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10 Tips from the Groundbreaking Women in Construction Conference

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I attended a conference called GWIC – Groundbreaking Women in Construction this summer and wanted to give you a little taste of the experience. The conference, held once a year in Manhattan, is attended by women and men that have an affiliation of some sort in the industry.  I’m not going to lie, it was primarily women in the auditorium, but there were a handful of men as well, many of whom are CEOs of large construction or engineering companies in the area.

This would be an incredibly long blog if I shared everything from the conference, so I thought I’d share the program and one sound bite (paraphrased, in most cases) that summarizes the lessons I got out of each session:

1. Align your role with the needs of the business – your personal vision/mission statement should align with that of the company you work for.

2. Perfection is not required for success.

3. “Seek – Listen – Learn”: always keep learning and forwarding your knowledge set to others.

4. Don’t get bogged down by what the “challenges” are – see a challenge as an opportunity – don’t be afraid to take risks.

5. Mentoring is important, giving younger generations access to knowledge and experience, but just as important is reverse mentoring – learning and opportunities to share knowledge goes in both directions.

6. “I am not Wonder Woman” – be the best that you can be at any given moment.

7. Have an “Automatic Altruistic Instinct” –pay it forward and support the people around you.
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8. Don’t be afraid to admit when you are wrong.

9. Balance of life and work – you CAN be committed to both so you don’t feel you’ve compromised yourself, your family, or your company – life happens, so stop planning and start doing!

10. Take your wisdom and experience and let it be a ladder for someone else’s success.

Engineering News-Record put together a brief video sharing powerful sound bites from a similar conference back in May:

And this interesting recent Wall Street Journal article talks about the glass ceiling for women in the architecture profession–we are making progress but are still a minority in firm leadership. From both the conference and these related pieces from national and industry press, my hope is we can become more aware of the challenges facing not just women but all of us in the profession–and be advocates for one another in our careers.

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