Read about Siobhan's experience at Procore Technologies Empower Series on July 11.
On July 11, DEWALT® was honored to partner with Procore® Technologies on their Women in Construction Empower Series event in New York City. This event is at the forefront of the women in construction movement and is an opportunity for women and men in the industry to come together and engage, educate, and empower each other. Siobhan Sawyer, DEWALT‘s Director of Field Engineering, had the honor of sharing her perspective on the Empower Series panel. Read about her experience below.
1. Why did you choose to participate in the Empower Series event?
When I was asked if I would like to represent DEWALT on the Empower Series panel, I didn’t hesitate for a second. I have been around the construction industry my whole life and most days, I’m definitely in the minority as a female, but I honestly don’t even notice that. I had an upbringing where I was never seen as different, and so I don’t act like I am. I feel that it’s important to share some of my experience and “wisdom” with other ladies who are facing the same challenges I did and give them a resource to freely speak and brainstorm situations and solutions. In return, I knew I would learn from them also.
2. How do you think the Women in Construction initiative is shaping the industry?
It’s giving us a platform to learn from each other and highlight the diversity we can bring to a very traditional industry. It’s always good to have a diverse mix of ideas on any team and being female brings just one new dynamic to a workplace where women were traditionally tolerated rather than welcomed.
3. Are you seeing changes in the industry for women?
Recently I’ve witnessed a lot more discussion about attracting and retaining women in the construction trades and industry as a whole. It’s interesting to hear that some companies are protecting jobs during and allowing for maternity leave, providing stable work locations so women are not moving around as much with the job, and flex time ability. All of these aspects in construction used to be deterrents for working women and are now being openly discussed and changed by company leaders.
4. How do you think men and women in construction can help drive change?
We must keep an open mind and be accepting of all people and their ideas. The industry is slow to adapt and yet we are living in a world where the next generation expects to find easier and smarter ways to do everything, which is good. At the same time, we can’t lose the experience and hard-earned lessons of those who went before us. We need to make sure that the change is necessary and will make our workplaces and industry safer and more efficient and keep the quality of our end product high.
5. What advice would you give for women in construction?
Ultimately you must love what you do and where you are doing it and you must always stay true to your own values. Do not waiver in that. There will be times when you will have to bend and compromise but don’t step away from your core personal values. They will keep you strong and gain you endless respect. Also, learn from everyone around you, give everyone their place, and accept their help and knowledge. Being strong does not mean you have to do it all yourself.