ELLEN CARPENTER – Chief Operating Officer, Dorn Homes, President, North Central Chapter of the Arizona Society of CPAs
Ellen Carpenter is a notable presence in the homebuilding industry – not simply because she is a woman working in the upper echelons of leadership in an industry otherwise dominated by men, but also because of the path that brought her there. Carpenter joined Dorn Homes in 2004, after spending years as a CPA working closely with small builders, nonprofit organizations and religious entities. Had you asked her, at the time, she would not have imagined that she would eventually end up in this role leading a homebuilding company.
Carpenter attributes her growth over the years, and – ultimately – her success, to two factors above all else: attitude and skill set. In a predominantly male industry like homebuilding, Carpenter has found that the single most important tool in earning the endorsement of her peers and other industry leaders is confidence. This means having confidence in the skills that she has spent years developing combined with projecting that confidence when working with others. This process starts from within.
“Be confident in yourself so that you can project that confidence,” Carpenter said.
By having confidence and an understanding of her skills, Carpenter found that she was able to identify company needs that aligned with her talents. This is uniquely valuable in a smaller organization, which demands flexibility of leadership while the organization is growing.
While acknowledging that there are outside challenges for women, she argues that the only limit to success is the limit you place on yourself. When asked for advice for women in the workforce, Carpenter said, “Find your passion; develop your skills and then run with it.”