Building Design+Construction has teamed with 35 leading AEC women professionals to develop workshops, keynote talks, and education sessions focused on leadership training and professional development for leading teams and firms in disruptive times.
Registration Opens - Located outside of the Grand Ballroom
Welcome + Introductions
Balancing the Table: Achieving Diversity and Inclusion at the Leadership Level
Presented by Gilbane Building Company
Karrie Kratz, Vice President/Chicago Business Leader @Gilbane Building Company
Michelle McClendon, Senior Project Executive @Gilbane Building Company
Vanessa Ramos, Assistant HR Director @Gilbane Building Company
Ezgi Kosereisoglu Talarico, Senior Manager, Private Sector Growth Leader @Gilbane Building Company
Emily Voigt, Project Engineer @Gilbane Building Company
In construction and across our communities, diversity fuels progress and drives enduring change. So how do you accelerate strategies for inclusivity and get more equal representation at the table? With a female executive and a diverse leadership team at the helm, Gilbane Chicago has fostered an inclusive work environment where career growth is accessible, sustainable, and prioritized at all levels of the organization. We invest in the talent pipeline with robust support programs in career development, mentoring, and succession planning. In this fireside chat, dynamic female industry leaders will share a roadmap for success in balancing the leadership table and achieving a truly inclusive environment that supports, celebrates, and benefits from the talents of every employee. Supported by practical examples from our panelists, this candid conversation will reveal valuable insights on topics including:
• fostering empowerment, collaboration, and mentorship
• identifying stretch assignments to support succession planning
• building engaging training and coaching programming
• leveraging industry partnerships for professional development
Transforming Firmwide Culture: Lessons From a 100-year-old Startup
Presented by LEO A DALY
Irena Savakova, Global Design Principal @LEO A DALY
Kim Cowman, National Director of Engineering @LEO A DALY
It takes a certain set of strengths to reach the milestone of 100 years as a design firm, and a totally different set to stand out in the 21st century. After celebrating the firm’s centennial year in 2015, LEO A DALY embarked on an intentional process to determine what the next century of design at the firm should look like. What followed was a transformation of design culture at LEO A DALY—one that aggressively pursues 21st century priorities such as high-performance design, carbon elimination, and social justice while retaining the firm’s roots in client service, technical excellence and integrated design. Two women at the center of this firmwide shift are Global Design Principal Irena Savakova and Chief Sustainability Officer Ellen Mitchell. Together, and in collaboration with dozens of others, they’ve introduced significant changes in every element of design culture, from how designers set priorities, to how they collaborate, and how they measure and talk about their work. In this tag-team presentation, Irena and Ellen will share their story of transformation and offer practical tips for attendees seeking to influence and even transform the culture at their firm.
Vino with Vitro & Networking Reception
Presented by Vitro
Christopher Fronsoe, Western Regional Architectural Manager @Vitro Architectural Glass
Western Regional Architectural Manager — and resident sommelier — Chris Fronsoe, has chosen three Vitro-curated wines for this exclusive wine tasting event. Chris will teach you about their compositions, origins, aromas and beyond. You’ll also earn (1) AIA credit for attending this unique event. This special experience was created by Vitro especially for the attendees of Women in Design+Construction.
Welcome + Introductions
How To Lead, Influence, and Establish Credibility in AEC
Presented by McCownGordon Construction
Emily Brown, Vice President, Talent Development @McCownGordon Construction
If you’re new to the AEC industry, or even a seasoned veteran, having influence in your organization can make it easier to achieve goals, improve your ability to lead, and increase your confidence. However, establishing credibility as an AEC professional can take time. In this session, talent development leader Emily Brown will share insights to help women establish credibility, generate influence, and enhance leadership skills. Participants will leave this session with practical ways to influence others, build credibility, and transfer those skills into leadership roles. A project executive turned learning professional, Emily has a unique perspective on the challenges faced by AEC associates, from operations to corporate services. Emphasizing associate development, she works with teams to create timely, applicable learning opportunities for all associates, from individual contributors to top executives.
Collaborating in a Virtual World: The Key Ingredients To Leveraging Your Leadership Style and Mentoring Women Leaders of the Future
Beth Carroll, AIA, LEED AP, EDAC, Lead Programming and Medical Planning @Page
Jill Pearsall, RA, NCARB, Senior Vice President, Facilities Planning & Development @Texas Children’s Hospital
Michelle Riley-Brown, FACHE, Executive Vice President @Texas Children’s Hospital
Rhona Vogt, AIA, Project Manager @Page
When designing and constructing a brand-new pediatric hospital, issues will always arise. This group of women leaders from Texas Children’s Hospital and design firm Page will discuss best practices of their virtually “connected” team on this project, including:
• forming a Project Team Charter to strengthen the team dynamic
• creating goals of active listening, mutual respect, and continual improvement
• mentoring the next generation of leaders
• discussing their own journeys of evolving into leadership positions.
1. Learn how to lead project teams using a Project Team Charter
2. Explore how to create a high-functioning team that has mutual respect, with a direct correlation to team retention
3. Discover how this primarily women-led team evolved into leadership positions during their careers
4. Learn how the team mentored leaders, including the process and tools implemented
The Great Re-Engagement: Putting the Joy Back in the Job
Presented by Art Anderson Associates, Rice Fergus Miller, and Mortenson Construction
Melissa Anderson, COO/Owner @Art Anderson Associates
Ivi Gabales, Director Of Business Development @Rice Fergus Miller
Sheryl Van Anne, Vice President & General Manager @Mortenson
We’ve surveyed, we’ve researched, and we’ve talked it to death. Our team of Melissa Anderson (Art Anderson — Engineering), Ivi Gabales (Rice Fergus Miller — Architecture), and Sheryl Van Anne (Mortenson — Construction) offer perspectives on how the pandemic changed engagement at work at all levels: management, teams, and individually. We examine those changes and share the research—what worked and didn’t work—and discuss how we move forward with the goal of finding joy in our jobs.
Brand Positioning and Business Development in the Infrastructure Decade
Presented by Hinge Strategy and IMEG Corp
Molly E. Foley, Principal, Chief Marketing Officer @IMEG Corp.
Katy Pultz, Strategic Account Director @Hinge Strategy
IMEG Corp.’s results tell the story best: 844 marketing qualified leads, 84% revenue growth, 48% growth in employees, 300% growth in NPS score, CSAT score 4.65/5. In three years. In 2018, IMEG had grown rapidly through acquisitions into an enterprise with 50 offices worldwide. But that growth came at a price: an expanding range of services that no longer fit the company’s traditional place in the market, messages that failed to resonate with a broader audience, and flagging client satisfaction. IMEG Principal and Chief Marketing Officer Molly E. Foley and Hinge Strategic Account Director Katy Pultz will walk participants through a series of programs that brought together IMEG’s multiple businesses under one cohesive brand, raised the profiles of the firm’s top experts, solidified the firm’s thought leadership position, and enhanced the firm’s perceived value. Participants of this interactive, research- and case study-driven session will come away with brand positioning and business development techniques for success in the infrastructure decade.
• How to increase the visibility of individual experts while solidifying a firm’s thought leadership.
• Strategies that work best to win more work–and which ones are a waste of time.
• How to generate more digital leads.
Lunch + Peer to Peer Roundtables
Make the most of your WIDC experience by participating in the Peer to Peer Networking Lunch. This optional complimentary program will pair like-minded AEC professionals in small groups for a semi-structured discussion during the lunch break. WIDC Advisory Board members and other volunteers will serve as facilitators for the discussions.
Women’s Employee Resource Groups (ERG): Proud Moments, Lessons Learned, and Everything in Between
Presented by Skanska USA
Bianca Messina, Superintendent, Engineer @Skanska USA.
Tracy Anderson, Project engineer turned Business Development Director @Skanska USA
Anisa Dhimarko, Design-Build Manager @Skanska USA
Skanska’s Womens Network (SWN) started 10 years ago as the company’s first Employee Resource Group (ERG). It certainly has best practices and lessons learned to share with the industry about its incredible and evolving journey. SWN has grown from a single chapter pilot in 2012 to nine U.S. chapters today, inclusive of men and women members of all leadership levels. In this presentation, hear directly from some of Skanska’s women leaders and long-standing SWN members about the journey and what it took to start up this ERG that will build momentum for the next 10 years and beyond.
Behind the Scenes of the Wrigley Field Renovation
Presented by the Chicago Cubs and Pepper Construction
Networking Reception at CDA Restaurant, Sofitel
Welcome + Introductions
Viewing Change as a Leadership Opportunity
Melissa DiMuro, Chief People & Culture Officer @Limbach
Change may as well be a four-letter word, especially in a longstanding industry such as design and construction. In a world as dynamic as the one we live in today, leading effectively through change can make or break companies and leaders. Whether you are responsible for a project, a team or a company, this skill can differentiate your performance and results. Learn techniques to grow your leadership impact, influence, career and business results. Led by a change agent at the very top, Chief People & Culture Officer Melissa DiMuro will share how she has moved the needle on these very same challenges as one of two women in Company leadership and as a newcomer to the AEC industry. Since joining Limbach in January 2021, Melissa’s immersion in the business and skills for talent development and business have allowed her to make tremendous impact in a short time. She will use this unique perspective to help others see how they can grow their leadership skills and influence the culture to change from status quo to solutions-driven.
Surface Pressure and The Power of Sharing
Margaret Bailey, MBA, Vice President, Strategic Practice Manager-Health Practice @CannonDesign
For years, women have been discussing the difficulties of balancing work life and home life; increasing and shifting expectations with leadership; and how to keep control of it all. Then, the pandemic upended life as we knew it. Women bore the brunt of the impacts of the pandemic, and the result is fewer women in the workforce and burnout among women at an all-time high. The line between work and life has gotten even blurrier, with many no longer able to see the line. Under this extraordinary pressure, how can women uplift other women? In this presentation, we discuss opportunities with employee-resource groups, women networks, and the power in sharing women’s stories.
Broader Lens: How Gender-inclusive Investigation Creates Better Design for All
Laura Rushfeldt, Senior Project Architect @CBT
Devanshi Purohit, Associate Principal @CBT
“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.” — Jane Jacobs
On the whole, our western-world culture designs from the perspective of one gender. This year, the CBT Women in Design (WiD) team tackled how we, as urban designers, architects, and interior designers, can influence the built environment to be inclusive to all.How can a space feel inclusive to all? The group chose the theme, “Designed BY Women; Designed FOR Women,” to guide our month-long investigation of how much of the world around us is designed – from seatbelts to entire communities – by and for men. As a society, we scrutinize the impacts of holistic design on the female experience too little. Our discussion will focus on what truly gender-inclusive design is and challenges the design world to use their profession to affect change. Speakers will share insights and guidelines for creating gender-inclusive design at all scales—from city planning to furnishings. Spaces designed for women are spaces designed for everyone. This interactive session will engage the audience in re-thinking our designed world and inquire how we can make it more inclusive in our shared industry.
Lessons and Action Steps from Women in the AEC C-Suite
Cathy Orquiola, Vice President, U.S. West Region Lead @PCL Construction
Kerrie Greenfelder, PE, Engineering Director @Burns and McDonnell
Two AEC industry executives will present proven advice and lessons for helping to grow your firm and advance your career.