Speaker's Information

Siri Lindley

Bio: World Champion Triathlete and High-Performance Coach; Cancer Survivor and Named One of Tony Robbins Favorite Motivational Speakers

It’s never too late to live the life you always dreamed.”  – Siri Lindley

Siri Lindley barely knew how to swim when she began the training regimen that would lead her to conquer prestigious triathlons such as the ITU World Championships. Today, as the world’s former #1 ranked triathlete, an in-demand coach, one of Tony Robbins favorite motivational speakers, and cancer survivor, Siri has made it her business to change lives for the better.

Siri shares fear-shattering strategies for changing the thoughts, habits, and behaviors that hold people and organizations back. With an infectious and authentic passion, she empowers audiences to strive for peak performance, work through and ultimately conquer the demons of fear and self-doubt.

Siri failed early and often before she found her formula for success and shares the story of how her early insecurities caused and controlled much of that failure. At the age of 23, she was disowned by her father after coming out as gay and blamed him for everything bad that went on in her life. She also suffered from chronic performance anxiety that sabotaged her early competitions until she met an eccentric coach who helped transform her into a world champion. In turn, she now coaches many of the world’s top athletes, helping them heighten their performance.

During her pro career, Siri dominated the International Triathlon Union World Rankings; she was the 2001 ITU World Champion, won 13 World Cup races including the World Cup Series in 2001 and 2002, when she was the number one ranked triathlete in the world. As a coach she has mentored and trained numerous #1 ranked triathletes to achieving Olympic medals and World Championship crowns distances.

But performance anxiety, nagging self-doubt and obsessive-compulsive disorder have not been Siri’s only challenges. In late 2019, Siri faced her most difficult battle yet when she was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. Given only a 10% chance of survival at the time of her diagnosis, she was fortunate to become eligible for a new treatment and was pronounced cancer-free by her doctors in May of 2020.

In her book, Surfacing: From the Depths of Self-Doubt to Winning Big and Living Fearlessly, Siri offers an breathtakingly honest and bold account of her journey to self-belief and self-discovery and unlocking the champion within. Siri is currently working on her second book.

Keynote Topic: Winning Big and Living Fearlessly
Fear is either motivating or crippling.  It can start out as either, but without definite action and left to grow in the dark, it will snuff out any chance of becoming truly successful. For the former #1 triathlete in the world, Siri Lindley powered through fear along her path to reach the highest level of this grueling sport. For starters, she barely knew how to swim and w1as deathly afraid of the water, a rather monumental fear for any triathlete to overcome. With a change of mindset –by deciding to live fearlessly authentic and own every part of who s he is – she created the life of a champion. Now, she is sharing those same painful, joyful and inspiring lessons to help audiences navigate through their own storms and times of uncertainty, disruption and fear. It’s OK to be afraid. It’s what we do about it that’s we  do about it, that make all the difference.

Breakout Topic:  Developing Resilient and Fearlessly Authentic Leaders
Two of the timeless traits of great leaders are resilience and authenticity. As the world recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic they are more crucial than ever as entire industries remake their future. After her competitive days as a #1-world-ranked triathlete ended, Siri forged a new path as a mentor, coach and trainer and has gone on to become one of the winningest coaches in triathlon history, training 11 world champions and hundreds of other world class competitors. She brings those same skills to organizations by helping them create a high-performance culture where team members and leaders maintain their authenticity and resilience while learning how to overcome their own inner voices of doubt. She shows how leaders can ignite and then foster a true team where members are encouraged to be bold without fear of embarrassment or rebuke and how to continuously reveal and harness the best abilities in everyone. 

Avery Bang
Bio: Avery Bang believes that every person has a right to safe access, and she built an organization that embraces that belief. Under her leadership, Bridges to Prosperity(B2P) physically connected more than 1.3 million people to essential health care, education and economic opportunities by building footbridges that connect the rural last mile. She remains on the board of B2P and in 2021, joined Gracon, a fast-growing general contractor in markets ranging from renewable hydroelectric energy to complex industrial and heavy mechanical, food manufacturing and processing, and electrical services.

As an active public speaker, Avery has reached varied audiences ranging from a plenary at the United Nations to the TED stage. She was featured in the IMAX film Dream Big, awarded the coveted President’s Medal by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), was named one of the world’s top 25 most newsworthy engineers by Engineering News Record (ENR), a Best Speaker at the 2018 McKinsey GII Summit, and was honored as a Cause Artist “Top 15 Women CEOs Who Have Impacted the World.” 

Avery is a Distinguished Young Alumni of The University of Iowa, recipient of the Recent Alumni Award from The University of Colorado at Boulderand holds an honorary doctorate degree from Clarkson University.Avery completed an MBA at Säid Business School at the University of Oxford, where she was selected as the Managing Director of the Oxford Seed Fund. She oversaw deal flow, due diligence, and term negotiation for high growth Oxford-led startups. Her work won her the position of peer-selected graduation speaker. She also holds a BSc. in Civil Engineering and a BA in Studio Art from the University of Iowa, and an MSc. in Geotechnical Engineering from the University of Colorado Boulder.

Keynote Topic: Avery Bang Shares her Personal Passion & Story
Avery Bang will share her personal journey of an engineer finding a passion to solve a global problem—rural isolation.  As the past CEO of the non-profit Bridges to Prosperity (B2P), she built an organization that connected over 1.3 million people to the most critical resources like health care, education, or jobs by bridging impassable rivers.  B2P’s industry program, involving firms like those in the NAWIC audience, helps make a difference by building bridges to make that critical connection. This and other socially-responsible programs in the industry encourage a more diverse workforce as well as developing team building and collaboration skills, while building a pipeline of more diverse leaders for the AEC industry.
Kevin Bright, CEM, LEED Fellow, LEED AP BD+C and O+M
Bio: Kevin Bright, CEM, LEED Fellow, LEED AP BD+C and O+M, is the Director of Housing & Sustainability for the DMC EDA and the City of Rochester. His main functions are to ensure the DMC development projects meet the energy and sustainability goals outlined in the DMC Development plan, convene the Energy Integration Committee; a collection of energy-focused stakeholders to discuss and implement high-level energy goals for development, and advocate for sustainability, health, and wellness issues throughout the community. For the City of Rochester, his main functions are to realize the goals outlined in the City’s Climate Action Plan, and organizationally, reduce the City’s environmental impact and support wider community sustainable behavior adoption. Regarding housing, within the downtown core of Rochester there are significant needs for affordable and market rate housing, as well as rental and ownership options. His main function is to lead a housing strategy to reach our downtown housing market needs with options across the affordability and ownership spectrums.
Kevin co-owned his own consulting firm for seven years, and still does private consulting across the U.S. on a variety of sustainability consulting services which include the following: Commissioning services for new construction, Sustainable Design Consulting for New Construction, ASHRAE Level II Energy Audits for Existing Buildings, Small Project Management – Energy Project Implementation, Building Controls Systems Review, Green Building Certification Project Management, Green Building Training – Energy Audit Training (How to do audits, tool development, etc.), and Green Building Accreditation Training (LEED GA or other).

Kevin previously worked in promoting energy efficiency and sustainability in higher education, specifically Colby College and Harvard University. At Colby, Kevin supported all facets of sustainability including occupant engagement programs, greenhouse gas accounting, third party certifications, new and existing building performance, renewable project development and demand management activities in the existing building stock. Prior to Colby, Kevin worked as the Assistant Program Manager of the Green Building Services program at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  The program supported Harvard schools and units in efforts to design, build, and operate their buildings more sustainably.  His team helped identify opportunities for improving building performance and share best practices across the University.  The seven full-time Green Building Service staff also met with project teams to explain Harvard’s Green Building Standards, perform life-cycle costing analyses, facilitate green building trainings, conduct energy audits, commission new construction and commercial interior projects, and manage many of the University’s LEED green building certification efforts. 
Kevin holds a Master of Arts in Energy and Environmental Analysis from Boston University, and a Bachelor of Arts from Middlebury College in Environmental Geology.

Breakout Topic: The DMC Project – Overview of the Project and Sustainability Efforts
The Destination Medical Center, Minnesota’s largest economic development project in its history, has several ambitious climate and resource reduction targets to achieve by the project’s completion in 2035. The range of initiatives and programs to reach these targets focuses on new construction, existing building performance, transportation options, reductions in the consumption of natural resources, resilient infrastructure, and human health and well-being. This presentation will provide an overview of the DMC project itself, and the project’s sustainability goals, progress, current initiatives, and path forward to speak to both the activity and promise ahead for the Rochester community.
Shakira Brown
Bio: Shakira is a 13 time award-winning public relations, corporate communications and branding professional who uses her over 20 years of experience leading external and internal communications strategies for various small businesses, corporations and professional services firms to captivate and educate audiences. She is the Managing Principal and CEO of SMB Strategic Media, a firm specializing in helping small businesses get to the heart of why customers buy their goods and services by clarifying their message and uncovering their competitive advantage. She is also a leading business adviser and marketing counselor for America’s Small Business Development Center and for the Regional Assistance Business Corporation in New Jersey.
Shakira shares advice on how to “master every moment” in business as a regular contributor to BlackEnterprise.com and has been featured as an expert in PRWeek, BrandWeek, Woman's World, Working Mother, Creditcards.com, Crain's Chicago Business, US 1 Princeton Magazine, Jersey 101.5 FM, MidJersey Business Magazine,  AOL Money & Finance, Plastic Surgery Practice Advisor, NJBIZ, Fierce Entrepreneur Podcast, Fridge Magazine and 
Smartmoney.com among many others. Shakira who is also known as the "Small Biz Whisperer” as she hosts, The "Moment Masters Show" (http://momentmasters.com) a small business focused podcast available on iTunes and Google Play, among others.

Breakout Topic: Living Your Values: Leading with Integrity to Inspire Loyalty and Build Trust 
Industry leaders at all levels are expected to be human, share what’s on their minds and listen more than they speak to build trust and fuel innovation. However, this may be easier said than done when the soft skills necessary to display these critical traits are not present. In this presentation, Awarding-Winning Leadership Communication Strategist and National Soft Skills Maven, Shakira M. Brown, will share the skills necessary to exhibit the behaviors of a leader with integrity. She will reveal how to establish a stronger rapport with staff, internal stakeholders and external partners by leading authentically and communicating your vision with confidence and charisma to transform profits, performance and team culture. 
Dr. Stevie Dawn Carter
Bio: As a motivational speaker and coach, Dr. Stevie Dawn Carter is focused on helping people to unleash unstoppable success in their lives both personally and professionally. Her educational background includes a master’s degree in sociology from Wichita State University and a doctorate in leadership from Colorado State University. Her experience as a 4-time business owner, along with her work in the private and public sector, allows her to enhance her presentations with real life stories and examples that are applicable to every audience. With over 20 years of teaching and training experience, Dr. Stevie Dawn Carter approaches every engagement with humor, inspiration, and energy to get people moving towards their best lives.
  • 4-Time Business owner
  • Author of Best-Selling book, Always Be The Shark
  • President of The Fleetwood Project (non-profit theatre company)
  • PhD in Leadership (studied Emotional Intelligence)
  • Addicted to Sharks, Coffee, and Red Wine
  • Lives with her husband and family in Mansfield, TX
Breakout Topic: Emotional Intelligence
Whether you are having conversations face-to-face, over the phone, or via e-mail, it is not just about what you say, but also how you say it. Emotional Intelligence is the learned ability to manage emotions effectively and interpret messages correctly. This workshop will explore the process of utilizing emotional intelligence daily. Through engaging activities and discussions participants will learn how to be more empathetic towards others and leave with tips that are immediately applicable to improve their communication.
Gary Clevenger, MS, CSP, CRIS, RRE
Bio: Gary serves as Vice President of Risk Control Segments for CNA. He is the executive leader responsible for aligning risk control with enterprise partners to deliver credible risk assessments and solution oriented services. He leads
a team of risk control professionals responsible for advancing strategic initiatives and delivering innovative business solutions.

Prior to joining CNA in 2003, Gary was the Risk Manager for the Sheet Metal Contractors National Association SMACNA. Gary worked closely with professional trade associations and association professionals to develop risk
management strategies, risk profiles, incident trending and predictive analytics. Gary authored and served as the technical advisor for the OSHA Susan Harwood Training grant awarded to SMACNA during his tenure. Gary
has over twenty five years of safety and risk control experience as a consultant/trainer/risk manager in the insurance and building trades. He has experience serving companies representing construction, manufacturing,
transportation, municipalities, energy and civil infrastructure.

Gary holds a bachelor’s degree in Education and a masters’ degree in Safety Management/Industrial Hygiene. Gary is a Certified Safety Professional, holds a Construction Risk Insurance Specialist designation and is a Recognized Risk Engineer through UL. Gary serves on the advisory board for curriculum at Pittsburg State University as well as national risk management committees for a number of construction trade associations.

Breakout Topic: Mental Health Issues in Construction
In 2020, the CDC reported that one of the highest rates of suicide are among construction workers. Why is this happening? And most importantly what can be done to combat this trend?
Key Learnings:
  1. Understand the unique confluence of factors contributing to suicide by construction workers.
  2. Hear about the strategies used by some construction firms to address mental health conditions and suicide prevention
  3. Learn how to access resources specific to the construction industry that can help address the individual worker’s factors that can contribute to suicide risk.

Steve Demetriou

Keynote Topic: Mr. Demetriou will sharehowJacobshas instituted action plans including “Together Beyond“ toaddress diversity and inclusion. Hewill speak to Jacobs outstanding performance in Climate Action, Justice andEquality,Covid 19 responseand other solutions that continue to “Challenge today and Reinvent Tomorrow”. Jacobs is in 40countries, currently14 Billion in revenue and employs 55 thousand
Kathleen Dobson, CIT; CSP; STS-C; SMS; CHS
Bio: Kathleen Dobson is a 23+ year veteran of the construction industry. As Safety Director for Alberici Constructors, she has responsibility for and supports their automotive, heavy civil, mining and industrial processes divisions. Kathi has worked throughout North America and is engaged in project start up and provides sites with ongoing evaluations, audits and training when needed.

Kathi is zealous regarding safety of workers and believes that everyone should be able to say they have the right PPE, the right training and the right environment in which to work. She is a strong advocate for mental wellbeing for workers in the construction industry and speaks out on the issue of mental wellness.

She is involved with NAWIC’s Alliance with OSHA, the AISC’s Safety Committee and represents the industry on the TAUC EHS Committee, the national A10 subcommittee and ASSP, where she serves on the standards development committee and actively participates with WISE (Women in Safety Excellence common interest group). 

Breakout Topics: 2022 OSHA 10 Training
Kizzy Ferrer, CIT, CDT
Bio: Kizzy Ferrer has a passion for leadership, mentorship and team building. She currently holds a Project Manager position for one of the leading luxury residential builders in Central Florida. In 2018, she founded BUILT 4 INSPIRATION, LLC whose sole mission is to inspire, motivate and equip through transformational speaking, leadership training and career mentoring.  

She is a graduate of the University of Florida and holds both the NAWIC Education Foundation CIT & CDT Certifications. She is a Past President of the Greater Orlando Chapter where she serves as a Mentor and a Co-Chair on several committees. She is also the SE Regional and National Chair for Professional Development and Education for NAWIC. As an active member, she credits NAWIC for the personal and professional development she has experienced since becoming a member in 2013 and truly enjoys sharing her experiences and lessons with others. She is the recipient of the:
Dale Carnegie Leadership Training Highest Achievement Award
NAWIC’s National “Shining Light” Executive Spotlight Award
Greater Orlando Chapter 73 - Chapter President’s Award 

In her spare time, Kizzy loves traveling with her husband Nathan, reading, volunteering, and spending time with her family.

Breakout Topic: Talk to Anyone, about Anything, Anywhere! 
Want to overcome your anxiety of speaking in public? Well, you can! Whether it's walking into a room full of strangers to network or maximizing the opportunity to share your ideas in front of a group, we all need to learn how to communicate with more confidence. In this highly interactive session, you will learn practical skills that you can use right away to network and communicate with more confidence, clarity and credibility. 
Amanda Garcia-Williams- Husch Blackwell
Bio: As the firm’s Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer, Amanda supports the development of an inclusive culture so that attorneys and staff are best equipped to meet client needs.

The granddaughter of migrant workers, Amanda has a lifelong passion for diversity and inclusion. Her enthusiasm for civil rights matters led her to begin her legal career in labor and employment, helping clients create more inclusive environments. She soon joined Michigan State University’s Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives, where she led Title IX investigations and delivered educational programs across the campus on inclusion, antiharassment and implicit bias. Amanda later took a role with Jackson National Life Insurance, serving in the General Counsel’s office while simultaneously building the company’s first diversity and inclusion working group and developing an initial diversity and inclusion strategy.

Amanda is especially passionate about the diversity, equity and inclusion work she does today at Husch Blackwell: law firms, she believes, are uniquely positioned to affect their communities for
good and to encourage the spread of best practices. Law firms have the opportunity to connect clients with talented teams of diverse individuals. Many Husch Blackwell clients already identify diversity as an important issue, and Amanda loves supporting a diverse pipeline of talented professionals who can assist with their legal needs.

However, Amanda sees her most significant role as ensuring that the firm acts on its goals of equity and inclusion. Diversity is a matter of representation, of working to recruit and retain a diverse group of professionals. Inclusion, on the other hand, means creating a culture where individuals of all backgrounds feel that they belong and are valued. At Husch Blackwell, we don’t merely hire diverse professionals; we make it a high priority to support the equitable and inclusive environment that will allow our diverse teams to function at their best. Amanda ensures that diverse team members have a supportive environment where they can thrive.

At the end of the day, Amanda’s efforts support the firm’s clients as well: attorneys and staff who perform at their best deliver excellent client service.

Breakout Topic: Equity Explained
Focusing on the “E” in DE&I with a Legal Lens Diversity and inclusion efforts are often highlighted in the DE&I work. In this session, we will focus on key equity concepts in the workplace, including policies and benefit offerings.  We will discuss how to attract and retain women and those with additional intersectional identities through equitable practices.  Additionally, we will consider legal pros and cons of certain equitable considerations in order to help attendees improve workplaces while mitigating risk.  This session will be facilitated by Amanda Garcia-Williams, Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer at Husch Blackwell, and Laura Robinson, Senior Associate at Husch Blackwell.
Karissa George - Meritage Homes
Bio: Karissa George is a Vice President of People Operations for Meritage Homes, providing strategic leadership to our Florida and South Regions. Karissa has worked in home building for over 20 years in both operations and human resources roles and understands the inner workings of home building inside and out. She is a strategic, results-driven HR leader accountable for managing the design and implementation of structures that improve individual and organizational performance. Karissa possesses a strong business acumen and is an inspiring leader, skillful relationship manager, effective facilitator, coach and mentor.  She successfully launched a formal Diversity, Equity and Inclusion effort at a Regional Builder back in the early 2000s and continues to demonstrate her passion for this work both at her organization and in her community. Karissa graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from Emory University and obtained her M.S. in Policy Studies from Georgia State University.

Breakout Topic: Leveling Up Leadership through Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: 
Meritage Homes has grounded their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) journey in an intentional way to both invite difference in and level-up our leadership capability to meet the complex challenges in today’s business world. During this session you will learn the approach Meritage is taking to embrace DE&I and enhance organizational effectiveness.
Jessica T. Graziano - United Rentals
BIO: Ms. Graziano was promoted to Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer in October 2018, after previously serving as senior vice president—controller and principal accounting officer since March 2017, with responsibility for oversight of the Company’s accounting, risk management and financial planning and analysis departments, and vice president—controller and principal accounting officer since joining the Company in December 2014. Before joining the Company, Ms. Graziano served as senior vice president—chief accounting officer, corporate controller and treasurer of Revlon, Inc. since April 2013. Prior to that, she served as Revlon’s senior vice president—global operations finance from December 2010 through March 2013 and as Revlon’s vice president and controller—U.S. customer finance from July 2009 to December 2010. Prior to Revlon, Ms. Graziano held other financial positions with UST Inc. (Altria Group) and KPMG LLP. Ms. Graziano holds a Bachelor’s degree from Villanova in Accountancy and an MBA in Finance from Fairfield University and is a certified public accountant.
Karen Hager, CIT, CBT
Bio: Karen has been in the construction industry since 1986.  She began her construction industry career as an Accounting Clerk for a Longwood Florida based HVAC company and worked her way up to Controller.   She left her 29-year career for the position of Chief Financial Officer for The Briar Team in Sanford, Florida and is now working for AB Design Group, LLC, an architectural and engineering firm in Longwood, Florida as their Accounting/HR Manager.

Karen has been a member of the Greater Orlando Chapter of NAWIC since August 2006 and has served on numerous committees and chaired Membership, Chapter Sales, Bylaws, and Mentoring.  She served on the chapter board of directors as Treasurer two times, Vice President, President-Elect, and President.  She served as the Southeast Region Director 2017-2019 and is currently the National Vice President.
Karen enjoys helping other women in the construction industry, offering guidance and experience whenever needed.  For this reason, she was excited to be on the Greater Orlando Chapter’s first Mentoring Committee and served as a mentor to two members. 

Karen grew up in a military family and moved multiple times whenever her dad was stationed in a new state or country.  She credits this constant moving to her ability to adapt to different situations and her out-of-the box thinking.  She enjoys sharing knowledge and loves teaching bookkeeping to our members, having taught the CBT course 4 times, providing experience and insight that enhances the knowledge in the CBT manual.
Angela Highland, CIT, CPC
Bio: Angela Highland, CIT, CPC is a Program Manager for Systems Innovation by LMG, and has been a member of NAWIC for 10 years. She is a very active member of the Greater Orlando chapter, serving as President in 2015-2016, is currently a Director on the Board and has been elected the same for 2022-2023.   She is past National Chair of the PDE committee in 2015,2016 and 2020, and is currently the host for NAWICs Official Podcast- Build, Lead, Succeed.  She was the recipient of last year’s Presidents Award and this past spring was honored as Member of the Year for the Southeast Region.  Citing NAWIC as her influence she has found a passion in supporting women in their careers and in 2018 completed her certification as a professional coach and with Dale Carnegie. She is committed to the success of women on every level as a thought leader and mentor and can often be found making the rounds on the NAWIC circuit leading workshops and seminars supporting women in their personal and professional growth.

Breakout Topic: Talk to Anyone, about Anything, Anywhere! 
Want to overcome your anxiety of speaking in public? Well, you can! Whether it's walking into a room full of strangers to network or maximizing the opportunity to share your ideas in front of a group, we all need to learn how to communicate with more confidence. In this highly interactive session, you will learn practical skills that you can use right away to network and communicate with more confidence, clarity and credibility.   

Jessica Jacobsen, MSPM 
BIO: Jessica Jacobsen, MSPM born and raised in Alaska. Involved in the Alaskan construction industry since 2009. Graduated with her first degree in Construction Management in 2013, as one of the only 4 girls in the program at that time. Most recently, obtaining her master’s in Project Management with honors in December 2019. This makes her a part of the 1% of Alaska natives with a master’s degree. Her current role is a Construction Manager at Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, where her primary responsibilities include monitoring the performance of maintenance contractors, vendors and other groups involved in the field implementation. Previously, she worked for ANTHC, where she held the position of the only female construction manager bringing water and wastewater infrastructure to some of the most rural places in Alaska.

In her free time, Jessica likes to spend time in nature golfing, hiking, or cycling, trying new recipes, and traveling to scenic places. She stays connected to her university and is a Mentor to multiple students in both undergraduate and graduate programs. She serves on multiple professional boards including President and Cofounder of Alaska Indigenous Exchange, Chapter President for Engineers Without Boarders, Treasurer for the National Association of Women in Construction, Alaska Chapter #197, and Director on the Board for University of Alaska Alumni Association. She is part of many committees including UAA Systems Governance, UAA Legislative Advocacy, 2021-2022 NAWIC D, E, & I National Committee | Education Pillar, Region Chair for NAWIC PNW 2021-2022 PD&E Committee. NAWIC Alaska WIC Week Committee, 2022 Alaska NAWIC Golf Tournament Co-Chair.
Allison "Ally" Jencson
Bio: Allison “Ally” Jencson, President and CEO of Frontline Floor Coatings, is fiercely passionate about helping women be successful in the construction and trades industries. Raised as a military BRAT, Ally has never been far from the construction industry. Her father served 28 years in the Air Force as a Civil Engineer and was a devoted member of the Society of American Military Engineers throughout his career, even after the Air Force. Ally was raised to be in service to others and work hard. She has spent her entire professional career in male dominated industries. Ally has over 17 years of experience in specialty trades. She knows it takes more than hard work and dedication to run a family and a business at the same time. It takes being a rebel and doing things differently!

As a female business owner in the construction trades, Ally has been on both sides of the proverbial fence. She’s been in the trenches doing the dirty work as well as the “behind the scenes” challenges of running a business as the CEO. She had to learn on her own how to be brave and embrace her leadership abilities. Through overcoming business and personal challenges, Ally has aligned with her “inner rebel” AND built a bad ass business.

Ally Jencson created Girder Skirts™, Tradeswomen Supporting Tradeswomen, an organization designed to support women in the trades through video casts, mastermind groups and personal coaching. Additionally, Ally is the current President of NAWIC Pikes Peak Chapter 356 and is the Chair for NAWIC’s National Special Industry Council for Tradeswomen. Ally is married to her husband, Barry, of 14+ years. She is a mother to 3 sons and 1 daughter and holds a Black Belt in Taekwondo. When she is not working, Ally enjoys camping, riding ATV’s on the trails of the Rocky Mountains, gardening and hanging out with her fur babies (2 dogs and 2 cats).

Breakout Session: The 3 A’s of Recruiting and Retaining a Sustainable Workforce
It’s no secret that finding (and keeping) good talent in the construction industry is a challenge. It’s even harder to find people with sustainable leadership qualities. In this session find out what the 3 A’s are, and why contractors, sub-contractors and their trade partners need them to create a sustainable workforce in today’s challenging work environment. 
Kiki L'Italien

Bio: Part strategist, part story-collector, part dot-connector, KiKi L’Italien helps organizations develop stronger ties between their mission and their members. She has honed her approach to communications and strategy for many organizations – nonprofits and corporate alike – including Optica, American Red Cross National Headquarters, QVC, and the American Insititute of Architects, among others.
KiKi is a senior consultant with Tecker International and speaks regularly about communications strategy and cultivating communities of trust. KiKi is the creator and host of Association Chat, an online community, blog, and podcast reaching 72k individuals every month. She was also featured in 2021 by Cvent as one of the ‘20 Event Professionals You Should be Following’, and in August 2021 as ‘30 Nonprofit IT Influencers to Follow in 2021’ by BizTech Magazine.   
KiKi has served on the membership and component relations section councils for ASAE, and was recognized in 2019 at IMEX as a Hall of Fame recipient for Organizational Leadership by the Association for Women in Events. Other awards include BizBash Top 1000 People in the U.S. Event Industry (2019) and SURGE Innovation Pioneer (2018).
She enjoys gardening, and philosophy and is the current president of the Woman’s Club of Wenonah.

Breakout Topic: “The Accidental Leader”
At the heart of leadership lies one (almost) secret truth: most of our leaders become leaders “by accident.” Thankfully, these accidental leaders often rise to the occasion and help create stronger connections, initiatives, and associations, leaving a legacy that paves the way for a brighter future.
What are the actions and attitudes of leadership that will help us be successful as leaders in our associations and our professional lives? How can we get more value from our experience while giving back to our industry? There’s a surprisingly simple answer, and it lies in why we join in the first place.

Christa Mardaus, ICRA Instructional Coordinator - Carpenters Training Institute

Bio: Christa Mardaus started her career as a field carpenter in 2001. She has experience working on large commercial projects, multi-family residential wood frame sites and occupied healthcare construction jobs.

Fall of 2013, Christa accepted a new role at the Carpenters Training Institute as a shop instructor working with apprentice groups. Her role on the shop floor was everything from basics to advance carpentry skill classes. Her primary responsibilities today are delivering ICRA Healthcare Best Practice Training to healthcare professionals and contractor groups across 6 states.
As a seasoned Instructor she is passionate about improving effective communications with industry professionals to improve work standards for all groups involved. In addition to training, she is also involved in committees such as Curriculum Development and Women in the Work Force.

Outside of the office Christa enjoys hockey games, horse shows and family time.

Breakout Topic: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion - "Gang Box Talk" Jobsite Culture Focused on Making a Difference
Leadership teams committed to new developments or special consideration that drive a needed change with a shift of attitudes, behaviors and values that contribute to an environment that allows harassment to occur. Teams increasing their focus on culture, not compliance. Committed to training with a platform that is relevant and engaging that will provide better results for a safer and more productive worksite.

Karli Meisinger
Bio: Karli is a seasoned construction management professional who leverages her experience and passion for renewable energy to create a positive impact through the built environment. A strong leader, she excels at seeing the big picture and distilling it into achievable milestones that guide project teams to success. In her role, she works with owners and project teams to understand goals and ensure the team is set up for success from the beginning with accurate estimates and pathways to utilize a variety of renewable energy opportunities. 

Breakout Topic: Riding the Solar-coaster: The Ups and Downs of Constructing Renewable Energy Projects. 
With the future of construction leaning more and more toward sustainability, we are going to see an increase in the number of renewable energy projects. This session will show the highs and lows that go into constructing a renewable energy project, even for the most experienced green-construction professionals.

Lauline Mitchell, ESP
Bio: Lauline is a committed volunteer of NAWIC and the incoming National President, who more than 20 years of experience in the industry.  As the Director of Pre-Construction with her firm, BBI Construction, she has spent the last several years focused on Affordable Housing in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Her current responsibilities include the management of client relationships, response to all inquiries for RFP/Q’s  and Pre-construction Services; including preliminary budgets, cost estimates, contract negotiation and administration, scheduling, value engineering, purchasing and cost control.  She diligently works to shepherd projects through the pre-con process and into construction providing the decision making process, rationale and historic details to the teams that will bring the projects to fruition.
Lauline has held many Board positions and led several Committees throughout her NAWIC career, but supporting Kristy Stewart while she blazed the path (with Jennifer Morales also burning up the trail) to the newly established DE&I Committee has been one of her best Committee experiences.  She has been a champion of women in the construction industry throughout her entire career and broadening the focus to include more groups than just women has been very fulfilling.  Her belief that all our members are improving the construction industry, adding value with each step they take and impacting the direction of advocacy for a more inclusive building community, helps to keep her energized and motivated.

Melanie Myers
Bio: Melanie A. Myers holds a Master of Science in Construction Management from Eastern Michigan  University and is a full-time Project Manager of Planning, Design and Construction for St. Joseph Mercy Health System in SE Michigan and part-time Educational Coordinator for N EF. She has fifteen years and counting working in the industry and fifteen years working in higher education. She was an active NAWIC member of the Lansing, Michigan Chapter from 1999-2020. During her time in NAWIC she held several leadership positions within her chapter, regional committees, and was elected Region 4 (now North Central Region) from 2010-2012. She also served ten years on the NEF Board as Trustee and an active member of th e Executive Committee serving as Secretary,Vice-President (twice), President-Elect (twice), and President. During her time on the NEF Board, she authored the Construction Industry Specialist (CIS). Currently, she is the President of the Eastern Michigan University Construction Management Alumni Chapter and helped develop the first Alumni Mentoring Program. This program links alumni with current students to support and help them directly connect with alumni working in the construction industry. As a part oft he Mentoring Program, she leads the an annual Student Alumni Summit that brings students and alumni together for an informative networking event. For her efforts, she was named the2020 recipient of the EMU Construction Management Ozzie Pffafman Volunteer Award. In Fall2021, she was named a Woman of Impact during  the NAWIC  Lansing Chapter’s 50th anniversary celebration. In March 2022, she was named a Construction Champion: Mentor by the industry publication Construction Dive. Out of 651 submissions, she was one of 35 chosen as a Construction Champion. She has recently joined the newly formed Michigan Chapter of Women in Health care and is currently serving on the Programs Committee.

Breakout Topic: What are CEUs and do you need them?
This workshop will discuss what CEUs are and do you need them for your job or career? Also, come learn how the NEF Professional Development Certificates can also give you the credibility you need to succeed in your career. 

Breakout Topic: Blueprint Reading Basics 
This workshop will give you an introduction to reading construction drawings and how you may continue your education through NEF.

Dr. Amy Narishkin, Ph.D 
Bio: To achieve true return on investment and an engaging place to work, leaders must create a culture of safety and belonging. With a PhD in Adult Education and 30 years’ experience in teaching, consulting, managing and research, Dr. Amy Narishkin is a thought leader, strategist and consultant helping organizations make the shift to Cultural Intelligence. Dr. Amy works with CEOs, management teams and those who take the lead in organizations to effectively implement the tools for CI, collaboration and innovation for growth. Dr. Amy is also a Certified Administrator for the Intercultural Development Inventory® (IDI®). As a cross-cultural talk leader and successful entrepreneur, she coaches both leaders and organizational teams creating exciting, culturally intelligent places to work and interact. To jump start your CI, you can contact Dr. Amy and read her latest blog post at: https://www.EmpoweringPartners.com/

Breakout Topic: Awkward to Awesome: How to Boost Diversity and Engagement with Cultural Intelligence
Does Having Diversity in Your Workplace Feel More Like Drama and Less Like Productivity? Research has found that diverse teams typically perform worse than homogeneous teams do. Why? Because it’s harder to get things done when people don’t see eye-to eye. Thankfully, this same body of research found there’s more to the story. Diverse teams with moderate to high levels of cultural intelligence (CI) outperform homogenous teams on a number of outcomes—productivity, cost-savings, innovation, safety and the list keeps going. In this interactive Workshop, learn why and how diversity and safety work when cultural intelligence is present. 

What is Cultural Intelligence?
Cultural intelligence is what enables us to be in conversation with a person who has a different perspective or background. As a person develops the skills to show compassion for others who have a different context or experience, they’ll be able to speak and act in ways that shows genuine respect.

Why Build Cultural Intelligence?
At home this creates more genuine productive relationships; at work this creates more collaboration, innovation and productivity because people can bring their whole selves to the office. Companies with the most ethnic and gender diversity on their executive team are 43% more likely to experience higher profitability. (McKinsey & Co., 2017)

Breakout Topic: Taskmaster to Trust-builder: How Leaders Use Cultural Intelligence to Build Genuine, Productive Relationships
Bogged Down by Being a Taskmaster?
Is there an inability to talk and work effectively with people who are different? If your team is stifled by suspicion and mistrust, that can impact your organization’s productivity, collaboration, safety and innovation. In this interactive workshop, explore the cultural characteristics that can hinder engagement and productivity, and discover how cultural intelligence can help improve your team’s outcomes. 

What is Cultural Intelligence?
Cultural intelligence is what enables us to be in conversation with a person who has a different perspective or background. As a person develops the skills to show compassion for others who have a different context or experience, they’ll be able to speak and act in ways that shows genuine respect.

Why Build Cultural Intelligence?
At home this creates more genuine productive relationships; at work this creates more collaboration, innovation and productivity because people can bring their whole selves to the office. Companies with the most ethnic and gender diversity on their executive team are 43% more likely to experience higher profitability. (McKinsey & Co., 2017)
Kim Norton - Mayor
Bio: Kim Norton became the first woman Mayor of Rochester, Minnesota in 2018 and took office on January 8, 2019. Most recently Kim was selected to be part of the Harvard-Bloomberg City Leadership Institute and has had educational and support opportunities providing unprecedented opportunities for the city. Additionally, she was selected to be part of the Mayors Innovation Project, a small cohort of leaders seeking support for community redevelopment expertise.

Prior to her election as Mayor, Kim won a Bush Fellowship which allowed her to complete a master’s degree at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs and experiential learning focused on leadership and energy policy. This work encouraged her to investigate communities noted for their sustainability and livability. Kim served in the Minnesota House of Representatives, representing District 25B, for 10 years. During her tenure as a legislator, Kim introduced and helped pass many pieces of significant legislation including the Destination Medical Center (DMC) economic development project, Primary Seat Belt and many other health related bills aimed a positioning Rochester and Minnesota as a premier location for healthcare. Before serving on the state legislature, Kim served eight years, including one as board chair of the Rochester Public School Board.

In addition to Kim’s solid and long history of public service and leadership, she has a record of asking tough questions, seeking out and listening to people with differing opinions, and working with the community to build bridges toward finding smart, fair solutions. Her workforce history includes self-employment, retail and non-profit work.

Kim participated in the Women in Power executive education program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School and the Rockwood Leadership Institute. She continues to serve on many local and state nonprofit boards (The Arc, Fresh Energy, KSMQ, Minnesota Children’s Museum Rochester, and Healthy Communities Collaborative) and was newly appointed to the Governor’s Young Women’s Initiative Council.

Kim is married to Randy Stone, the mother of four grown children and a stepson. She is grandmother to Zoe, Henry, and Penelope. She spends her personal time traveling and reading and has a special fondness for kayaking.
Anne Pfleger, CIT
Bio: Anne has been working in the construction and transportation industries for 28 years. She recently joined Hancock Structural Steel, LLC as the Director of Operations after working for Charles Construction Services, a commercial general contractor and sister company to Hancock in the estimating, safety, HR, and IT departments. Anne is also currently serving as the Immediate Past National President of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) where she strives to continually enhance women’s success in the construction industry.
Many would be content with serving local communities through NAWIC chapter events and helping their chapter progress forward. For Anne it ignited an internal purpose and passion, to not only improve personally, but to support and guide other women in the construction industry to do the same.
In addition, Anne volunteers’ countless hours reaching out to potential members and employers encouraging them to support women in construction. She has engaged parallel organizations seeking ways to be of mutual benefit to one another.
Anne’s goal for the next few years is to be the conduit to connect and communicate collaboratively to have the conversations that will break the barriers women are facing in the construction industry.
Her aspirations and belief in NAWIC’s mission have carried her to Regional Director and to the National Board as an inspiring voice for all. She embraces NAWIC values by living them daily, and in doing so, empowers, elevates, and challenges others to do the same.
Michael Riegel - A/E/C Business Strategies
Michael Riegel is a business consultant and project management expert with 25 years of experience working with public agencies, regulated utilities, contractors, and design/engineering firms while leading teams through the planning, design and construction phases of large scale construction projects and construction management programs. He now utilizes his background and expertise to assist emerging A/E/C companies chart their desired growth, identify opportunities, and overcome challenges.
Michael began and built his career on the ability to develop practical solutions to complex projects. Michael implemented and managed the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Small Business Development Program where he delivered coaching and mentoring to emerging companies and small business owners, including women-, minority- and service disabled-owned companies. He also provides coaching, training, and consulting services through the NYC Small Business Services mentor program, Columbia University Growth Program, and TruFund’s mentorship program.
Michael combines his expertise in coaching, business leadership, project and program management, as well as staff and organizational development to help leaders and teams navigate obstacles to achieve personal and professional success. In his coaching and consulting practice, he works with both technical and non-technical professionals to help them become more effective business owners, communicators, relationship-builders, problem-solvers, people managers, and a range of other development goals. 
Michael’s approach to coaching, consulting, and mentoring combines his natural intellectual curiosity (to fully understand the “what” and the “why”), analytical skills (to accelerate development of options and develop a framework for goal attainment), and his ability to personally connect with his clients. Michael tailors his approach to each client’s individual needs and set of circumstances and lives by the motto “what got here won’t get you there” both personally and professionally. He and his wife Deborah (also a coach) are the proud parents of teen twins, Jacob and Sophie – who have declared their home a “no coaching zone”.

Breakout Topic: Interpersonal Management Skills
If it weren’t for people, the job would be easy!  If this resonates for you in managing your projects, communicating with clients, colleagues, and managers, or giving and receiving effective feedback then this will be the session for you.  Learn about the challenges of communicating effectively and fostering productive relationships.  Prepare yourself for some fun and laughs along with tips and techniques to manage your connections for greater success.
Laura Robinson - Husch Blackwell 
Bio: As a commercial litigator, Laura maintains a broad practice helping clients find the optimal path for moving forward and mitigating risk.

Hospitals, insurance companies, corporations and business owners across industry sectors are among the large and small clients in Missouri and Arkansas that rely on Laura’s advocacy in state and federal courts, on appeal, and before state governing boards. Within her varied commercial litigation practice, Laura defends and counsels clients on matters including:
  • Business disputes
  • Construction disputes
  • Discrimination and retaliation claims
  • Mechanic's liens
  • Boundary and title issues
  • Tax assessments
  • Product safety
Knowing that proactive compliance can be the most cost-effective defense, Laura counsels clients, particularly in the education sector, on measures that mitigate risk. Whether working with clients at a pre-emptive stage or facing litigation, what Laura finds most rewarding is identifying the best course for moving forward and minimizing future exposure. Additionally, Laura regularly devotes her skills to pro bono casework.

Breakout Topic: Equity Explained
Focusing on the “E” in DE&I with a Legal Lens Diversity and inclusion efforts are often highlighted in the DE&I work. In this session, we will focus on key equity concepts in the workplace, including policies and benefit offerings.  We will discuss how to attract and retain women and those with additional intersectional identities through equitable practices.  Additionally, we will consider legal pros and cons of certain equitable considerations in order to help attendees improve workplaces while mitigating risk.  This session will be facilitated by Amanda Garcia-Williams, Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer at Husch Blackwell, and Laura Robinson, Senior Associate at Husch Blackwell.
Greg Sizemore
Bio: In his role at ABC, Greg Sizemore is a key leader in the construction industry and the public sector on safety and workforce development. Prior to joining ABC in 2015, Sizemore worked at Zachry Industrial, where he played an integral role in the formation of Zachry’s competency-based safety, professional and craft workforce development programs. He also developed several new initiatives, including a craft university that targeted the construction industry’s critical crafts areas and a competency-based craft advancement and safety program. Sizemore also held several management positions at BE&K Construction Co. in Birmingham, Alabama. Sizemore is also an active volunteer leader in the safety and workforce development space. He is a past chair of the ABC National Craft Championships Committee and NCCER Workforce Development Committee. Currently, he serves on the Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health and the board of directors of NCCER and chairs the Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention.

Breakout Topic: Mental Health Issues in Construction
In 2020, the CDC reported that one of the highest rates of suicide are among construction workers. Why is this happening? And most importantly what can be done to combat this trend?
Key Learnings:
  1. Understand the unique confluence of factors contributing to suicide by construction workers.
  2. Hear about the strategies used by some construction firms to address mental health conditions and suicide prevention
  3. Learn how to access resources specific to the construction industry that can help address the individual worker’s factors that can contribute to suicide risk.

Cindy Spiropoulos, CIT, LEED GA
Bio: Cindy was born and raised outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and earned her BS from Centenary Collage in New Jersey after earning her Associates degree in Construction Management from Norwalk College in Connecticut.

Cindy has been involved in the Construction industry for over 30 years, working in almost every aspect of construction from estimating, job costing, scheduling, engineering and superintendent.  Cindy finally settled into safety as her passion, having worked in this capacity for 20 years.  Cindy has been working for H. J. High as their Safety Director almost 5 years.   She loves the family atmosphere of H. J. High, but most of all she loves that there are dogs in the office on any given day.  

Cindy has been a member of the NAWIC Greater Orlando Chapter #73 for 23 years. Cindy was president of the Gr. Orlando chapter from 2008-2009 and served as NAWIC National Safety chair from 2009-2010, which inspired her to serve as Southeast Region Director for the 2019-2021 years.
Cindy lives on a 15-acre farm with her 2 dogs, 9 chickens, 1 cat and 11 horses and enjoys trail riding and working on her farm.  Cindy enjoys traveling when she can and is very active with the Safety peer group for ABC and loves to help the next generation of safety professionals.  
Patricia Zugibe 
Bio: As the Chief Executive Officer of Holt Construction, Patricia is responsible for overseeing over three hundred staff members, and three hundred million dollars’ worth of work annually across the firm’s nine business units. Founded in 1919, Holt Construction has built a legacy of outstanding construction performance for their clients across the country. Patricia leads this family run organization based upon the firm’s founding core values of trust, honesty, integrity and transparency.

Prior to joining Holt Construction, Patricia was a partner in PVZ Development a residential rental property company, owner of North Rockland Developers Inc., a residential construction company and owner of Zugibe Construction, Inc., a commercial construction company. Patricia began her career at Holt Construction in 2014 as in-house Counsel overseeing all transactional legal matters including litigation, ethics and compliance, corporate governance, and risk management. Since 2014, Patricia has worked to create a culture of caring within the Holt organization, and on all their jobsites. She has continued to foster a culture of empowerment among all staff, while developing strategic growth initiatives and ensuring operational excellence for the company. Patricia spearheaded Holt’s diversity and inclusion goals and initiatives including the Women of Holt employee resource group and continues to be a pillar and role model for women in construction across New York.