Female Construction Execs Form WiOPS


Female Construction Execs Form WiOPS

Sarah Creighton and Holly Cindell of McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. of Newport Beach, Calif., are among a group of pioneering women from Southern California construction, architecture and engineering companies to begin WiOPS, a professional organization geared toward women in construction operations. Creighton and Cindell were named co-chairs for the organization, which aims to mentor women working in the operations side of construction.

This past summer, Creighton and Cindell joined with 13 other women in likeminded careers to set up a board and establish goals and a mission for WiOPS. As a result, the group determined their primary goal will be to facilitate mentorship of up-and-coming women in the construction, architecture and engineering professions.

They also developed the following mission: “WiOPS is committed to the advancement of women in construction operation positions and mentoring of future women leaders in our industry. Through mentorships, education and networking, we are dedicated to establishing a platform to share our goals and explore solutions to the unique challenges women encounter. WiOPS promotes hard work, commitment, and integrity to maintain a professional network of construction leaders today and tomorrow.”

The WiOPS founding board members include: Co-chairmen, Holly Cindell and Sarah Creighton, McCarthy; Vice Chairman, Nancy Goldman, Jezowski & Markel; Secretary, Kasie Bowden, Hensel Phelps Construction Co.; Treasurers, Lia Tatevosian, Swinerton Builders and Lucy Villanueva, McCarthy; Membership, Amanda Corbet, McCarthy and Events Coordinator, Shaabini Alford, Murray Company. Other WiOPS members instrumental to the group’s founding include: Bernadette Reyes, Clark Construction Group; LaDrena Dansby, USC Capital Construction Development; Elle Navarro and Michelle Garcia, Hensel Phelps Construction Co.; Sammi Maya, McCarthy; Jessica Drake, Swinerton Builders and Kathlynn Smith, Hunt Ortman and founder of SmartGirls and SmartGirls’ Guide to Construction Law. 

Held Jan. 24, 2013, at Murray Company’s training facility in Rancho Dominguez, the organization’s launch event was a huge success with more than 150 attendees. During the launch, prospective and new members learned more about the goals and mission of the organization and had the opportunity to network with fellow women in operations during cocktail hour and dinner.

Meet-ups are currently being planned for March 7, 2013, at locations in Orange, Los Angeles and San Diego counties, with specifics to be announced on the WiOPS website. The next formal meeting is planned for April 25, 2013, from 5 to 7 p.m. at McCarthy’s office in Newport Beach. The event will include networking and feature speaker Dr. Michael Brainard, along with a distinguished panel of women in leadership positions. Brainard has designed and implemented dozens of mentoring, coaching and career development programs. During the meeting, he will define objectives, myths and best practices from “both sides” of the mentor and mentee perspectives.

WiOPS membership is open to women and men in construction, architecture and engineering industries serving in operations, managerial, estimating, engineering and design career paths. For more information about membership or to sign up to attend their next meeting, visit