“I asked Santa for hammer and nails’” began Shilo Losino, current president of NAWIC Los Angeles. She wanted to build a fort in her back yard. “I got ballet lessons instead,” she continued. “I can only imagine the things I could have done had I been given the tools and skills that I really wanted.”
Some of us had an early knack for building or creating things. But for most of us, there were few people recommending to young women that a successful career in construction was possible. Whether working in the trenches as a trade person, or in an administrative office job, great opportunities for women exist - even as executives and business owners.
At the NAWIC LA Open House, the Board shared what we do as an organization, and described our chapter’s mission. Shilo explained that joining forces with other women’s groups for WIC Week, and bringing together all our different ideas will get us to our goal: to unite everybody, women in construction, in particular. NAWIC LA is here to provide a safe space for conversation; we are here to help educate, and introduce women and young people to construction.
The battle cry from Nationals this time was, “Be the power in your own success.” Coincidentally, Chapter #42 had already put in place a similar theme for this term: “The Power of You. May you own it. Hone it, and use it to advance women in construction.” So, “plug into our energy and be the power in your own success.”
We also shared what we each gain personally from being a member. Nancy Lira, of Herzog, and current Treasure, shared her fear of public speaking. In the same breath, she also committed to her bravery, and said,“This is the reason I joined NAWIC. It has challenged me and helped me grow, both professionally and personally.”
Shayla Smith, of PCL Construction, was happy to report that we continue to grow our membership, and it looks like we are on track to reach our goal. Membership privileges include free or discounted fees for our workshops, networking with leaders and influencers in our industry, as well as opportunities to get involved in our STEM scholarship programs.
These women know ambition and they also know the hard work that comes along with it. As part of Women in Construction Week 2019, NAWIC LA will be partnering with the Mayor’s Office, as well as with other organizations who support women in construction. Our goal is to engage over 1,000 women! With that target, we are looking for volunteers and sponsors to help us spread the word.“We’ve done the work that allows us to offer you all a full calendar of meetings and professional development events,” boasted Lakeisha Bearden, of Merriwether & Williams. “We derived these topics from member feedback. We understand that as women in construction, there are topics and thoughts that we may hesitate to share with peers, but that we can safely discuss in this group.”
Many of us who serve in the Board, are like Barbara Kotsos, of Giroux Glass. “NAWIC is a vocational interest and a passion that I engage in, on the side.” The key to setting these goals is devising the strategy to execute them. Barbara is the chair of the Communications Committee, along with Jackie Rivera, of Alliance Construction Services. “Critical to reaching our goals, is to have strong communication supporting them, to help get the word out, to share our message”.
Dr. Giovanna Brasfield of Hensel Phelps heads the Block Kids Committee. Imagine 50 kids, each given 100 blocks, one piece of string, one rock and one piece of paper. Pretty ordinary, maybe even child’s play. The magic happens when they explain their work. Last year, our winner went to the national competition, and brought home the second prize.
The evening wrapped up with Legislative updates, presented by attorney, Marilyn Klinger, of SMTD Law. She has lectured in the Stanford Graduate School of Engineering’s construction management course, and she told us how all those students freely ask questions. She encouraged our group to do the same. “Don’t hesitate. Ask questions!” Shared here is her presentation of legislative updates, compiled for our reference.