1. Why did The Associated General Contractors of MA sign the 100% Talent Compact?
The 100% Talent Compact’s mission to develop a more equitable workforce aligns with AGC’s 2017 Strategic Plan - and - our work force development initiatives over the past two years to support the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women in the construction arena. Half of all graduates from schools of construction in the region are female. They will soon be driving industry standards and determining the way construction companies compete and operate. If AGC MA wants to continue to be a relevant force in the industry, we need to embrace this new reality – or face becoming irrelevant to this next generation of leaders.
2. The wage gap is not just a women’s issue, and male allies are very important in the fight for gender equity. Why is equal pay important to you?
Equal pay is not only necessary for legal and ethical reasons but cultivates an environment of organizational justice. Employees who believe they are treated fairly are more likely to be highly engaged and contribute their best efforts to the job. In addition, we understand that smart employers cannot afford to economically discriminate based on race, gender or ethnicity. Some of the best and most profitable construction projects are those that are managed by highly performing, diverse and collaborative teams. Companies that develop project teams that are respectful of gender and pay equity among all employees will be the most successful in their recruitment and retention efforts. So, in the end, it is not only the right thing to do, it also makes good business sense.
3. The 100% Talent Compact’s line is “Equal pay. Equal opportunity. 100% Talent”. How do you see those values being embodied at AGC MA?
The values embodied by AGC MA and its members have always been and continue to be an alliance of standards that promotes the economic strength of the commercial construction industry and of the Commonwealth. Equal opportunity is essential in fostering a competitive environment and growth. That being said, I am proud that the management structure of our trade association (501- C- 6) is very flat. All Staff – whether executive or administrative positions – are equally valued. Each opinion or suggestion is carefully considered and given equal weight as any other team member because each position counts and is integral to the entire organization. More importantly, within AGC all positions are compensated comparably to help support gender neutrality.
4. Workplace equity is about more than just dollars and cents, it’s about culture. What changes in culture have you seen at AGC MA since joining the 100% Talent Compact?
In just the past year, Lisa Frisbie, AGC Director of Marketing & Communication formed a new “Building Women in Construction” (BWiC) Committee dedicated to mentoring and nurturing careers for - and of - women in construction companies. The group is spearheaded by talented and energetic executive and project management-level women that have propelled BWiC to become the fastest growing, and perhaps the most populated committee within AGC. The group sponsors events and educational forums that support the unique needs of women in the industry. In addition, the face of our Board of Directors is becoming more female. We have just created a new Board seat for the BWiC Chair: Stacy Roman (Commodore Builders) and the new Chair of the Construction Leadership Council: Ashley Greenwood (Sea-Dar Construction) has also joined the Board. Also, our new HR Committee is co-chaired by Diana Hassan (C.E. Floyd) and Kathy Freitas (BOND).
5. What message do you have for other men who want to be an ally to women working for workplace equity?
This is a great question. As I said earlier, women are graduating from college with CM, architectural, engineering and facilities management degrees and entering the industry in record numbers. Not only are they becoming valued employees and teammates BUT – they are increasingly becoming our members’ clients! More and more are working in influential positions not only in architectural and engineering firms, but with institutional owners, developers and public awarding authorities. The future belongs to firms that respect and promote gender pay equity. Companies who embrace this philosophy and become re-known for this good business practice may well have access to a larger talent pool. Again, makes good business sense.
6. You have spent a large part of your career at AGC MA, and have likely seen a lot of change over the years. Describe what the future of AGC MA looks like to you.
I have to be honest. Being a baby boomer, over the years I have gone out of my way not to make any distinction or play up the special role of women or their achievements in the industry, lest this be seen as too patronizing. Case in point; when Shaila Kennedy Garland became AGC’s first female Chairman of the Board in 2003, I intentionally down-played the fact that she was the first female Board Chair in AGC’s 68-year history – BUT instead touted that she was the youngest Board Chair. When Lisa Frisbie and Stacy Roman came up with the new BWiC committee concept, I was again skeptical, thinking that we should be just encouraging more women to join our already established (and mainly male-dominated) committees. But they passionately and effectively educated me as to the benefits of BWiC filling a huge void in AGC that I had not realized existed. As fate would have it, the 100% Talent Compact was introduced to AGC at the same time that this internal discussion was happening, so we saw signing the Compact as a terrific opportunity to embrace and promote the movement. Finally, to your last question: “What does the future of AGC MA look like? In short: Younger. More diverse. More integrated. More efficient. More thoughtful. More effective. More collaborative…. All needed to help AGC members build better teams in order to build better buildings.