Celebrating Groundbreaking Women in Construction

A panel discussion hosted by the NAWIC for Women in Construction Week and International Women’s Day 2018
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Bluebeam staff members celebrated International Women’s Day by attending a panel discussion hosted by the Los Angeles chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC). Titled “Groundbreaking Women in Construction,” the panel featured women in leadership positions from private- and public-sector companies across the design, engineering and construction industry.

Guests filled the Marriott LAX ballroom for a catered lunch and discussion that brought to light obstacles that women face within AEC, as well as suggested solutions and strategies based on the panel members’ personal experiences.

The panelists for the day included:

  • Cathy Orquiola, District Manager, PCL Construction
  • Jennie Santoro, AIA, NCARB, Senior Project Manager, HNTB Corporation
  • Miriam Long, Director of Small Business and Construction Career Outreach, Los Angeles Metro
  • Samantha Bricker, Deputy Executive Director, Los Angeles World Airports
  • Terri Mestas, Vice President, AECOM
  • Veronica Soto, Program Director, Emerald Cities

Some key quotes from the event:

  • “There’s a difference between managing people and leading them.” – Terri Mestas
  • “Having a seat at the table isn’t enough…you have to have a voice, too.” – Cathy Orquiola
  • “Know who you are and know that you’ll make mistakes…just know those mistakes become stories…for when you make it to the podium.” – Miriam Long

As an organization, the NAWIC highlights the many contributions women have made in the construction industry and provides information about opportunities available to women in the industry. In fact, a group of 20 female students from City Honors High School attended the event. These students got a chance to ask the panelists for advice, and many attendees gave their business cards to the Inglewood Unified School District superintendent and supervisors for potential internship opportunities for students.

Seeing the community rally around the students with advice and opportunities offered a glimpse as to why these events are so important. Currently, women in construction management roles represent just 7% of all the positions in the industry. Given the optimism of this event, that number will hopefully be on the rise in the future.