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Bay Area Power Women: 5 Questions With Moroso Construction Owner Justine Sears

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

Moroso Construction owner Justine Sears has about 17 years of experience in construction and focuses on pre-construction, construction and post-construction services in both residential and commercial. She is part of the steering committee for SheBuild SF, a program of Rebuilding Together, that brings together women from local companies, tradeswomen and community partners to repair homes owned by women and facilities that support the needs of women.

Moroso Construction owner Justine Sears with her kids, James and Vivian

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

Sears: Fortunately, most people know what a general contractor is. The biggest issue I run into is that when I say that I’m a builder or GC, people don’t believe me and think that I mean designer or architect given that I am a woman. I rarely have to tell people what a general contractor is, but I often have to help people understand that, yes, in fact, I am one.

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

Sears: About three years ago a client brought me into his office and said he could no longer afford to continue his project. The 10K SF home was a significant project for my company, made up about 25% of our revenue for the year and was 20% done at the time. The house was completely gutted and shored up on cribbing about 20 feet in the air. The house as it stood and the construction that had yet to take place were not for the faint of heart. The previous owner had no luck finding a buyer. I was determined to save this project for my company and realized that I had to take action. I reached out to some of my contacts and managed to find a buyer. Within four weeks we had a new client/owner and the project continued.

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

Understand that a diverse working environment improves all aspects of your business. Hire more women, promote deserving women and pay them what they deserve. It really is that simple. As more women rise to positions of power based on their skill and talents, naturally gender discrimination will diminish.

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

Sears: Trust your instincts and speak up.

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

Sears: When my teenagers will talk to me, I spend time with them. I play soccer and serve on the steering committee for SheBuilds SF.

Meet Moroso Construction owner Justine Sears at Bisnow’s Power Women event in San Francisco May 30.