Women in Construction: Paulina Harris


Can you tell us about your journey into the construction industry? What inspired you to pursue a career in this field?

PH: My husband inspired me to pursue a career in the construction industry.  Before construction my background was in the medical field. As much as I loved it, I dreaded going to work every day due to the stress of the environment. The stories I was told about the work my husband was doing inspired me. Building, making relationships, and providing a service that is needed all while I could do it with a positive attitude. One thing led to another, and I applied at High as a Project Coordinator and accepted roughly a year and a half ago.

What roles have you held within the construction industry, and what are your current responsibilities?

PH: In my role, I offer vital support to both the Preconstruction department and the Director of Procurement. This entails meticulously setting up all new projects, meticulously breaking out and documenting drawings, and ensuring smooth operations on Bid Day and during owner presentations as required. Additionally, I take charge of managing the SMRP/Prequalification Program and oversee the Smart Bid system, ensuring efficiency and effectiveness across all processes.                     

Have you encountered any challenges or barriers as a woman working in construction, and if so, how have you overcome them?

PH: I think one of the barriers most of us woman have is respect in the construction field. We must show them and speak out when we need to.  I have always done this, but I show them what I am capable of and how far I am willing to go to get the job done.

In your experience, how has the construction industry evolved in terms of gender diversity and inclusion?

PH: Construction industry has been slowly evolving with gender diversity and inclusion. At High Construction woman make up almost a third. This shows how the dynamic is changing.

Are there any particular projects or achievements in your career that you're especially proud of?

PH: One particular project even though it is small is the Starbucks on greenfield rd. It is a project that I get to drive pass every day and get to see the impact it makes on the community even though it is just coffee. Another thing I am proud of and will continue to work on is becoming more knowledgeable and learn different roles and how they impact construction.

How do you think the construction industry can continue to attract and retain more women in various roles?

PH: Construction industry can continue to attract women by allowing them to have flexibility, giving them a confidence, potentially give them the ability to expand their knowledge in the field.

What do you think are some misconceptions about women working in construction, and how would you address them?

PH: Women work is less of a value, and they are looked at as not knowledgeable in construction. To address this, you need to network and build relationships to get the knowledge of what the road could look like.