/ Groundbreak

Thousands gather to discuss the connection between culture, leadership, and innovation at Groundbreak

In concert with Procore.org’s recent Building Inclusion campaign, more than 4,000 individuals convened to discuss the value of investing in company culture as a driver of business growth. From Jake Wood’s keynote, to many of the breakout sessions, inclusion and diversity stood out as key areas of focus linked to driving innovation.

Beth Comstock, former Vice Chair of General Electric, set the stage for the speaker sessions that followed on days two and three when she urged attendees to be creative and push for change, even when it doesn’t seem possible.

“At first these ideas seem really silly... and then with the blink of an eye, they go from being unlikely, to being inevitable.”

Building Influence in the Field: How to Build Relationships Between Skilled Trades, General Contractors, and Owners

The lines between skilled trades, general contractors, and owners were blurred on Wednesday, October 9, when hundreds of construction professionals and industry experts gathered in one room at Procore’s Groundbreak conference to discuss the current and future state of construction. During this breakout session, Troy Johnson, Senior Vice President of Harmon Inc., Nancy Novak, Senior Vice President of Compass Datacenters, and Tim Wakely, Director of Construction of Compass Datacenters, opened up the conversation about building influence in the field.

Topics ranging from productivity and stakeholder alignment to culture and strategic partnerships were discussed as attendees stepped up to share their insights - regardless of title or experience level. In many ways, this gathering of individuals from diverse backgrounds facilitated a space that reflected one of the session’s key takeaways about building lasting relationships.

“The best way to have influence in the field is to care about what’s happening out there,” explained Johnson.

The focus on relationship building while bridging the gap between office and field communications was central to many of the breakout sessions hosted by industry experts last week.

Women, Inclusion, & Diversity: We know the Why, Now Let's Talk How

During this session, Holly Cindell of Consults on Construction, moderated a panel about workplace accountability and equity. Panelists discussed the importance of getting more females in the construction industry by focusing on factors including business success and productivity.

Lisa Stevens, Chief Strategy Officer, BC Construction Association, explained that the number one reason people leave construction is the culture. Throughout the session, panelists emphasized the importance of shaping culture by introducing new codes and language that support an inclusive system.

“We need to change what is normal behavior,” Stevens proposed.

Be That One Guy: The Ironworkers' New Approach to Jobsite Safety

On the last day, attendees heard from Vicki O’Leary, General Organizer Safety/Diversity, Ironworkers International. She shared more about recent efforts to end jobsite harassment and bullying through her program, “Be That One Guy.”

“Harassment is always a safety hazard,” said O’Leary, which is why she’s partnering with 130,000 union members to train those on the jobsite to protect and prevent tough situations.

Groundbreak’s closing sessions left attendees with a message that echoed throughout the three days in Phoenix, AZ. Be that voice at the table and motivate change by not just holding others accountable but also by reshaping the norm.