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PWB Power Luncheon: Creating Space

The NAHB Professional Women in Building Council (PWB) is the voice of women in the building industry, dedicated to promoting industry professionalism and supporting members at the local, state, and national levels. Launched in 2020, our members work in all aspects of the building industry: builders, developers, remodelers, architects, suppliers, marketing experts, designers, realtors, and finance professionals. The PWB Council offers networking and educational opportunities, legislative awareness and outreach, and professional and personal development.

Professional Women in Building on Creating Space

On Thursday, July 14th, 2022, the West Tennessee Home Builders Association's chapter of Professional Women in Building held their third quarterly Power Luncheon at Simply Done in Collierville featuring a panel of women that spoke on creating space in a professional environment in which they were not a part of the majority.

The event featured panelists Gwen Christensen (Builders' Floors & Interiors), Kathryn Clark (K. Clark Homes), Krista Mallok Ganote (IKEA Memphis), Karen Garner (Magnolia Homes), Susan Payne (Goodwin Homes), and moderator, Shadonna Lee (IKEA Memphis).

The group spoke to a full house of listeners on important topics such as how to create space for everyone in their teams to shine as well as sharing their best practices and learnings throughout years of being successful business women in the home building industry.


"I find when I work with people, that's what I'm looking for, is what's your best aspect?  How can I help you build that aspect to make you a better person while also making me a better person. And 99.9% of the time I enjoy everyone I do business with. But learning to work with people, knowing what their characteristics are, what their breaking points are and helping to make those better - they end up making you better too at the same time"

- Gwen Christensen (Builders' Floors & Interiors)


"Go on social media - advertise yourself, brand yourself, get a slogan! Go after it as much as you can and try to incorporate as many people as you can. Also be around people that are positive that have great attitudes. When I first began home building, it was all men. It was so many years ago and I've gotten divorced and quit my job on the very same day and was thrown into this world thinking what am I gonna do? And I became a builder out of necessity. But the Home Biulders Association was the first thing I did, I joined. And I was there with all the men and they opened up their arms welcomed me. I surrounded myself with positive people with great attitudes and learned from them."

Karen Garner (Magnolia Homes)


"I think for me, we want to think we're equal with men on every front but the reality is that's not necessarily true. Speaking about women in this business, safety is a huge thing. There are so many different things that a man wouldn't necessarily think twice about doing, but we have to think about it. For instance, meeting strangers at properties or having to work with new subs and different things like that. Safety is definitely something we have to prioritize."

Kathryn Clark (K. Clark Homes)


"Enjoy yourself and just have some fun! It doesn't have to be all serious. We've been through the worst and you just kind of have to laugh your way through it. You just gotta keep working and do what you gotta do and have the best attitude you can have. Also you need to always remember this line: I don't know how to do it but I know who to call who does that"

Susan Payne (Goodwin Homes)


"I truly believe that when you're talking about barriers, the most significant barrier in anyone's life is yourself. Being in a group of very strong women, and getting to hear their conversations, I can say that you don't take no as an answer. There's no wall that can be broken down somehow. Barriers are just temporary. You have to be able to take feedback and figure out what am I doing wrong, what do I need to improve on, what is my opportunity and how can I break that border down?"

Krista Mallok Ganote (IKEA Memphis)

The primary goal of Professional Women in Building is to create leadership paths for women in the home building industry. In addition to offering a wide range of resources and educational opportunities, we host four PWB Power Luncheons throughout the year designed to entertain, enlighten, and empower our members. We also host two annual events open to all those working in fields related to homebuilding. Eggs & Economics features renowned speakers who provide an economic housing forecast. Dine & Design spotlights a panel of experts who predict the trends in colors, decorating styles, materials, and technologies for the coming year.

PWB membership dues are $75 annually and include membership in NAHB PWB. Membership in the PWB is open to all members of the West TN Home Builders Association, regardless of gender. For more information, call 901-756-4500 or email

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