International Women’s Day, held on March 8 every year, is a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.
This year, the campaign theme is #BreakTheBias.
We are delighted to turn the spotlight on one of the many strong female leaders at CarbonCure who are working to accelerate the construction industry’s transition to greener manufacturing and building.
Meet Carly Paige.
Carly, 29, has come a long way since shoveling rocks in one of her first jobs. Now after working as a Technical Services Engineer at CarbonCure for a year and a half, she’s taking on a leadership role in the company with her recent promotion to Technical Services Manager of the Western United States.
“I think the challenge is what I really enjoy. It's always a good experience to be working through difficult challenges with a customer. By working through those challenges, you start to build trust and respect with the people you're working with,” said Carly.
A self-confessed nerdy kid, studying at the Colorado School of Mines – with its focus on applied sciences and engineering – was a natural step for Carly after high school. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry and then went to work as a Cement Field Engineer for an oilfield services company. From there, Carly moved to a construction materials supplier in Denver, where she worked for over five years in ready mix concrete quality control.
It was during the pandemic when she decided to make a change. “I felt I needed to do something better for me, where I was going to be happier and grow my career,” Carly said.
At the top of her criteria for a new opportunity was a company with female leadership, where other women worked and thrived in a variety of roles. “There were women in the office, but there weren't any women out in the field. I was the only one,” she said, referring to her experience at the construction materials supplier.
Carly was used to being one of the only women around. Back at the Colorado School of Mines, most of her professors were men and only about 25% of students were women. “We even had t-shirts printed for our freshman class with four little stick figures and only one was a woman,” she said. In the oilfield, she became fast friends with the only other woman there — and they remain best friends to this day.
It’s no secret that the construction industry is one of the most male-dominated in our world today. In 2021, only 11% of employees in the construction industry were women. Women are also underrepresented in trade and executive positions, making up only 2.5% of tradespeople and 21% of line and staff executives in the construction industry.
“I knew I wanted to work where there was more of a female presence and I wanted to collaborate with strong, smart, technical women,” said Carly.
When a position opened up at CarbonCure, she jumped at the opportunity to work with female leaders such as Shannon Seipel, Director of Technical Services, Diane Praught, Director of Customer Operations, Lori Aizer Bryenton, VP of Marketing, Kim Saunders, VP of People and Culture, and Jennifer Wagner, President — who was the only female leader of the 10 Carbon XPRIZE finalist teams.
A Role Model for Young Women
The importance of role models and shining a light on women in the industry is the basis of campaigns such as Women In Construction (WIC) Week, which runs this year from March 6 to 12. Carly knows firsthand the importance of strong female role models and hopes she can be one for other young women in the industry.
“I intentionally came here to work under female leadership and I've loved every day of being here and working with the women that I do,” she said. “I would love to pass on the lessons I’ve learned to help bring another wave of women up that same path.”
For Carly, these lessons focus mainly on actual lessons — that is, the value of education, and she practices what she preaches.
“When I graduated with my bachelor's, I was burnt out on school. But then, a year later, I realized I really missed learning,” said Carly. That’s when she decided to do a graduate degree in systems engineering at the University of Colorado while working full time. “I guess a common theme for me is always trying to learn and grow and improve.”
Education can come in many forms. In Carly's experience, self-led exploration often provides the most valuable returns. She recommends that women in the industry pursue as many personal and professional development opportunities as possible.
“I started by shoveling rock every day in a materials lab,” said Carly. “For the first few years, I focused on studying test procedures, improving processes, and networking with everyone I met. Within three years I found myself running the lab and training the people around me. I still talk and work with many of the same people today but now in a different capacity.””
She also recommends building a network with people inside and outside of your company and using social media to stay in touch with what’s happening in the industry. Organizations such as the National Association of Women in Construction and the Groundbreaking Women in Construction can also be useful resources.
While not dismissing the barriers that women still face in the industry, Carly is optimistic that things are improving.
“I think there is a push to be more inclusive and there are more opportunities out there than there were before,” she said. “You can do something blue collar, you can do something in an office. You can be an engineer, an architect, or you can work your way up through management. We’re headed in the right direction.”