Clare's pride to make shortlist of top 100 influential women award
- Credit: Nia Friel
An Ipswich businesswoman has been nominated for a national award for her contributions to the construction industry.
Clare Friel, director of Friel and co-founder of Construction Anglia, has been shortlisted for the Unsung Hero award by the National Federation of Builders.
The prestigious Top 100 influential women in construction award aims to showcase women in the sector.
Clare runs Friel, a marketing and business development consultancy company, Construction Anglia, a news platform where companies can share good news from the industry and Suffolk Property Drinks, a monthly networking event.
As an advocate for women who look for their place in the construction industry, one of her biggest drivers was when she became a mum at the age of 17 to Nia.
She said: “I am proud of what I have achieved to date, although it hasn’t been easy, and I have wanted to give up at times.
"I tried to pursue a career in television and was lucky enough to work on the first series of the Apprentice, Celebrity Big Brother and other reality TV shows.
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“My biggest driver has always been to prove the stereotype of single teenage mothers wrong. I feel like I have achieved this.
“My daughter is now 19, and I am lucky enough that she is now working for me. The scared 17-year-old could have only dreamed of being in the position I am now.”
The director of Friel remembers spending lots of time on-site, sometimes even working as a labourer.
Clare said: “I worked in construction recruitment for a period of time. I loved the construction element but wasn’t keen on the recruitment side of the job.
“I managed to secure myself a role with a local construction company as their business development manager. When my time with them came to an end, I decided to set up my own business development consultancy, which meant I could work with lots of different construction companies rather than just one.
“I love people and am so interested in the construction industry. There is nothing better than going past a building and knowing that you played a part in making it happen.”
Clare is down to the final three in the Eastern region Unsung Hero category of the awards, with the winners being announced at a glittering ceremony in Manchester this October.
She said: “It’s so rewarding to get recognition from an industry I love and have worked in for over a decade."
The Ipswich-based businesswoman said that her future plans are to continue the path that she is on now.
Clare said: “I have an amazing team at Friel and great clients. I would like to be able to dedicate more time to mentoring women in the construction industry, and also teen parents.”