First-Class Women in Construction: Darlene Carter

Darlene Carter

Women in Construction week is the first full week in March. Currently, only 13% of employees in the construction industry are female, according to Construction Coverage. By highlighting women involved in the trade, we hope to increase the number of women in construction and the growing role they play in the industry.

Darlene Carter is the CEO of the CW Group, a Utah-based real estate development company, running the daily operation of everything taking place in the northern Utah area.

“What energizes me the most is building the company,” Darlene said. “The definition of that to me is building up the people that we work with. It starts with our own associates. It’s important to me that we provide a place where they can come and learn, grow, and feel valued.”

Darlene loves being able to connect with her team and influence them for good.

“I have always had a desire to change the world in some small way,” Darlene said. “I think anybody can have influence, but I have worked really hard for 20 years to be able to influence a larger group of people. I’m just proud of the fact that some of my hard work has paid off.”

Despite not appearing like what many would expect the CEO of a real estate development and construction company to look like, Darlene has embraced her identity.

“I’m a middle-aged female mom living in the suburbs who leads an urban real estate development company,” Darlene said. “There wasn’t one opportunity that was presented to me in my career. Opportunities came over time.

“It’s okay if you’re scared in your career 99% of the time. You just need to be brave 100% of the time and consistently have courage to put yourself in vulnerable situations to learn and grow.”

Darlene has done just that, embracing an industry that has traditionally been male dominated.

“Nothing’s really going to change until we actually see more women wanting to be in the industry,” Darlene said. “There needs to be better education about what traditional gender roles are. If women don’t see a change, they’re never going to aspire to it.

“Regardless of gender, it’s healthy to have different perspectives. Women bring in different skill sets and different points of view. The more diversity you can have, the more well-rounded you’re going to be as a company.

“We build housing for more than just one type of person, so the more diversity we can have in our business, the better the end product will be.”

Darlene wants the best end product for her customers and does so by relying on small businesses in the area.

“One of the cool things about construction is that you can help several small businesses thrive,” Darlene said. “The plumber, the electrician, all the consultants, etc. They’re their own shop. Development and construction are really proponents of seeing small business grow, and we’re doing our best to help in that process.”

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