The theme of International Women’s Day in 2022 is “Break the Bias.” “Imagine a world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated.”
This strongly aligns with Marco’s vision to create a workplace focused on inclusivity where individuals who identify as women can thrive and lead. While 13% of Canadians involved in the construction industry are women, a full 29% of our team identifies as female. And of those women, nearly 50% are involved in the management of construction projects.
On the recently completed MUN Core Science Facility, for example, five of the 11 key project personnel were women: Project Manager Megan Kavanagh, Project Manager Kayla Buckler, Mechanical and Electrical Manager Raylene Pittman, Project Coordinator Stephanie Parrell, and Safety Director Lisa Rice.
Our ongoing P-3 joint venture projects also have a significant number of women in key roles.
Director of Human Resources, Jada Ruttgaizer, says that “Marco recognizes that a systemic issue has led to the continued under-representation of women in the construction industry. As an organization, we have reflected on how we have operated and evolved our processes and programs. We continuously look to make the construction industry a more inclusive place. Marco has exceeded industry standards with women’s employment rates and is recognized nationally for these achievements. As a woman in a leadership role, I feel heard and valued at Marco. I am very proud of the work we have done, and I am excited about the organization’s future. “
As we recognize International Women’s Day, we thought the best way to honour the many inspiring women on our team would be to let them share their thoughts and experiences.
Martina Taylor, EIT, Project Coordinator: “The Industry is still male dominated, but the inclusive and supportive team at Marco makes you want to come to work every day. I’ve worked in places that don’t work to make women feel like their opinions are important, but my coworkers always make sure there’s a level of respect and inclusion. As for why I enjoy the industry as a whole, playing a role in a building that will be standing for a long time helps you feel like you’re making an impact in the community that will last longer than your career. That’s pretty cool.”
Jenn Delaney, Controller: “I have worked in a variety of industries from Oil & Gas, to Structural Engineering, to Construction and I have never felt like I’ve been treated any differently because of my gender. I’m generally in the office and not out in the field, but I believe that respect is earned, and you will gain the respect of your co-workers if you treat them the same way you like to be treated. One thing that I think has always helped me in my career is that if you make a mistake, own it. Don’t blame others, don’t make excuses, own your mistakes, and then help find a path forward to fix it and to prevent it from happening again. And if you don’t know something, don’t pretend! People treat you a lot kinder when you admit that you don’t know something and are willing to learn than if you pretend to have skills and knowledge that you don’t have.”
Lisa Rice, CRSP, CSS, GSC, Safety Director: “Although I’m an introvert at heart, my job has pushed me to gain important extrovert skills that I can use when required. Since I started this job, I have gained a wealth of knowledge, met some really great people, and have realized that the opportunities in the construction industry are endless for anyone willing to put in the hard work. I love helping ensure people can go home safely at the end of the day. For those women that may be considering a career in the industry, if you are looking for a challenge and a career that will help you grow, you should go for it!”
Savannah Quinlan, Staff Accountant: “Throughout my childhood, I saw the women of my life defy typical women’s roles and work in male dominated industries, specifically the forestry industry. I also helped out on a lot of family construction projects like sheds, cabins, and even my family home for which all hands were on deck. My family did not shelter me from gaining construction knowledge, so if my mom was swinging a hammer then so was I.
As a result, many aspects of the construction industry are not new to me. Although I am working from behind a desk now rather than hands on, I am still very happy to be a part of a team of professionals in construction management. It’s especially inspiring to have such a large team of women to learn from. I would strongly encourage women to start a career in the construction industry as I feel an immense amount of pride when I can show my family and friends structures all across the province and say that I had even a minor part of its construction. I feel that is something I will cherish forever and continue to say to my children one day.”
Hannah Bradbury, EIT, Project Coordinator: “I am a recent graduate of Memorial University’s Bachelor of Engineering Program, and I am proud to say that my engineering class was evenly split between female and male students. Although this is a newer trend, it is evident that the number of women in the construction industry in Newfoundland and Labrador, and across the country, is growing.
I have worked on the Muskrat Falls Hydroelectric Dam, the West White Rose Oil Platform, and the Corner Brook Acute Care Hospital – all significant projects in Newfoundland and Labrador. Although women are still the minority on construction sites, I’ve nevertheless been impacted by at least one confident and influential woman in a lead role on every project I’ve worked on. I’ve always been a firm believer that diversity, inclusiveness, and collaboration are essential aspects of a successful company and construction project, and the women I’ve met along the way have only further confirmed this belief. I am proud to be part of a growing trend for women in this industry, and hope that I may similarly inspire, or help pave the way, for other young women with the belief that no career path or industry is out of their reach.”
Stephanie Parrell, Project Coordinator: “It can be daunting to enter the industry if you haven’t been exposed to it from a young age like I have, and I think that some women just haven’t considered it an option. I think that as more women in the industry share their stories, it will shine a light on this career path for younger women and encourage them to choose this as a career.”
Kayla Buckler, P.Tech, GSC, Project Manager: “[The MUN Core Science Facility] was very fortunate to have women setting the goals and ensuring whatever work was necessary to meet [them] was done. I hope that such a large project with mostly women in these key roles encourages other women to push for these positions. I hope it inspires other companies to do the same – to give more opportunities to women in leadership roles.”
Raylene Pittman, Mechanical Tech, GSC, Commissioning Lead: “I lead daily meetings with multiple subcontractors and any issues I encounter are generally related to personality rather than gender. I’m comfortable discussing construction issues that arise, and am experienced at resolving conflicts, so people respect my involvement and input. The construction industry has changed a lot in the 15 years. The best advice I can offer to women who want to work in the industry is, if it’s what you want to do, the sky is the limit, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t” .
With women like the team members featured in this article leading the way, the next generation of female construction professionals will have plenty of inspiring role models to inspire them. If you’re interested in joining our team, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org