Bridgewater Homes’ Leslie Bell Paves the Way for Women in Construction

Leslie Bell, co-founder and principal of Bridgewater Homes.

By Mara Blakslee, publicist, Prim + Co

In the U.S. construction industry, where women make up only 10.8% of the workforce, communities, buildings and spaces crafted with a “woman’s touch” are few and far between. However, at Bridgewater Homes, a Loveland-based residential home builder, Co-Founder and Principal Leslie Bell is embracing her unique contributions to the construction industry and establishing herself as a respected leader in a male-dominated field. 

A “woman’s touch” is often thought of as the little extra something that can make a space feel warm and inviting. As a home builder, Bell looks at a much bigger picture. Bell oversees the sales and marketing teams at Bridgewater Homes, which she helped establish in 2015 in Northern Colorado. She also leads the company’s land acquisition initiatives and product development and design services.

“It’s not common for a female to be in land acquisition,” says Bell. “There are different things I look for when we’re purchasing lots that many other companies don’t. I am looking for different facets of the land that impact the livability and positioning of the home. These are things that are really important to most families and that I believe are commonly overlooked.”

In the assessment process, Bell is looking for larger lots, land adjacent to open space, view corridors and walkout basements — factors that can elevate a home buyer’s experience. Inside the home is no different. Bell pays special attention to the home’s flow, including the smallest details, from how a door swings, to the bigger picture by placing windows in an ideal view corridor. 

“Within the home construction industry, women’s remarkable attention to detail is unmatched. Amidst the intricacies of product development and design, essential elements often go unnoticed,” says Bell. “The distinct perspective and meticulous approach that women bring to the table, particularly in understanding the true functionality of a home, provides invaluable insight through our unique lens.”

Bridgewater Homes’ partnership with The Aurora Highlands, the Denver metro area’s largest master-planned community, has been a pivotal point in Bell’s career that has benefited from her attention to detail. Bridgewater Homes is building luxury, ENERGY STAR homes with 17+ customizable floor plans within the community. Bell herself plays a significant role in making these homes the perfect place for buyers.

Bell isn’t the only one bringing a “woman’s touch” to the 4,000 acres at The Aurora Highlands. She has had the pleasure of working alongside many other female home builders. “At one point, every division leader within the development was a woman. While this is uncommon nationally, there is a lot of female leadership in the industry within the Denver metro area. This region has witnessed substantial growth and fostered a strong sense of camaraderie among its members. Witnessing this evolution has been immensely gratifying, and I take pride in being a part of this dynamic progress.”

Although Bell has harnessed her femininity as a superpower in the home-building space and found a supportive group of women at The Aurora Highlands, being a woman in a male-dominated industry never comes without its challenges.

“Throughout my time in this industry, I have had to learn how to connect with developers differently than my male counterparts, especially during the land acquisition process. I am building my relationships based on trust because I don’t golf or engage in many of the social activities that many other men in the industry do to develop those relationships.” 

Bell explains that the key to navigating these scenarios is for women first to acknowledge that they may have a different relationship with their client or partner than their male coworkers. Second, she says to embrace who you are and lean into it. “Being mindful of our strengths and weaknesses and utilizing those strengths as females helps us to build relationships that support the business deal in the long run.” 

To help empower women to identify their strengths, Bell is heavily involved in educational opportunities for women in the residential construction industry and focuses on leadership development initiatives to support other female leaders. She has previously served as the president of the Women’s Council of Realtors, where she helped other female realtors establish their careers.

In addition to her role at Bridgewater Homes, Bell also serves as the managing broker and new construction director of C3 Real Estate Solutions, where she is the liaison between the company and the Northern Colorado Home Builders Association. She has worked with the Northern Colorado Association of Home Builders in this role to support its new Professional Women in Building network.

“It will always be important to me to help build up other women in residential construction and the real estate industry as a whole. With the diverse and supportive community in Colorado, there many opportunities for women in the industry to support one another and invite young female professionals into the real estate community. There’s a role for all of us the industry and it’s our job as leaders to help other women find their place.” 

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