be complacent. Keep educating yourself. Make yourself relevant.  Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. Nothing lights my fire more than being told I can’t do something. ‘Don’t believe me, just watch.’”

Kelly Lynch, Customer Support Hero

“The women who inspire me include my mom for always pushing me to express myself and for raising a kid with disabilities to be a confident woman. All of the women at PlanGrid who see my potential and keep challenging me to go further. Margaret Cho for being a female comic which is another male-dominated industry. She’s not afraid to speak out about social injustices either.”

Viktoriya Polskaya, Professional and Corporate Services Manager

Viktoriya Polskaya

“Always trust your gut. Go against the grain and do what inspires you most. If there’s a mountain to conquer, someone entrusted you to be where you are to conquer  “said mountain.” I believe every woman is capable and strong and anything is possible with motivation, hard work and the trust and encouragement of your peers, friends and family.”

Kristen Nelson, Regional Sales Manager

“If you don’t ask for what you want in life, you will never get it!”

Lisa Russell, Executive Assistant

Lisa Russell

“So I love history, and one of my favorite historical female badasses would be Jane Addams. Addams and women like her fought to help improve the lives of the most vulnerable.

I have three bits of advice that have helped me throughout both my career and personal life.

1) Persist.
In my humble opinion, a will to persist, even in the face of overwhelming odds, is the difference between those who fail and those who eventually succeed. In my life, I have encountered hardships, closed doors, self-doubt, prejudice and failure. For many women, all of those things are familiar. Yet every time I have fallen, I have gotten back up.

Those who make it, make it because they never give up. The never let failure stop them from trying again. Don’t let obstacles halt your progress forward.

2) Be the writer of your story.
Every one of us has a story, but all too often we let others write what our story is about. We let others tell us what we can be, what we can do and how to behave. What’s worst, we believe them! Define who you want to be, don’t let someone else write your story.

3) Create your own mission statement.
Keep it narrow enough to encompass your goals and values, yet broad enough that you can follow more than one path to get there. Use that statement to guide your decisions, let it be your north star.”

Jessica Pollack, Consulting Manager

Jessica Pollack

“Be bold, be strong, don’t be worried about what other people think of you or how things “should” be. Don’t be afraid to speak up, even if you feel like you don’t have as much experience as the other people around you. That is the only way you’ll learn.

I spent my first internship in construction asking as many questions as I could…even asking what I thought might be “stupid” questions, but it helped me learn so much about the industry.”

Garima Kulkarni, Security Compliance Analyst

“I believe that being bold for change brings the best version of you.”

Sara Kremer, Product Design Lead

Sara Kremer

“Ask questions. Find your own style. And never give up.”

Christiana Lackner, User Researcher

Christiana Lackne

“Be open to trying different experiences. As long as you are learning, the path you take will all make sense when you look back!”

Chelsey Tanaka, Product Manager

“Nan Stone, a partner at the Bridgespan Group, the first place I worked after college has inspired me. Her quiet leadership style showed me that there wasn’t just one way to be a leader.

The most important decisions I’ve made in my career were two different career changes, from consulting to non-profit management to product management. These transitions were scary at the time, but they allowed me to find a path that really fits my skills and interests.”

Emily Tsai, Product Designer

Emily Tsai

“Stop worrying and just do it. Making mistakes is a natural path to success – plus, you get good stories out of it.”

Lorrin Blair, Lead Consultant

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.  You might be the only one, or one of few at the table, and that can be discouraging at times.  But I always try to remember that by being there, I’m helping to create change…placing a stepping stone for other women to join me.”

Emily Tsitrian, Director of Professional Services

Emily Tsitrian

“Don’t follow in my footsteps! Put a footstep where none exists yet, and if you don’t know how pretend like you do. You’ll catch up.”

Further Reading:  Why It’s Not All in One vs. Best of Breed: Building a Software Ecosystem in Construction