When it comes to careers, some people follow a meticulously planned path. Meanwhile, others find themselves in their field “by accident,” as is the case with Misha Homara, CEO of TriCore Panels, a leading architectural panel provider serving the San Francisco Bay Area.
Taking over her father’s company and becoming part of the mere 10% of women in construction was not something Misha had dreamed of. In fact, she was perfectly happy working in an unrelated field. Unfortunately, a car accident brought her career to a screeching halt.
As she recovered, it became clear that she wouldn’t be able to stand for hours on end, something that her job had required. She was faced with a question: now what?
“My dad had just started his company, and he said, ‘Why don’t you come to work for me?”
Never one to turn down a challenge (or a learning opportunity), she walked through the doors of TriCore Panels in 2014 – and unknowingly into the career she was meant for. At first, she helped around the office a few days a week but as she learned the ins and outs of the business, her role began to grow.
“I realized I really enjoyed it, both helping out my father and working with something new, so I decided to stay,” she said. “I transitioned into office management and then HR, safety and ops, and business development.”
It was in that position that Misha’s innate ability to lead and bring people together began to shine. She started taking college classes and continued to tenaciously work her way up the ladder, constantly proving – and expanding – her capabilities. In 2019 her father gave her a final promotion, allowing her to take the helm as TriCore Panel’s new CEO. She graduated from San Francisco State University with a bachelor’s in communications in 2018.
It wasn’t long before Misha began winning multi-million-dollar projects and in less than five years, she expanded the organization by more than 20 employees. She implemented an EOS, an Entrepreneurial Operating System, designed to give team members structure, and more ownership over their projects.
Like her father, Misha firmly believes in promoting from within whenever possible and has no qualms about investing in the growth of her team members.
“Oscar is a great example,” she said, explaining that he knew very little English when he was hired as a helper. Through years of on-site training and ESL courses, he is now a foreman, he can carry on a conversation in his second language with ease. “I am beyond proud of him.”
In addition to supporting her team, Misha has become a vocal advocate for women in her field, serving on the board of the National Association of Women in Construction and the President this year within Women Construction Owners and Executives CA chapter. Her mission is clear: to increase the presence of women in the industry.
Her national efforts are rooted in her commitment to expanding opportunities for women at TriCore Panels. Currently, 28% of Misha’s team is made up of women; she aims to raise it to 50% within the next five years. In order to ensure the company’s culture is welcoming to all, Misha emphasizes educating her male team members about the changing dynamics of the industry, as well as how to recognize and address disparities in the field.
“There are a lot of women working to create a more inclusive industry,” Misha said. “If men advocate for us as well, we can speed up the process.”
A report by Associated Builders and Contractors found that there is a shortage of more than half a million workers, making it clear that there is plenty of room for women in the industry. The shortfall also underscores the need to generate interest in construction among the next generation. In an effort to do so, Misha has made it a priority to introduce the field to students who might not be aware of its vast opportunities.
Under her leadership, TriCore Panels has implemented a range of initiatives aimed at fostering the next generation of talent. From hands-on education events to internships and mentorships, the company has become integral in showing the local community what the industry has to offer. After all, despite construction not being what she initially dreamed of doing, it has, without a doubt, become her dream job.
A detour like Misha’s may have been a stopping point for some. However, thanks to her willingness to learn and her insatiable hunger for growth, the need to go off-course only made the journey better. Now, she’s traveled farther than she could have imagined, with her story serving as a reminder that sometimes it is life’s unexpected turns that lead us to the road we were meant to travel all along.