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Women in Construction

10

March 2019

Women and Men at Work: The 2019 Women Who Build Summit

by Nancy Greenwald and Aimee Hernandez In the growing A/E/C world, the need for professionals who are sure of themselves and their abilities is ever growing. What skills do we need to lead the industry into the future? A powerhouse panel of industry leaders kicked off the Construction Institute’s day-long Women Who Build Summit, February 21, by sharing insights gained through their personal stories. Laura Cruickshank, associate vice president, master planner and chief architect, of the University of Connecticut, told us that an important lesson she’s learned over the years is “to keep the big picture in mind while focusing on the details.” Frank Hayes, chief operating officer/building division president, BOND Brothers, Inc., whose industry career

Women Who Build Summit / photo courtesy of Mark Sandersont

began in the field, told the audience that they need to cultivate three types of skills as they move forward in their careers: technical, management, and leadership. “Learn to be a good communicator” was the advice from Kevin Griggs, president and CEO of Fuss & O’Neil. Patricia Filippone, executive director, University of Massachusetts Building Authority, says her approach has always been to learn as much as she can about the jobs she has done and to take risks. “Put yourself

WIC Profile: Julia Hall Community compliance coordinator at Dimeo Construction Company Julia Hall’s career in construction started when she took a temporary assignment as a front desk receptionist for Dimeo Construction Company in Providence, R.I. She settled in quickly and excelled in this role with her natural ability to communicate and help people. She received her associate’s degree in liberal arts from the Community College of R.I., and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Rhode Island College. In May 2019, she will receive her master’s degree in public administration from the University of Rhode Island. Hall was promoted to community compliance coordinator and now travels all over New England to promote an increase in women, minority, and resident trade workers. Hall has met with and supported various nonprofit, private and public organizations in their efforts to mentor, recruit, educate, and retain women and minorities in the construction industry. As community compliance coordinator, her accomplishments include: recognition from the Greater Lowell Workforce

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out there,” she advised, which means letting people know what you can do and what you want to do. Their advice about undesirable qualities was just as valuable. According to our C-suite panel, the three attributes that are most negative are “ego,” “being too political,” and “failure to listen.” “How Obstacles Can Become Opportunities” was the title of the keynote speech by Denise M. Berger, chief of operations/engineering department, The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, who shared her personal career growth story and all the trials and “aha” moments that moved towards her present position. Three themes emerged from her story.

“Be an advocate for yourself.” If you know your value and you know your strengths, don’t be afraid to demonstrate them in your career. Board for extraordinary service and dedication to greater Lowell’s connecting activities program, and becoming a member of the American Contract Compliance Association. Through these outreach efforts, Hall can introduce people, as young as high school students, to the possibility of a career with Dimeo or the contractor and subcontractor communities. It’s also important to educate prospective members that the industry does not limit its employees to just one track; many people from the trade side can easily transition to the corporate/ professional side as Hall did. She is also part of the AGC MA Diversity + Inclusion Committee.

“Have a vision.” Figure out what you want out of your career and life, and create a game plan to make that happen. “Accept challenges.” Never be afraid of a challenge. Challenges are the time to show the world what we can achieve.

Muhammad Ali once said, “It’s lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believed in myself.” If fear of failure prevents you from believing in yourself, that fear can separate you from your true potential.

The overarching theme of the day – collaborate to construct your future — brought together more than 280 industry professionals to learn, share experiences, and network. True leaders are those who create leaders. Whether leading by example as a role model, mentoring, training, or supporting, true leaders are those who share their expertise and support throughout their careers. As an organization dedicated to promoting collaboration, leadership, and communication, the Construction Institute was proud to honor two individuals — Champions of Change — who exemplify those qualities. The 2019 Champions of Change were awarded to Laura Cruickshank, associate vice president, master planner and chief architect, University of Connecticut and James Kodman, associate director of facilities engineering and construction at Pratt and Whitney. Over the years, each has demonstrated a consistent and generous commitment to mentoring young people in the industry and a special commitment to supporting the training and advancement of women. The overarching theme of the day – collaborate to construct your future – brought together more than 280 industry professionals to learn, share experiences and network. The Construction Institute looks forward to holding its fifth Annual Women Who Build Summit in 2020 Nancy Greenwald is the executive director of the Construction Institute. Aimee Hernandez is a senior at the Barny School of Business, University of Hartford and an intern with the Construction Institute.

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High-Profile: 2019 Women In Construction Supplement  

HP's first annual Women In Construction supplement, devoted to all things related to women in construction, trades, architecture and enginee...

High-Profile: 2019 Women In Construction Supplement  

HP's first annual Women In Construction supplement, devoted to all things related to women in construction, trades, architecture and enginee...

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