The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC)
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May 2017



Region Directors report on NAWIC activities across the country.

Midwest Region | Vickie Nickel, CIT

Greetings from the Midwest. As I write this article, I’m only a few days away from the Midwest Region Forum in Omaha, Neb. The theme for our Forum, “It’s a Zoo Out There: Tame It!,” alludes to the busy lives that exist for all of us. It’s work, home, family and NAWIC.

For more than 20 years, NAWIC has become an integral part of my everyday routine. The value of information and the ability to meet new members from across the region and country continues to impact my life. For me, NAWIC has enabled me to stay ahead of the game in terms of industry support and resources.

The opportunities that we have from attending NAWIC events, be it a chapter meeting, a regional conference, or the Annual Meeting and Education Conference (AMEC), are powerful. Seek opportunities to network; to collaborate; and to stay up to date on construction trends, new technology, workforce management, and more.

During WIC Week, I was in awe of all the social media posts from around all around the chapters. Members, we are the faces of NAWIC. Let’s keep this momentum going. Social media can be a persuasive outlet for spreading the word about women in construction.

We are busy women, so invest in yourself and your personal and professional development. Our lives and workload can be zoo-like—swinging through the jungle from one project to the next. But who are we? We are women in construction!


North Central Region | Jenny Mangas

“Happy spring” are the first words I want to say to everyone, but Mother Nature just keeps us guessing every day! Hang in there, warm weather will be here before you know it!

Along with the warmer weather, spring forums are upon us. The North Central Region Forum took place April 21-22 in Indianapolis, Ind. We had some great speakers, as well as some very informative seminars to help everyone develop their own personal business skills and potentially enhance their careers. I’d like to give a special thank you to the Indianapolis, Ind. Chapter for its efforts in planning this event and securing sponsorships. Congratulations to our New Leader, Erin Luke from the Cleveland Chapter, and our Foremost Leader, Kate Csizmadia from the Cincinnati Chapter. These ladies are on fire for NAWIC!

WIC Week seems to have been quite the success in our region this year! Spreading the word over social media was a huge part of our push this year. Luncheons, banquets, and volunteering were just a few of the ways we informed companies and women working in the construction industry about NAWIC. Several chapters even gained some new members! Way to go ladies!

I also had the privilege of attending the South Central Spring Forum in Dallas, Texas! Everything is bigger in Texas, especially their hospitality! I learned a great deal from their seminars, including how to stay safe in the work place and how to communicate with those who aren’t always easy to communicate with.

Our membership is a solid 482 members as of March 31. Keep up the hard work and recruiting efforts! Let’s keep NAWIC strong and constantly growing!

Northeast Region | Doreen Bartoldus, P.E., CCM

As I write this, the Northeast Region is about to meet in Burlington Mass, right outside of Boston for our spring Forum, April 28-30. For anyone who follows the running world, the Boston Marathon was just held on April 17. This year, at 70 years old, Kathrine Switzer ran and finished the marathon—50 years after being the first woman to ever officially run it. Check out her story. The Boston Marathon is going to retire her number (#261) in honor of her trailblazing. What an inspiration!

We will be honoring another trailblazer at Forum—NAWIC Executive Vice President Dede Hughes! We cannot wait to spend time with this amazing lady.

The women of NAWIC continue to blaze trails. We have had so much to inspire us this year in our quest to empower women in our industry. The NAWIC women of the Northeast continue to amaze me and make me proud.

Our membership continues to grow in every chapter. I think this is a result of much hard work from the bottom up (our members and chapter boards) and from the top down from our national board. President Connie Leipard’s Support, Encourage Grow campaign is significantly evident.

The national board met at mid-year just before the start of WIC week. Great work has been done and positive moves forward have been made as all will see in our summary of actions review at Forum and as results go out to all chapters.

WIC week on every level of every chapter was awesome. I was able to attend the Hartford, Conn. Chapter’s MWBE networking event hosted by its president Penny Nigro. They have a great partnership with state and local programs. And the presenters, who were all woman business owners, were inspiring. Our NAWIC President-Elect Catharine Schoenenberger was also in attendance and gave a captivating talk about NAWIC.

Schoenenberger also joined with the Greater Worcester, Mass. Chapter and the Boston, Mass. Chapter on their third annual Habitat for Humanity Build Day. They joined the beginning of a project in Northborough, Massachusetts remodeling two historic buildings.

The Greater Worcester, Mass. Chapter president, Jessica Murphy, Esq., and charter chapter member and secretary, Jennie Lee Colosi, taped an interview for Woman2Woman Today, a local cable access show with a devoted online following. The show highlights successful women, supports female ideas, businesses and resources that make women the best they can be. The 15-minute segment was introduced with the tag line: “Hard Hats. Strong Women. Thriving in Male-Dominated Industries.” The interview played locally during WIC Week and is on YouTube at

Jillian Penkin and Jennifer Harter, president and vice president of the Greater Rochester, N.Y. Chapter, were interviewed on their local news station WHEC 10 for “Rochester in Focus” sharing what NAWIC is doing in the community and their focus on outreach

I also participated in the Lower Hudson, N.Y. Chapter’s small but powerful “Find your power” session hosted by president Rose Jesse and lead by empowerment coach Lane Cobb.

Then came the NY Builds conference at Javitz Center. The Greater New York/Long Island Chapter was hard at work at their booth again this year. Kudos to Ingrid Sletten, Rochelle Behar, and Priscilla DeJuardin for the many contacts they made and for getting our message out there one conversation at a time. You may have also seen this advertised on Linked In and other social media. We had fantastic exposure. Carol Henry, past director and a member of the Capital District, N.Y. Chapter took the long ride and supported our panel discussion on diversity in construction. I moderated the panel, which included Ingrid Sletten, Greater New York/Long Island president; Kathleen Culhane of NEW (Non Traditional Employment for women); Olivia Rousso, a project manager from Gilbane; and Chelsea Lemar of PWC. We had more than 60 men and women in attendance. And the questions we received made it obvious we still have work to do, but you all know that. This was also a kick off to a partnering relationship with PWC!

The next week found me with the Capital District, N.Y. Chapter at the annual MWBE showcase hosted by chapter president Eileen Venn. Another amazing event, it featured two rooms of booths, which included government agencies, contractors, attorneys, and insurers. There was great food and a raffle at the end! It was phenomenal. I was introduced to almost everyone. I spoke to many men and women in the industry.

The entire Northeast was excited and busy during WIC week, and social media was hot with events everywhere. Congratulations to everyone!

And from the top down, well it’s out there. I’m talking about NAWIC president Connie Leipard’s interview with Kathy Ireland on national TV. Way to go! The video is great, Connie is a pro, and NAWIC was well represented. The video is out there in social media doing its rounds now. Congratulations Connie! I am sure as we move forward this year we will see more return on this investment in getting our message out.

We also had sad news this month with the passing of Gay Sanderson. Gay was a member of the Hartford, Conn. Chapter. Over the years she served NAWIC in many capacities including several chapter positions such as president and treasurer, and as chairman of numerous committees on a chapter and national level. Gay was a fellow fund trustee with me just before the regions merged. I spoke with Gay at many events, and was so impressed that she owned her own drywall business. She was gentle and strong, and just an amazing human being. Personally, I thank her for those special moments I got to just sit and talk with her. Our condolences go out to her family and friends; she is already missed.

Congratulations to my fellow directors on the successful forums this spring! I continue to look forward to working with the Northeast Region and national to continue to grow with this great Association.

Pacific Southwest | Elizabeth M. Teramoto, CIT

As we roll into National Infrastructure Week, it is impossible not to think about the awesome power of Mother Nature and how spring, with all of its weird, wild glory, has come to the Pacific Southwest. From the desert lowlands to the island tropics it has been a pretty beneficial time, empty reservoirs are now filled and long-lasting droughts cancelled, but it has also brought washed out roads, flash floods and a myriad of other challenges. Amidst this natural chaos San Bernardino/Riverside, Calif. Chapter’s April meeting covering “Emergency Preparedness and Response in the Workplace” and the San Gabriel, Calif. Chapter’s “How We Can Enhance the Human Firewall” covering cyber security acted as reminders that no matter if the cause is weather related or man-made, it is impossible to know when disaster may strike. However, you can still take steps to put a plan together to counteract whatever may arise.

On a lighter note, we are just weeks away from Forum 2017. The Region will be spending the Cinco de Mayo weekend in beautiful Arizona. The Tucson, Ariz. Chapter has put together an incredible program featuring topics as wide ranging as urban redevelopment, the tie between leadership and customer service, and what it’s like to be responsible for all construction projects at a military airbase. We are all looking forward to celebrating our diverse region by “Expanding Borders with NAWIC” and taking a moment to cheer each other on.

The party doesn’t stop there! At the end of May, many of us will head to California to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Ventura, Calif. Chapter. What can I say, the Pacific Southwest loves to have a good time and if we can incorporate a good cause, like the Los Angeles, Calif. Chapters 31st Annual Day at the Races benefitting their scholarship fund, it’s even better!

I hope that the remainder of your spring is beautiful. Don’t forget to grab some sunscreen as summer is just around the bend!


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