|When you think of construction workers, chances are you picture a carpenter or electrician or even a heavy equipment operator. But the largest percentage of women in construction are in professional or management roles. As Commercial Underwriting Consultant for Intact Surety, Jennifer Morales focuses on developing marketing plans and strategies for Intact's transactional surety business.|
Her path to construction began when she was a young girl. For an elementary school career day, she told her father that she wanted to bring an uncle instead, because he was a teacher who helped the community. Her father, a commercial HVAC contractor, explained that his job helped the community by keeping businesses operational.
“I was invited the next day to join him at work. That day left an indelible impression on me and inspired me to learn about different careers in construction,” Jennifer said.
A short-term temp job as an A/P Billing Clerk for an HVAC contractor led to Jennifer wanting to learn more about the insurance and bonding aspect of commercial construction.
“I had the privilege of wonderful mentors who encouraged the creativity of a new insurance underwriter. Now, I try to pay that support forward,” she added.
Today at Intact, Jennifer enjoys “coaching and mentoring newer employees, cultivating new business partnerships, nurturing existing producer relationships, and developing creative opportunities for our mutual clients.” Knowing that an employee she mentored has been promoted is one of her greatest work accomplishments.
Intact Surety strives to create an environment where employees can achieve their full potential. Since women make up 57% of the company's US employees, initiatives that benefit women in construction include an annual pay equity study, inclusive leadership training, a volunteer-run national women's employee support network (Power of Women), and company benefits and programs that promote work/life balance and offer flexibility.
“The largest return of investment is in your team and the future workforce,” Jennifer said. “A more inclusive environment will help address the workforce shortage as well as build a sustainable pipeline of talent for the upcoming generations.”
“NAWIC has been instrumental in my career and skills-set progression. I can count on 5k+ members to help me if I need guidance in an area that I am unfamiliar with,” she said. “During the past five years, I learned how to advocate for myself, lead diverse teams, elevate my individual branding amongst other industry peers, become confident in public speaking, strengthen my time management skills, create a budget/expense report for a new committee, and how to serve in a director capacity for a 501 (c)(6) organization.”
A committed member of the Greater Orlando Chapter #73 since 2017, Jennifer has served in leadership roles in the chapter, including Attendance Chair 2018-2019, Student Outreach Chair 2019-2020, and Director 2018-2020, and for NAWIC as Co-Chair of the National Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee 2020-2021 and Executive Chair of the National DE&I Committee 2021-22.
On finding your own path
“Take the time to explore the vast opportunities within construction,” Jennifer said. “It is a multi-faceted industry offering many career options with incredible opportunities for advancement and self-fulfillment.”
Just as her father showed her there are many ways to help your community, Jennifer's experiences in construction demonstrate there are many paths for women to succeed in construction.
What is yours?
If you know of a NAWIC member that deserves to be recognized as a Best Person for the Job, contact us today!