September 19, 2017 by John Bleasby
When it comes to encouraging women and young girls to pursue careers in the trades, they need to see more success stories like Kate Campbell, TV’s popular female celebrity builder. She puts it best herself when she says, “You can’t be what you can’t see.” Women need to know that the struggles associated with joining a male-dominated industry are not only worthwhile but can be overcome. In response, Kate is now committed to putting her name and energy into Build Women Up, a scholarship designed to break down some of the barriers women encounter along the way.
“My career over the last eleven years hasn’t always been the easiest. It’s not easy for young women to get into the trades and feel supported in the trades. I think it’s essential that women and men stand together and build each other up.”
Hundreds gather to support Campbell’s new initiative
The setting for the scholarship launch couldn’t have been more appropriate. Hundreds of family, friends, industry insiders, and home building television celebrities gathered last week at Kate and her husband Dave Coleman’s home, a beautifully restored 150 year old house east of Toronto that has been their labour of love for more than a year. Working side-by-side between Kate’s filming gigs, the couple have not only brought the building’s classic lines and exterior back to life, but have added a brightness and style to the 3500 square foot interior. It shows what men and women can achieve working together and speaks volumes for Kate’s skill as a builder. And if the house wasn’t enough to overwhelm, Kate’s massive workshop garage was a veritable candy store of hand and power tools, courtesy of DeWalt as part of her product ambassadorship.
Kate’s Build Women Up scholarship has received wide support from individuals and companies including DeWalt, Trex and CertainTeed Insulation. Her objective is to deliver tangible assistance to women entering the construction industry. “All the money raised tonight is going towards helping women get into the trades,” Campbell told the crowd. “We’re going to promote some of the really amazing stories about girls and women getting into the trades and support them however we can, not only monetarily but with tool packages, work boots and belts.”
Response has been ‘overwhelming’
As her friends and supporters enjoyed the food, beverages, and music, Kate and Dave took a moment to step back and marvel at what they had created that evening. “I’m absolutely blown away by the support, by the turnout,” she told Canadian Contractor. “It’s beyond what I could have ever imagined and it really proves to me that people are willing to support and care about the initiative.”
Dave echoed the sentiments in words that reflect his immense pride in what his wife has achieved. “I’ve grown up in the trades, and I’ve seen that it’s a male-dominated world,” Coleman told Canadian Contractor. “The second I started working with Kate that changed; it brings a whole different dimension and a whole different approach to building. It’s almost overwhelming to see how many people stand behind Kate. I’m really happy to see a shift in people’s approach to a women’s place in construction.”
Making what is possible visible is Campbell’s first objective
The first step to be taken by the Build Women Up scholarship is the visibility that Kate feels is so vital. “I am going to use internet resources and social media to ask women and girls to submit their stories; Why did they get into the trades? Why did they want to get into the trades? — and make those stories as visible as possible,” she explains.
Kate and Dave have teamed up in her business enterprise Kate Builds, with Dave acting not only as a contractor alongside Kate but as the business manager. In terms of getting a peak at their spectacular farmhouse and the massive restoration process undertaken, we can look forward to an upcoming series to be released on YouTube soon.
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