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Archive July 2022

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Leadership Trends Women Leaders In Construction Need to Know

  Building the next generation of construction women means building leaders, too. The National Association of Women in Construction offers women in the industry the opportunity to learn and grow with leadership trainings offered by local chapters, regional conferences, and at the NAWIC Annual Conference.
 
Here are a few leadership trends women leaders in construction need to know in 2022:
 
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI)
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, or DEI, initiatives create an environment that welcomes all and gives everyone access to succeed (regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, nationality, disability, age, or socioeconomic status.) Beyond hiring practices, women leaders in construction can embrace DEI to help bring about systemic changes in workplace culture, such as reducing microaggressions and outright harassment. Microaggressions are often the result of unconscious bias and can harm employee morale. An example of a microaggression is a male construction worker saying to a female colleague, “You’re too pretty to work in construction” or “mansplaining”, explaining something to a woman in a patronizing manner. Here are some other ways that female construction leaders can use DEI trends to implement change.
 
Equity is the focus of our 67th Annual Conference: Envision Equity and a featured educational track.
 
Values-based leadership
Honesty. Integrity. Fairness. Loyalty. These are examples of leadership values. While a company is guided by its core values and mission, leaders are guided by their personal beliefs and purpose. Authentic leaders use purpose, values, relationships, self-discipline, and compassion to inspire and lead. Taking assessment of what you believe in is the first step to leading with authenticity for women leaders in construction.  Leadership coach Kevin Kruse said, “Instead of a leadership reinvention in 2022, consider instead a leadership reflection—on who you are as a person and how your leadership can be more aligned to that authentic self. At the end of the day, the best thing leaders can do is to be themselves—so that others feel safe to be themselves, too.”
 
Shakira M. Brown, an award-winning public relations, corporate communications, and branding professional, will share how to lead authentically and communicate your vision with confidence and charisma to transform profits, performance and team culture in her breakout session, Living Your Values: Leading with Integrity to Inspire Loyalty and Build Trust, at the 67th Annual Conference.
 
Emotional intelligence
It’s not what you say but how you say it. Emotional Intelligence is the ability to understand and regulate our emotions and to understand others’ emotions to communicate effectively and manage relationships. “When I interviewed 100 AEC business owners about their biggest leadership challenges, their number one issue was not finding better technical experts but finding people who can relate and communicate with peers and clients. Not to engineer something or solve a technical problem. But to be aware of what’s going on with their own emotions, to manage their emotions, to read people, and to have the sense of how to talk to someone. To know when to listen and be empathetic like a therapist. To know when to be direct and as clear as a drill sergeant. And to know how to do it well so you don’t tick people off but gain their admiration and trust,” said Leo MacLeod, noted trainer and coach in the architecture, engineering and construction industries and author of From the Ground Up: Stories and Lessons from Architects and Engineers Who Learned to Be Leaders.
 
In her presentation at the 67th Annual Conference, motivational coach Dr. Stevie Dawn Carter, will share how women leaders in construction cano be more empathetic and use emotional intelligence to improve communication in the workplace.
 

Agility and responsiveness
“Success today requires the agility and drive to constantly rethink, reinvigorate, react, and reinvent.” - Bill Gates
 
Agility and responsiveness in leadership encompasses values-based leadership and emotional intelligence. This form of leadership involves thinking critically about a situation, understanding the emotional consequences, and using values to act accordingly. Covid has taught the world how to pivot, the ultimate in agility and responsiveness. The keys to agility, according to this article, are to prioritize curiosity, celebrate mistakes as opportunities, change the status quo, and be adaptable.
 
World champion triathlete and high-performance coach and cancer survivor, Siri Lindley knows about agility. A motivational speaker, she now empowers leaders and organizations to be resilient and fearless. Siri will be presenting two sessions (Winning Big and Living Fearlessly and Developing Resilient and Fearlessly Authentic Leaders) at the 67th Annual Conference.
 
The National Association of Women in Construction builds women leaders in construction. NAWIC provides women in construction of all experience levels with opportunities for professional development, education, networking, leadership training, and public service. NAWIC has 118 chapters throughout the United States – international affiliates, too. Membership is open to any woman in construction. Several membership options are available for flexible pricing and membership terms. To learn more about our work to support women in the industry and to inspire future women leaders in construction, contact us through social media, or our website.

NAWIC builds leaders. Don’t miss our newest blog post, “Leadership Trends Women Leaders in Construction Need to Know ” now on our website.
 
#NAWIC #NAWICWomen #womeninconstruction #womenintrades #leadership #mentorship #constructionindustry

Female Construction Workers Drive Change with Digital Tools

  The digital revolution has transformed the way we communicate and has become a catalyst for change in today’s society. Here are a few highlights of how female construction workers are turning to digital tools to change the culture of the construction industry.

 

Facebook. Instagram. Twitter. TikTok. YouTube. Social media has given us many ways to start a conversation with a wider audience than our physical world allows. This has also given way to using hashtags to create movements.

The #MeToo movement, for example, has been used to make a stand against sexual assault and harassment. According to, #MeToo as Catalyst: A Glimpse into 21st Century Activism, “While it is unclear which changes are sustainable over time, it is clear that the hashtag #MeToo has converted an online phenomenon into tangible change, sparking legal, political, and social changes in the short run.”
 
Recently, Workwear Guru did an analysis of TikTok hashtags #womeninconstruction and #womenintrades to explore how female construction workers use social media to show gender discrimination in the construction industry. The study found widespread examples of sexism, undermining skills and credibility, poor working conditions, and inappropriate comments and harassment from male colleagues. The posts on social media help women in construction find connection and bring to light views that go against the male-dominated culture.
 
In 2018, an Instagram photo of a woman construction worker, Michelle Hands, 8 months pregnant on a jobsite in the UK garnered attraction from national British newspapers. “Hands is not afraid to share a post on social media about the day she cried at work or tackle industry issues in the news. She also wants to document how women in other parts of the world are contributing to the construction industry in their countries,” according to this spotlight in CONEXPO-CON/AGG 365. She has created a podcast, She Who Dares Wins, featuring women in construction and the issues they face.
 
Tradeswomen have also found a voice in social media and podcasts. Ally Jencson, NAWIC’s Tradeswomen Industry Council Chair and upcoming speaker at the 67th Annual Conference, is the founder of GirderSkirts. The networking organization aims to support tradeswomen with a Facebook Group and YouTube podcasts. Learn more at facebook.com/GirderSkirts. Other podcasts for tradeswomen include Tradeswomen Talk, Woman in the Trades with Amy the Sparky, and NAWIC’s Build. Lead. Succeed.
 
Another way digital tools are making an impact on female construction workers in the industry is through apps designed to improve safety and efficiency on the jobsite. Recently, NAWIC and SafeSite conducted a survey focusing on the digital transformation, supply chain issues, and the construction labor shortage.
 
According to NAWIC Executive Director Crissy Ingram, “Digital transformation is gaining significant momentum in the construction industry. Along with making work easier without compromising the quality of the finished product, it also opens up more opportunities for women. The survey shows the importance of digital technology and, ideally, it’s potential to address some of the issues driven by the construction labor shortage.”
 
Whether through traditional networking, advocacy, and education or through social media, the National Association of Women in Construction is changing the construction industry.

NAWIC provides female construction workers of all experience levels with opportunities for professional development, education, networking, leadership training, and public service. With 118 chapters throughout the United States – and international affiliates, too, membership is open to any women in construction throughout the industry. Female construction workers can connect with peers and find educational materials and training resources to build confidence and develop leadership skills. Applying for membership is easy with either the online form or the downloadable application to fill out and mail in. Several membership options are available for flexible pricing and membership terms. To learn more about our work to support female construction workers in the industry and inspire future women in construction, contact us through social media, or our website.


 
Our latest blog post features the digital tools female construction workers are using to make change in the industry.

What digital tools (social media, podcasts, apps) do you use to change how people think about women in construction?
 
#NAWIC #NAWICWomen #womeninconstruction #womenintrades #digitalconstruction #genderdiscrimination #advocacy #leadership #mentorship #constructionindustry
 

Allison “Ally” Jencson

  Ally Jencson’s journey as a woman in construction has evolved from her commercial art background through the “school of hard knocks” to become the owner of Frontline Floor Coatings (a sub-contractor that does concrete polishing and epoxy coatings), a leader for women in construction, and a fierce advocate for tradeswomen.

“I got my start in construction early in life, actually,” she said. “My father, a US Air Force officer of 28 years, was also a civil engineer. So looking at plans and blueprints (the old fashioned kind!) is something I vividly remember my Dad combing through in his home office. Of course, I would take a peek from time to time as well. I remember taking a drafting class in high school with a T-square and a light table.”

After high school, Jencson trained as a graphic designer and spent 14 years working in the commercial printing industry. From there, she and her husband purchased a window cleaning franchise that did construction clean-up for brand new homes, her first adult-world intro to construction. Her next business venture “really took a deep dive into construction because general contractors and custom home builders were now my ideal clients,” she said.

“I found out extremely fast that there were not a lot of women doing what I was doing. I was no longer able to relate to women at “normal” networking functions. They didn’t know the lingo. They didn’t know the challenges. And they didn’t know my ideal clients.”

“It is just a challenge to be a female walking on the construction site. Instantly your credibility is questioned. Are you capable? Can you do this job? Can you perform it just like a guy could? Are your credentials there? Are you educated? These are the things that run through people’s minds when they see you on the job site as a woman. I often get asked how long have I been working with the company and I have to politely let people know that I own the company.”
 
“So, I went on a mission, of sorts, to find out where women in construction hung out. And where did more of my ideal clients hang out? This is when I discovered NAWIC in 2014 and I have never looked back.”

“NAWIC is a great organization because of its members. These women are supportive and love lifting up other women as we all reach for our career goals. Not to mention the continuing education opportunities for women through the NAWIC Education Foundation.  NAWIC has empowered me to step into my leadership abilities and be the example for other women within the construction industry. I have become a better boss and a better mentor to other women!”

Jencson founded Girder Skirts™ in 2013. While about 11% of construction workers are female, only about 2% are women in the trades. Girder Skirts offers networking, education and support to tradeswomen, including a Facebook page and a YouTube channel.
 
“Some advice that I would give to other women coming into the trades is make sure you have a strong sense of self. . . . if you are just starting out, you want to make sure you have your tools and you are in your work clothes and you are ready to get dirty and get to work as soon as you show up on the job site.”
 
“All of the tradeswomen out there doing it every single day, whether it is welding, pipefitting, landscaping, painting, being a mechanic . . . any of those kinds of positions where you are excelling and becoming an expert in your industry, you inspire me. And this is why I do what I do, because we need to be here for each other as tradeswomen and we need to build each other up.”

Since 2020, Jencson has been serving as NAWIC’s Tradeswomen Industry Council Chair. In addition, she has served as the 2020-2022 Pikes Peak Chapter 356 President and the 2021 PSW Region PD&E Chair. At the NAWIC 67th Annual Conference in August, Jencson will present The 3 A’s of Recruiting and Retaining a Sustainable Workforce. Learn more about Jencson and her breakout session.
 

Women in construction still face major challenges within the industry


Women in construction have come along way, making strides in job opportunities, (almost) equitable pay, and acceptance in society and in the workplace. However, there are still major challenges that women construction workers face.

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