Schimenti Celebrates Women in Construction Week 2024


By March 8, 2024People, Practice

Women in Construction Week Kickoff Message from Angela Phillips, NAWIC Hartford President

Welcome to Women in Construction Week 2024!

I joined NAWIC in March of 2021 (during 2021 WIC Week, in fact!). Many pages I followed and connections on LinkedIn promoted NAWIC a ton during that week, so I used the opportunity to sign up. NAWIC’s mission statement makes it clear that this association is committed to championing women to impact the direction of the construction industry by providing education, community, and advocacy for women. Since its 1953 founding in Fort Worth, TX, NAWIC now has over 115 chapters throughout the United States and offers both in-person and virtual ways for women in the construction industry to connect and collaborate with each other. It is important to support this initiative so that all women, whether newly entering the workforce or looking for a career switch, consider construction a field they can successfully be a part of.

I have always felt Schimenti’s support since vocalizing my interest in joining NAWIC. Joining in early 2021 meant that the majority of the events I first took part in were done virtually due to the pandemic. My direct management was always supportive of me signing up for lunch & learn professional development webinars hosted at the chapter, regional, or national level–two that stood out to me were those that dealt with negotiation tips and public speaking improvement.

I have also attended various regional and national conferences, which provide agendas with multiple days of events discussing personal and professional development. At the 2022 Annual Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota, there were various keynote speakers, discussion panels, and breakout sessions that discussed topics from leading with integrity, DE&I initiatives, mental health hurdles in construction, and pushing past personal barriers to achieve success. The 2021 Fall and 2022 Spring regional conferences I attended brought similar topics to a smaller, more focused group of attendees, including more time for Q&A with speakers and more intimate networking.

Being able to connect with the other women in NAWIC from all over the U.S. has been a great way to not only learn about the different positions they hold within their companies, but also to compare their stories about how we are all able to achieve varying levels of success with construction-based jobs. Specifically, serving on the board of the Hartford chapter (first as a Director, then as Secretary, and currently as the Chapter President) has allowed me to meet once a month with the other board members and see what it looks like to run chapter events, and keep a chapter current and growing. Our current board has a good mix of new and seasoned members, and we are now working to get our Spring Toolbox Talks webinar wrapped up to be offered for sign-ups very soon.

Women in Construction Week at Schimenti

Throughout the week, Schimenti showcased the voices of women within our organization, sharing their insights on the progress of gender equality in the industry, demographic shifts, and the future of construction. Explore their perspectives below.

“The construction industry is rapidly evolving, shaped by smart, skilled workforces and digital transformation. Women are demonstrating their excellence across various roles, from project management to architecture and engineering, while also encouraging younger generations to explore careers in construction.”
– Daviana Estrella, Project Engineer

“The increasing presence of women in construction drives workforce diversity, addresses labor shortages, and enhances project performance. Women offer unique perspectives, skills, and problem-solving abilities, tapping into an underutilized talent pool. Despite persistent challenges like gender biases, supporting women’s career advancement is essential for long-term business success.”
– Erin Driscoll, HR Manager

“Mindset is crucial in any endeavor, including breaking barriers like women in construction. Success in this field often requires resilience, determination, and a positive attitude despite challenges. Embracing growth opportunities, building strong networks, and continuously learning are also keys to success in construction for women and anyone else in the industry.”

– Kirsten Golankiewicz, Senior Project Manager

“When I began here 14 years ago, women’s roles were mainly in administrative, accounting, and support positions. There were fewer than 15 women in the company. Over time, I’ve seen a shift. More women now occupy positions as project managers, executives, and even in traditionally male-dominated trade roles on site. Continued education and training will help break down industry barriers and redefine traditional gender roles.”
– Ann Marie Brown, Project Accountant / AR Manager

“In my first year at Schimenti, I’ve witnessed more women entering historically male-dominated roles. To continue advancing gender equality, hiring managers and executive leadership must remain open-minded about considering women for roles they might not typically consider and acknowledge the current successes of female employees.”
– Monica Avila, Assistant Project Manager

“As the idea that ‘women are out of place in construction’ is being dismantled, it is being simultaneously replaced with challenges to expand our understanding of inclusivity. The path forward involves honestly addressing our limiting beliefs about others and what they can achieve. If the effort is carried out in good faith, it should drive action and, in turn, create results that benefit the business.”
– Allison Ziminsky, HR Coordinator

“I’ve seen more doors open for women than ever before, and we’re flourishing in all levels of construction. I can’t wait to see more opportunities open up for women and see us represented in leadership roles, project management, architecture, engineering, and throughout the field. With the increase of women in construction, we can mentor and support the next generation of women in the industry.”
– Kristi Takemoto, Operations Manager

“Women in construction are hardworking, detail-oriented, and driven, shaping the industry’s future and breaking stereotypes. I’ve seen progress toward gender equality with women in management roles, but building trust with male coworkers is essential to continue this trend. The increasing presence of women in construction makes the industry more inclusive and empowering. Collaborating with other women in construction boosts confidence and motivation.”
– Veronica Cruz, Estimating Coordinator

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