Tess Wakasugi-Don, a Principal + Sr. Project Manager at GLY Construction, and Marie Ternes, a Structural Project Manager at Coughlin Porter Lundeen, were collaborating on a project when the talk turned to women in AEC. They discovered a shared passion – encouraging and supporting women in the industry – and found their conversations snowballing into an idea.
Despite remote work, can we continue the important discussion around the small number of women in the construction and engineering disciplines? Can we support and unite women in this uniquely challenging environment? Can we create an approachable platform to raise awareness and share stories?
Together, they dreamed up a virtual chat series that would allow their companies – Coughlin Porter Lundeen and GLY Construction – to do just that. The series was designed to be comfortable and collaborative (channeling our beloved lunch and learns!), to encourage candid, honest conversation (with both panels of in-house faces and small group discussion), and ultimately, help both organizations move toward a more inclusive and successful work environment.
It included two sessions: Work/Life Balance and Building Partnerships, and Why Not More Women: Our Journey and Our Outlook.
The sessions were met with great enthusiasm and were well attended, with more than 100 participants tuning in via Zoom. Attendees included both men and women, and staff of all levels. We’re happy to report that they achieved the goal of continuing conversations, allowing us to better understand others’ perspectives and experience, and ensuring that COVID-19 and less in-person collaboration didn’t halt progress!