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News Oct 23, 2019

Tips on Fostering Inclusion to Become the Status Quo: Women in Construction USA 2019 Conference Recap

Two insightful leaders at Jacobs shared their perspective on inclusion in the workplace at the 2019 Women in Construction USA Conference in San Francisco, California.

Group photo from the Women in Construction USA conference 2019

Imagine being a presenter to a sold-out, primarily female audience at the first 2019 Women in Construction USA Conference in San Francisco. The energy is high, people are engaged and excited to listen, reflect and share their experiences about being more inclusive and diverse in the construction industry. Two of Jacobs’ Buildings,Infrastructure and Advanced Facilities presenters, Project Manager Preeti Parthasarathy and Senior Vice President Tom Price, share highlights and practical tips from their sessions and experience.

Tom price with two co-workers at the conference

Thoughts from Tom Price

Tom from our Sacramento office led the “Men Are Not The Enemy” session and shares his key takeaways:

  1. Sharing knowledge is a great first step – it creates awareness. But to create action we need to generate emotion. People should discuss actual events and stories and be willing to share how it made you feel. This may generate emotion in others and create more engagement.
  2. Focus on our similarities first and our differences second. This brings us together and builds trust which makes it easier to discuss difficult topics.
  3. When working to engage others discuss need versus give. People may not engage as they feel they don’t need anything, but sometimes they may need to be reminded that they do have something to give.
  4. Create both internal and external networks of people interested in the discussion to share best practices, continue your learning and have others to lean on.
Preeti Parthasarathy presenting at Women in Construction conference 2019

Thoughts from Preeti Parthasarathy

Preeti from our Los Angeles office led the “Spotting and Calling Out Microagressions” session and shares her findings:

  1. Be aware of everyday moments at work and elsewhere where microaggressions and other discriminatory verbal and non-verbal messages get communicated, whether intentionally or unintentionally.
  2. Take appropriate action on addressing the situation in cases where we experience it, witness it and cause it. Use the opportunity to enter a meaningful teaching dialog.
  3. Acknowledge your biases and take conscious steps to work on them. Doing so will help one expand their world view and in turn make them less prone to being biased.
  4. Knowing one's worth and fostering a culture of inclusion, diversity and empathy along with continuing education goes miles to promoting a better work place. This is key to creating a culture that encourages people to feel more connected and in turn allows them to strive to do better.