Nationally, female builder membership in the HBA remains about 5%. In Iowa, that number is even lower. But you wouldn’t guess that to look at the list of 2020 HBA Executive Committee Members. For the first time, not just in Iowa but in the country, a local HBA chapter will be led by an all-female Executive Board.
President Rachel Flint, Vice President of Hubbell Homes; First Vice President Kalen Ludwig, Director of Sales and Marketing for Groundbreaker Homes; and Second Vice President Jenna Kimberley, Vice President at Kimberley Development, sat down with BUILD recently to discuss the milestone. They were joined by HBA of Greater Des Moines Executive Officer Dan Knoup and board secretary Amy Kimberley of Ferguson Bath Kitchen & Lighting Gallery.
“I know it’s a first for an all-female HBA board,” Flint says. “So I guess it’s a big deal, but I don’t want to be known as the first or best ‘woman’ anything. I just want to be the best at what I do.”
Jenna Kimberley agrees. “I got involved with the HBA when I came back to Iowa because it was a way to give back and to get involved in what was happening in the industry locally. I was the last to join the leadership team here, and being nominated and elected is such an honor and opportunity to show young women what this industry has to offer.”
Among the team’s primary objectives for the year ahead are to encourage involvement from all members and to show women that the home construction industry offers a wealth of opportunities for them.
“We all took different paths to get here, and there are even more opportunities available now.” – Jenna Kimberley
Knoup, in fact, sees women as key to bridging the skilled trades gap. “Any field for which people used to say, ‘Women shouldn’t do that’—those are the careers that are wide open for women.”
“With only 5% of builders and contractors being women nationally, it’s no surprise that it’s taken this long for there to be an all-female board,” says Ludwig. “But we’ve had strong leaders to follow, and hopefully young women will see that with our leadership, too.” Iowa has not had a reputation as one of the most progressive states in the country, so the fact that Iowa is the first to elect an all-female board indicates what women have been up against around the U.S. Flint, Jenna Kimberley, and Ludwig all say that their success is in part the result of those who were willing to go against the norm.
“We have to give credit to the men who educated, mentored, and believed in our ability to do the work we do,” Flint says. “Bill Kimberley, Rick Tollakson, and Steve Bruere were each forward-thinking enough to put a woman in a position that was really unheard of in this industry.”
“Even though most of them were from a generation of men who didn’t put women in charge, Bill has always hired women and worked with strong women,” Kimberley says.
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Building our dream home with Kimberley Development was such a great experience! The Kimberley team was so great to work with from the beginning planning stage, to selections, walk throughs, and final move-in. They made the process smooth and stress-free. We love our home and so glad we made the decision to build with Kimberley Development!Erin Huisman | Johnston