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Women Adding Value to the Construction Industry


Female leaders share their advice

Today, more than at any time in the history of our construction industry, we are experiencing more women working in every vocational segment.

For years, we have had excellent female participation in real estate sales, finance, marketing, mortgage banking, architecture, landscape architecture, manufacturer and vendor sales, and interior design, to highlight just a few of the areas with the greatest concentration of success.

Gender barriers have eroded, especially, in a labor-deficit business marketplace nationwide. Skilled labor jobs are being filled by competent females like in WWII. Now, women are entering the construction industry and finding new opportunities for employment and growth.

The following extraordinary construction industry-related women reveal some of their steps to success:

Lita Dirks, founder and president of Lita Dirks and Company, Greenwood Village (Interior design)

  • Love what you do through the joy and happiness in helping people.
  • Respect everyone.
  • Persevere to overcome every challenge.

Kristie McDowell Karn, founder and principal of Consilium Design, Denver (Land planning and landscape architecture)

  • Surrounding myself with excellent employees and company representatives.
  • Learn by asking questions while maintaining a sense of humor.
  • Mitigating conflict with a positive commonsense approach.

Judy Dinelle, national building ambassador at 84 Lumber, Asheville, N.C. (Lumber and building products)

  • Leadership.
  • Knowledge of the industry.
  • A pioneer for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).

Beth Avedis, vice president of builder services for metro Denver, Heritage Title Company, Denver (Real estate title)

  • Approaching, developing, and creating business relationships in a humanizing way with everyone.
  • Maintaining strict self-accountability.
  • Learning to live life as a role model for everyone to emulate.

Beth Kenny, vice president, mortgage lending, for Guaranteed Rate Mortgage, Greenwood Village (Mortgage)

  • Dedication, persistence, and communication to and for each customer.

Valarie Rose Johnson, editor at large for Colorado Builder, Highlands Ranch

  • Try to be a good listener whilst maintaining a sense of mindfulness and compassion for others.
  • Nurture my desire to learn and be autodidactic.
  • Maintain and grow connections.

Jillian Pritchard Cooke, founder and principal of Wellness Within Your Walls and Des-Syn, Atlanta (Health and wellness education and consultation and interior design)

  • Passion for all that leads to healthier living outcomes globally.
  • Forty years of experience working domestically and internationally.
  • Putting education at the forefront for everyone’s personal growth and sharing new building science techniques and resources that can lead to affordable housing for the globe.

Yana Nirshberg, managing partner at BizCastHQ and ParadigmNEXT, Chicago and Denver (Creative marketing)

  • Never stop growing—network, read, and be curious!
  • Pay it forward with introductions, connections, and advice.
  • Be resilient and embrace the pivot.

Yana Nirshberg’s reflection on a Dr. Seuss quote from the book “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” is a perfect example of guiding principles: “So, be sure when you step, step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed)! Kid, you’ll move mountains.”



  • S. Robert August

    S. Robert August is the President of North Star Synergies, a nationally and globally accomplished and award-winning real estate development marketing, management and sales concern headquartered in Denver. Robert also serves as the Senior Vice President of Business Development for Green Homes Builders of Australia, New Zealand and the U.S., as well as a member of the Board of Directors of Environmental Service Professionals and RSG3D. He can be contacted by cell phone at 303.601.5840 and office phone at 303.500.3400, [email protected], and

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