When it comes to boosting diversity, equity and inclusion in the building industry, it will require a host of changes, starting with awareness.
Awareness comes at many levels, from minorities and young women entering the workforce seeing diversity in leadership positions, to awareness of how technology has changed women’s views and experience within the construction industry.
“It’s not the old ‘You have to lift 100 pounds’ anymore,” says Angie Simon, CEO with Western Allied Mechanical and SMACNA National President. “We need to get that word out there, so more people want to be involved. Technology has changed the industry.”
Simon joined a host of participants in the June 25 Women Executives in Building (WEB): Virtual Leadership Series. The meeting was hosted by Lakisha A. Woods, CAE, President and CEO of NIBS, and featured Nancy Novak, Chief Innovation Officer with Compass Datacenters.
It’s no secret the construction industry is dominated mostly by men.
WEB aims to help bring diversity to the field, starting with leaders at the top. These women in construction dare to confront the stereotypes that are holding women back in the built environment. It’s more important than ever to see women and diverse leaders at the top, if we’re going to reach a more diverse audience who may be considering this career path.
“We’ve said it before – it’s going to take women in this space to make change, to help this space diversify and help it grow,” Woods says.
Some of the diversity and inclusion solutions discussed during the virtual meeting:
- Creating incentives for companies or organizations to seek out diverse candidates
- Recognizing and awarding talent
- Showcasing success stories
- Working with community colleges to apply credits to built environment programs
- Building an online mentorship program to help employees achieve professional goals
The next Women Executives in Building virtual meeting is July 30. That discussion will be centered around balancing work and life outside of the office.
Want to learn more? Check out the whole WEB leadership series here. Also, let’s be social! We’re @bldgsciences on Twitter, or you can find us on Facebook.