The construction industry is not just for men anymore. The industry is changing. Construction jobs are growing in complexity and scale with an increasing focus on technology and techniques to streamline processes, improve safety and enhance worker productivity, which requires a more diverse set of skills. As a result, we’re seeing more diversity on project teams. Some companies are embracing this change, and have established resource groups to help women make connections, share ideas and have the confidence they need to thrive and lead. Skanska, a leading global construction and development company, is one such company.
Skanska Women’s Network (SWN) is an employee resource group focused on retaining and developing women in the industry. It promotes and supports a gender-inclusive culture that enables everyone to be better together. It provides professional development and a forum in which women can share experiences and influence the company. Networking events are open to all employees, both men and women, with a focus on understanding each other’s perspective and promoting equal opportunity and development. Through education and engagement to build gender-inclusive workplaces and advocating for positive change in policies and practices, the SWN helps to create new possibilities not only for personal growth, but for Skanska as well.
I recently sat down with three of our local SWN members to talk about how they got started in the field and how SWN has played a role in their career.
Clare De Briere, executive vice president for commercial development operations in Los Angeles, wanted to be an architect. As a UCLA student, she discovered a passion for developing and the ability to change people’s daily lives with what she built. She joined Skanska in July 2018 with more than 20 years of experience. Prior to joining Skanska, she was executive vice president and chief operating officer at The Ratkovich Company where she oversaw the acquisition, entitlement, planning, development and disposition of millions of square feet of developments, including The Hercules Campus in Playa Vista and The Bloc in downtown Los Angeles. When coming to Skanska, Clare wasted no time getting involved with SWN. “I’m passionate about the opportunity to mentor women interested in moving up in the company and within the industry,” she said. Sponsored by SWN, she meets with her mentee regularly to talk about current work programs, career aspirations, as well as participating in project tours. Her mentee is a mentor to another woman on Clare’s team, providing a full circle system of support and encouragement.
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