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Effective & Resilient: A Conversation with Women in Engineering


Our Senior Associate | Project Manager, Kristen Pecci, reflected on her experience moderating the panel discussion, “Effective & Resilient: A Conversation with Women in Engineering” in the post below:

On June 23, in celebration of International Women in Engineering Day, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to partner with AEC industry group LMNOP (Leadership, Mentorship, and Networking Opportunities for Professionals) to present an inspiring and thought-provoking panel discussion, “Effective & Resilient: A Conversation with Women in Engineering.” The panel featured six insightful and accomplished women, each representing a different facet of the engineering industry.

Our panel discussed lessons of resiliency from excelling in a male-dominated field as well as shared thoughts on how we can channel these lessons learned toward advancing the industry, overcoming career and project challenges (including the current global pandemic), and continuing to broaden the seats at the table as we strive for increased equity and inclusion.

A study conducted by the Congressional Joint Economic Committee in 2015 found that only 14% of all professionals in engineering are women, even though we make up over 46% of the overall labor force. While that statistic is steadily improving thanks to an increased emphasis on STEM education and opportunities in many disciplines of engineering, there is still more work to be done. Our six panelists discussed their journeys from education to their current positions, highlighting their paths towards becoming principals their firm or founding CEOs of their own companies. They discussed how mentorship and sponsorship played crucial roles in their professional development, at all levels of their career, and how to approach those concepts in our current digital communication predicament.

Finally, our panel reflected on the relative success of women as leaders. A recent analysis from the Harvard Business Review found that women in leadership positions scored statistically higher than male peers in 17 out of 19 categories of leadership competencies. But given this shared aptitude, less than 5% of Fortune 500 CEOs and only 2% of S&P 500 CEOs are women. Our panel pondered these conflicting findings and looked for the common thread among women leaders, whether it be an propensity for consensus building, a more tangible motivational style, or a different approach to professional compassion.

The evening was filled with shared experiences, thought provoking-insights, and, most of all, the acknowledgement that diving deeper into conversations such as these are necessary and important steps towards moving the needle and ultimately improving the talent and caliber of ideas across the industry. It was an amazing discussion, and I thank all our panelists for participating!

Panelists:

  • Patricia Scanlon, Partner at Longman Lindsey
  • Victoria Ponce de Leon, Principal at Silman
  • Jennifer Carey, Founder and CEO of JLC Environmental Consultants, Inc.
  • Colette DiLauro, Project Engineer at Langan
  • MaryAnn Hay, Principal, Lighting Design at Syska Hennessey Group
  • Schillivia Baptiste, CEO of LaLand Baptiste, LLC.

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