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Program Schedule

Disneyland® Hotel, Anaheim, California

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

A Reimagined Workplace:

How to Navigate and Elevate the Future of our Profession

1:00 - 1:10 pm

Welcome and Introductions

Rose McClure, SE3 Committee Chair and Jonathan Bayreuther, Symposium Lead

Opening remarks, introduction of key committee members, and overview of the symposium's agenda.

1:10 - 1:40 pm

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

Jamie Claire Kiser, Zweig Group

Recruiting and retention are the top challenges consistently cited by principals of architecture and engineering firms, according to Zweig Group’s Principals, Partners and Owners survey. In 2019, this same survey found that 90% of principals are white, 83% are male, and 58% of male principals feel there is a lack of diversity across age, race, and gender among principals in the AEC industry.


In this keynote presentation, Jamie Claire Kiser, Managing Principal of Zweig Group, will share her observations as a business consultant to AEC firms and her experience establishing ElevateHer, a platform to improve recruitment and retention of women within the AEC industry. She observes that firms often work in isolation to solve the very same problems. And if we fail to work together to translate these findings into specific actionable items, we risk holding ourselves in a pattern of hire, develop, burn out, repeat. ElevateHer was built on the premise that we can elevate the profession by working together, and together, we are all called to act.


Since launching ElevateHer, many industry leaders have come forth to recognize that creating more inclusive work environments can lead to tangible benefits for all, and can serve to perpetuate the future of the profession. But the fact remains, with groups like SE3 and ElevateHer we are all too often preaching to the choir. The challenge now is to take the data, the anecdotes and the conviction to impress upon A/E business leaders the imperative to adapt our business practices to meet the needs of a changing workforce. We can change this industry by engaging the remaining 42% of principals who do not believe the future of our profession is at risk. The question to ask: how do we create opportunities for the difficult conversations that may ultimately unite and benefit us all?

1:40 - 2:30 pm

Session 1: Building Workplace Culture: How to Improve Engagement and Retention

Moderated by Jennifer Ridd & Jessica Simon, JQ Engineering

This session will demonstrate how findings from the 2018 SE3 survey can help guide individual and firm decisions to improve workplace culture. Through a series of fast-paced “snapshot” presentations from five thought leaders, attendees will see how the SE3 survey results can be applied throughout the arc of a career on topics such as: mentorship, performance feedback, work-life balance, retention and burnout, and career pathways.

Key Questions:

  1. What can individual employees do to enhance their personal engagement and benefit the firm?

  2. What approach can they take to assess their priorities and effect change in their own careers, and/or work to improve overall conditions at their own firm?

  3. How can management decisions improve employee engagement and result in a net benefit to the success of the firm?


Thought Leaders:

Jennifer Pazdon, CAST CONNEX (SEAONY)

Alexander Lakocy, Martin and Martin (SEAC)

Angela Fante, Ballinger Associates (DVASE)

Matthew Arnold, Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates (SEAOI)

Sabrina Duk, Verahaus Structural (FSEA)

2:30 - 3:30 pm

Session 2: You're Not Alone - Navigating Common Experiences in the Life of a Structural Engineer

Moderated by Jonathan Bayreuther, Veitas and Veitas Engineers, Inc.

Have you ever encountered a challenging situation in your career when you wished someone could give you a timely piece of advice? While there is no doubt your experience was unique, the situation almost certainly was not. In this session, a panel of AEC professionals will present stories from their careers that speak to common situations such as: managing stress when your work-life balance doesn’t feel balanced, advocating for oneself during a performance review cycle, recruiting, and transitioning between job roles. 


Building on the relevant SE3 survey findings, panelists will provide insights and alternative suggestions on how to handle these situations. Through story-telling and group discussion, attendees will hear a range of perspectives and strategies that may be applied to their own careers, and to those of their colleagues.

Key Questions:

  1. Have you managed a team that you knew was over-stressed or over-worked but wished you knew how to approach those concerns and still meet the required deadlines?

  2. Do you want to move up in your firm but are not sure how to advocate for yourself or effectively lay out your career goals to your supervisor?

  3. Have you wanted to effect a change to your company culture but had trouble convincing your supervisor or colleagues of the importance of your ideas?


Thought Leaders:

Nina Mahjoub, Holmes Structures (SEAOC)

Uchenna Okoye, Autodesk (SEAONC)

Emily George, KPFF (SEAW)

Greg Davenport, HKS (SEAOT)

3:30 - 4:00 pm

Coffee Break

SE3 Symposium Sponsors

Brought to you by the sponsors of the National SE3 Symposium.

4:00 - 4:50 pm

Session 3: Elevating the Profession for Everyone: Why Diversity and Inclusion Affects Us All

Moderated by Stephanie Slocum, Engineers Rising, LLC

Leaders with experience implementing diversity and inclusion (D&I) programs will share their experiences. They will discuss the realized and aspirational benefits of each program, the effect on individual careers, company strategic planning and workplace culture, and share lessons learned. They will also lead a set of short, interactive exercises to demonstrate the importance of incorporating diversity into decision-making at all levels. Attendees will leave with a set of practical resources and ways to bring D&I to their own firms.

Key Questions:

  • What are some of the ways that Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives can impact your firms’ success and culture?

  • How do you measure progress in D&I initiatives, and why are these metrics important?

  • Why is continued, deliberate training in D&I crucial to successful implementation?How do you convince firm leaders that D&I is important enough to allocate resources to these efforts?


Thought Leaders:

Stephanie Slocum, Engineers Rising

Angela Heinze, Thornton Tomasetti (DVASE)

George Theo, Coughlin Porter Lundeen (SEAW)

4:50 - 5:00 pm


Rose McClure, SE3 Committee Chair and Jonathan Bayreuther, Symposium Lead

Closing remarks, announcement of additional SE3 presentations during the Summit and thank you to our generous sponsors.

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