2019 Symposium Recap

A Reimagined Workplace: How to Navigate and Elevate the Future of our Profession

This half-day program was designed for engineers of all levels, business owners, human resource managers, and anyone within the AEC industry who is interested in promoting dialogue on engagement and equity in the structural engineering profession.

 

The symposium was kicked off with opening remarks from Rose McClure, current SE3 committee chair, and Jonathan Bayreuther, symposium lead, followed by the keynote presentation. Attendees participated in three separate sessions focused on various aspects of engagement, retention, diversity and inclusion. They learned more about the 2018 SE3 survey findings, heard from industry panelists on the state of our profession, and acquired strategies & best practices for improving retention within their organizations.

For more information, check out:

Photo courtesy of NCSEA

United We Flourish: A Call to Action for the AEC Industry

Keynote Presentation

Jamie Claire Kiser, Managing Principal at Zweig Group, shared her observations as a business consultant to AEC firms and her experiences establishing ElevateHer—a platform to improve recruitment and retention of women within the industry. The presentation included a number of key findings from Zweig Group’s Principals, Partners and Owners survey.

Photo courtesy of NCSEA

Recruitment and retention are cited as the top challenges faced by principals of architecture and engineering firms. Jamie observed that firms often work in isolation to solve the same problems and encouraged the audience to elevate the profession by working together. The next steps are to utilize the survey findings and impress upon A/E business leaders the significance of adapting our business practices to meet the needs of the changing workforce.  

Start at the top with your Board of Directors; Beware of echo chambers; Educate, don’t alienate; Don’t send a proxy; Focus on outcomes, not optics.
- Jamie Claire Kiser
Building Workplace Culture: How to Improve Engagement and Retention

Session 1

Through a series of fast-paced “snapshot” presentations, SE3 committee members introduced the five (5) focused areas of study. The thought leaders showcased key findings from the 2018 SE3 survey and outlined suggested best practices for both individuals and organizations. Slides of the presentations and additional resources can be found below:
 

Photo courtesy of Natalie Tse

You're Not Alone - Navigating Common Experiences in the Life of a Structural Engineer

Session 2

Moderated by Jonathan Bayreuther, Session 2 navigated between our four (4) panelists who shared their unique experiences—both positive and negative. Through story-telling and audience participation, attendees gained valuable insight on how to handle unique situations and walked away with an understand that everyone’s path is different.

Photo courtesy of NCSEA

We learned Greg Davenport has been at the same firm for the majority of his career and has remained happy with his continued development. Uchenna Okoye struggled with determining which avenue within the AEC industry suited him best; he changed jobs and locations multiple times and discussed the associated stigma.

 

We learned Nina Mahjoub landed on a fantastic opportunity to study abroad yet didn’t want to leave her employer to pursue it; she demonstrated that by having a conversation with your managers, you can have the best of both worlds. And last but not least; we heard Emily George’s journey through motherhood, working a shorter work week and still advancing into a principal level position.  

Elevation the Profession for Everyone: Why Diversity and Inclusion Affects Us All

Session 3

Stephanie Slocum moderated the final session and walked the audience through a few interactive exercises. She demonstrated our natural tendencies towards unconscious bias and illustrated how these trends are reflected in the SE3 survey results.

Angela Heinze and George Theo joined the conversation by sharing how their respective firms implemented programs and policies to increase diversity and inclusion. Angela was involved with the development of the Women @ TT program (Thorton Tomasetti) which evolved from a focus group seeking to tackle work culture issues. George provides the Human Resources perspective into firm operations. The development of policy and procedures coupled with transparency can bring individuals and organizations into alignment.

An engaged staff, who feels valued and invested in the culture and the success of the firm, are better at recruiting, retention and just a better culture for all.
- Jonathan Bayreuther

Photo courtesy of Natalie Tse

Acknowledgments

We’d like to express our gratitude and appreciation to all our sponsors for their generous support! Without their contributions, the 2019 National SE3 Symposium would not have been possible! We also want to sincerely thank the NCSEA Board & Staff for allowing us the opportunity to showcase the hard work of our committee members. We appreciate all your support and efforts!

 © 2020 by the NCSEA SE3 Committee.

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