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Bay Area Power Women: 5 Questions With Clune Construction’s Leina Zimmerman

This limited series profiles Bay Area Power Women who have helped shape Bay Area cities, neighborhoods, businesses and lifestyles. These women will be honored at Bisnow's Bay Area Power Women event in San Francisco on May 30.

Clune Construction Senior Vice President and General Manager Leina Zimmerman has over 20 years of experience in real estate, facilities and construction. She began her career in an executive internship program with the General Services Administration, where she oversaw over 2M SF of federal and courthouse space. She has held various executive positions at a midsize general contractor and later was the co-leader at a different San Francisco general contractor. Prior to working in construction, she ran commercial real estate and facilities for various Bay Area corporations. She also is the founder and president of a business networking and philanthropy organization for women in commercial real estate in San Francisco and Silicon Valley.

Clune Construction Senior Vice President and General Manager Leina Zimmerman and her husband, Marc Zimmerman

Bisnow: How do you describe your job to people who are not in the industry? 

Zimmerman: I do lots of different things in my job on a daily basis, but it boils down to one thing — building. My job consists of building teams, by hiring and mentoring new people, building trusted relationships with existing and new clients and, of course, building new office spaces for a variety of companies in the Bay Area. My job involves … all aspects of building a business in a new market, the business just happens to be construction.

Bisnow: What is the biggest business problem you have faced and how did you solve it? 

Zimmerman: Recruiting talent. We are working in one of the most competitive job markets in the country and everyone is looking for strong, experienced professionals, so there is a lot of competition for construction talent. We focus on keeping our employee benefits and compensation among the best in the industry and we are very fortunate to be able to offer a clearly defined career path for our employees at all levels, including those in the field. We are constantly evaluating our compensation and benefits packages and looking for new things to do to attract and retain the best in the business. We also strongly recruit through our internal employees, which at Clune means over 500 people across the U.S.  

Bisnow: What is one thing you think companies can do to address wage and gender inequality?

Zimmerman: Construction is a great career option for women. It is fast-paced, interesting, challenging and it provides a great career path. Unfortunately, there just aren’t a whole lot of women in the construction field. If we want to address gender equality in this industry, I think companies could make more of an effort to educate high school-aged girls about the variety of construction career opportunities that are available. Not everyone in construction is hammering nails and I don’t think a lot of girls know that.

Bisnow: What piece of advice do you give others entering the industry?

Zimmerman: Embrace learning. This industry is constantly changing and evolving. The more you know [and] understand about the business, the more career growth you will have. Getting involved in professional organizations, attending seminars and classes, and earning professional certifications and designations are just a few ways you can continue to grow. 

Bisnow: What do you do to unwind when you’re not working? 

Zimmerman: I love to spend time with my husband and three daughters. We have a pretty hectic schedule with music, drama and sporting events, but I love every minute of seeing my family focusing on what they love. When I need to unwind, I enjoy working out (boot camp), hiking, road biking and reading. 

Meet Clune Construction Senior Vice President and General Manager Leina Zimmerman at Bisnow’s Power Women event in San Francisco May 30.