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PWC cracking concrete ceiling since the 1980s

The year is 2014 and Professional Women in Construction (PWC), the nonprofit 501 (c 3) organization founded in 1980 by a dozen trailblazing women, is stronger and more recognized and respected than ever.

The goal of PWC’s original members was to join forces to form an advocacy and support organization dedicated to the advancement of professional, managerial and entrepreneurial women in the industry.

“We thought we could accomplish our objectives within five years,” says Lenore Janis, PWC president and executive director and one of the organization’s pioneer founders. “But the concrete ceiling is tough to crack. We’re more determined than ever to remove any remaining obstacles in our path – We’re not getting older, we’re getting better!’”

Today, PWC counts over 18,000 constituents and has chapters in New York (the founding chapter, National), New England, New Jersey and DC and a new one being formed in Buffalo. It has attracted governors, mayors, members of Congress, borough presidents, attorney generals, commissioners as well as leaders of private industry to its targeted networking sessions (Meet the Construction Chiefs; Meet the Architects & Engineers, Meet the Real Estate Industry), all-day golf outings, awards receptions including the Salute to Women of Achievement, and breakfast seminars that tackle such topics as real estate development, energy, hospitality and transportation.

Each event draws capacity crowds with an almost equal number of women and men. “We gave men full membership in 1985,” says Janis. “We do not discriminate!”


In more and more ways, PWC’s early vision is being realized as small and mid-size business owners – including many women and/or minorities — seek out the opportunities and support while large companies, vendors and service industries attend events in equal numbers.

In 2012, PWC launched a pair of programs designed to broaden its reach. Continuing Ed offers credits to persons wishing to advance their knowledge in a variety of topical areas including NYC building regulations; roofing and waterproofing; metalwork stock components; energy efficiency; special inspections; construction lawsuits; plus a special class on running a small business and gaining certification with public agencies.

Mentorship introduces all from girls to women of any age new to the industry to the career potential of construction and related industries.

Janis, whose dedication to the cause has propelled the organization through the years, was named an industry “legend” by a major trade publication last year.

She has been recognized by the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce (GNYCC); the Association of Women Construction Workers of America (AWCWA); the Concrete Industry Board; the Brick Industry Association; the NY Women’s Chamber of Commerce; the General Society of Mechanics & Tradesmen (GSM&T); and Anchin. She spoke at Baruch College; at the graduation of The Mechanics Institute; at SimplexGrinnell; at the American Bar Association; at NYU and many other venues. 

“We’ve come a long way and are proud of our progress. Yet every time I hear a story of rank discrimination from a member I realize that we have barely begun!” says Janis.

For more information contact 212.486.7745, visit or email

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