Shawmut Design and Construction Celebrates Women in Construction Week

March 14, 2023 - National News
Dr. Stephanie Akunvabey, Roger Williams University, and Les Hiscoe, Shawmut, during the WIC Week opening ceremony

Shawmut Design and Construction, a leading $1.3 billion national construction management firm, participated in Women in Construction (WIC) Week, joining the annual celebration that promotes the role of women in the construction industry and highlights the critical need for increased representation nationwide. The firm’s WIC Week activities were developed specifically to align with this year’s theme, celebrating the different journeys women have taken to a career in construction and the goal of bringing more women to the industry at all levels.

Shawmut employee-owners with Shawmut’s Kimberly Bishop during one of the New York breakfast panels

While the share of women construction workers has steadily increased since 2016, women still only represent 10.9% of the workforce. This year marks Shawmut’s eighth year participating in WIC Week, and the firm is committed year-round to the advancement and diversity of its workforce. As a result, Shawmut leads the industry with a workforce comprised of over 30% women and 20% in senior roles. And the future is looking more equitable, as women comprised 50% of the recent graduates from Shawmut’s Construction Management Skills Training (CMST) program for recent college grads.

“Every year, I look forward to celebrating Women in Construction Week, as it is an important time to recognize the women in this industry while also taking action, driving awareness, and hosting impactful discussions to help create a more equitable and inclusive industry,” said Les Hiscoe, CEO at Shawmut Design and Construction. “We’re pleased to be at the forefront of the construction industry for our diversity, equity, and inclusion work, and are fully dedicated to continued actionable and intentional efforts to effect real change.”

Building Pathways founder and graduates during a discussion moderated by Shawmut
employee-owners about creating and sustaining a more equitable workforce

Throughout the week, Shawmut hosted impactful conversations and events—guest speakers, panel discussions, jobsite tours, and networking events—including:

  • Hiscoe kicked off the week during the opening ceremony with a fireside chat with Dr. Stephanie Akunvabey, vice president for equity and inclusion and chief diversity officer at Roger Williams University, about the importance of self-advocacy, and the effectiveness of allyship, mentorship, and sponsorship to enable an inclusive environment
  • Team members across the country hosted women-led events and jobsite tours, including at Breadblok in Beverly Hills, UMass Chan Medical School’s new education and research building in Worcester, MA, and UCLA Nimoy Theater in Los Angeles. In New York, Shawmut Board chair Kimberly Bishop hosted panel discussions on challenges facing women in the industry and strategies to accelerate advancement.
  • Mary Vogel, director of Building Pathways, hosted a discussion and networking event at Shawmut’s Boston office with union tradeswomen and Building Pathways graduates on creating and sustaining a more equitable workforce.
Shawmut employee-owners touring UCLA Nimoy Theater hosted by Shawmut's Courtney Smith and Veronica De Leon

Shawmut, which is projected to reach $1.5 billion this year, is invested in fostering an inclusive workplace environment where all people feel safe, respected, and valued. The firm values diversity of thought and sets an example starting from the top as Shawmut’s board of directors is 40% women. Bishop was recently appointed chair of the board—a rarity across all industries as only 6.7% of companies have a woman board chair.

Since declaring diversity, equity, and inclusion a business imperative under Hiscoe’s leadership, Shawmut continually works to maintain 100% pay and promotion equity, establishes sponsorship relationships to elevate high-potential women to the leadership team, continuously hosts enhanced education and awareness training programs to help employees learn about topics such as how to interrupt unconscious biases, and more. Shawmut,  Hiscoe, and its leadership team have been recognized as a Top 100 DEIB Leader by Mogul, DEI Visionary by the LA Times, and Diversity Champion by and Crain’s New York Business—and the firm’s people-first culture has won more than 75 best place to work awards nationally, including five Fortune Magazine Best Workplace awards.

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