Last month, I attended the 67th Annual National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) Conference alongside more than 500 attendees from across the country. During the event, Procore announced the launch of a new initiative, Lean In Circles for NAWIC -- Powered by Procore. The nine-month program is designed to help NAWIC members gain practical skills to navigate bias and advocate for themselves and other women in construction. In collaboration with Lean In, the program features a peer-to-peer mentorship structure and ensures all women - regardless of their job or function - can find career success in the construction industry.
NAWIC’s Annual Conference is one of my favorite industry events because of its unique ability to bring women together. This year’s theme was “Envision Equity”, which to me signifies the need to create better top-down leadership where women are placed in more diversified roles throughout the organization.
Construction at a Major Crossroad
This year, we crossed a major milestone in the United States. According to Bloomberg, the number of women working in construction hit the one million mark in May last year and has since reached just over 14% of the sector's workforce. This make-up represents an all-time high since the numbers were first recorded in 1964.
With this momentum, backed by record job openings in construction, businesses can now focus on retention and promotion strategies for women. It’s about more than attracting women into our industry; we need to offer them opportunities within the organization so their impact can be measured effectively, and promotions granted accordingly.
Creating stronger networks for women and better equipping them to succeed is one thing. Ensuring leaders recognize and promote the women impacting the business is an entirely separate area of focus.
As I looked out over the audience at NAWIC’s conference, I thought about the construction projects and dollars represented in the room. Much of that investment is managed by women working as back office administrators in accounting, operations and finance. I also thought about the female project engineers, superintendents and technology project managers who work tirelessly to build the world around us, sometimes even in the face of opposition or bias in the workplace.
In a recent survey conducted by Levelset, a Procore company, 80% of women respondents said they loved their job in construction. Drawn to the ability to build something that lasts, many women report a high level of career satisfaction. Unfortunately, women surveyed in the report also revealed they experience burnout most when companies overlook or undervalue their expertise.
NAWIC and Procore’s Partnership
At last year’s NAWIC conference, I met with Anne Pfleger, director of operations at Hancock Structural Steel and former CIT NAWIC National President, to brainstorm how Procore and NAWIC could deepen their partnership. We wanted to identify a way to leverage the power of the NAWIC network alongside Procore’s foundation of educational resources.
When Pfleger shared her passion for Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In, we found common ground. With direction and support from Procore’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Team, we connected with Lean In to build the curriculum for NAWIC’s Lean In Circles.
Building off the success of Lean In Circles for Union Tradeswomen, the structured mentorship program aims to build a stronger network of support for NAWIC members. By engaging with one another through meaningful dialogue, it will equip participants with the skills needed to tackle key industry challenges. The program is kicking off this month with 15 Circles of over 190 NAWIC members.
“Launching the NAWIC Lean In Circles Powered by Procore aligns perfectly with our mission to connect, collaborate and construct a more inclusive and diverse future for the construction industry,” said Pfleger. “In this male populated industry, our goal with the Circles is to provide a safe environment for women to connect, support one another, and learn new skills to enhance their success and the success of the future workforce.”
Circles are made up of 8 or more women who meet virtually each month, guided by a designated Circle Leader. Some of these curriculum topics include:
- Connecting over shared experience
- Communicating with confidence
- Overcoming the “prove it again” bias
- Navigating the” assertiveness tightrope” bias
- Navigating the “only” experience
- Why it’s important to negotiate as a woman
- Coping with burnout
Envisioning Equity Now and Moving Forward
In order to maintain the momentum we’ve gained this year and increase the total number of women in construction, we must envision equity across all levels of the business. I’m excited to celebrate this launch as part of Procore’s Women in Construction program.
We’re invested in making construction a global leader in workforce equality. We’re committed to building stronger connections for women through our partnerships, online Procore WIC Community Group and events. Stay in the know with our WIC newsletter and join us in building momentum together!
Visit procore.com/wic to learn more about Procore’s WIC program, and visit our WIC Procore Community Group to connect and interact with other WIC advocates in one virtual space.