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ELEVATEHER APPL ICAT IONS OPEN FOR 2021 ELEVATEHER APPLICATIONS OPEN FOR 2021 Zweig Group’s ElevateHer program has opened applications for the class of 2021, a group that will work on initiatives to combat recruitment and retention issues while ensuring equal opportunities for everyone in the AEC industry. All individuals, regardless of age, experience, gender, background, or job role, are welcome and encouraged to apply. much more. For 2021, cohort members will have the option to work on new initiatives or continue furthering existing projects started by the previous class.

presentation coaching, training, Zweig Group research, networking opportunities, and more. ElevateHer is also looking for sponsors and partners. Applications for the 2021 cohort are due by December 15, 2020. To download the application form, click here. Zweig Group, three times on the Inc 500/5000 list, is the leading research, publishing, and consulting resource for the built environment. The firm provides strategy, mergers and acquisitions, business valuation, ownership transition, marketing, business development, market research, financial management, project management, recruiting and executive search services nationwide. Zweig Group also provides a comprehensive suite of products including industry reports and surveys, executive training, and business conferences covering virtually every aspect of AEC firm management. Headquartered in Fayetteville, Arkansas and Dallas, Texas.

“The brave folks who signed up to be part of the first-ever cohort come from all corners of the AEC industry. They were bound together by a determination to take action to counter the industry’s top challenge: recruitment and retention, a commitment they kept despite the myriad complexities that 2020 added to the mix. I am proud of the overwhelming support that our class of 2021 will step into and the path that the inaugural class set forth. I’m looking forward to more advocates and allies to bring forth brand new ideas and to advance and implement efforts of last year’s class,” said Jamie Claire Kiser, Zweig Group’s managing principal and founder of ElevateHer. 2021 cohort members will most likely work virtually and will receive resources such as

In 2020, Zweig Group’s inaguaral ElevateHer 2020 cohort members worked in smaller project groups on self-chosen focused topics to create a focused deliverable to be shared with the rest of the industry at Zweig Group’s ElevateHer symposium and Elevate AEC Virtual Conference. Project topics ran the gamut including methods to support individuals in the industry at all stages and phases of their life, addressing conflict and implicit biases, designing career paths, awarding and incentivizing diverse projects and firms, and


challenges and ideas were among the highlights of my week. Working together with a team united behind a vision and committed to the betterment of an industry provided a massive infusion of inspiration, easing the isolation that I found maddeningly frustrating as a leader. More than a Zoom happy hour or virtual networking event, I found real meaning and a sense of purpose in supporting the cohort teams as they tackled real issues with actionable outcomes. I left our ElevateHer team meetings feeling both intellectually engaged and excited at the possibilities, sentiments that surely carried over to my next meeting or task, and indeed found myself mulling over conversations and ideas well after the end of the workday. As the year progressed and the anxieties continued to mount, many of my professional connections expressed feeling isolated, burned out, and uninspired heading into the fall. I, on the other hand, felt the exact opposite. Buoyed by confidence in the ability of small groups of people who were total strangers just months before to ignite revolutionary conversations that turned into solutions and bolstered by the effectiveness of curiosity coupled with action, reimagining something as foundational and institutional to Zweig Group as our signature annual conference was easier – and dare I say it – a bit fun, too. As other industry conferences reported lackluster registration as they shifted to a virtual format and various peer networking groups fizzled out and lost engagement with each passing week, we actually gained conference registrations every single week during our eight-week virtual experience, doubling the attendees between the first and last day of our conference. I am firmly convinced that we were able to deliver a wildly successful virtual conference at least in small part because our leadership saw the shift from in-person to virtual as just another puzzle to sort out, another cohort team project that we were lucky enough to be assembled to solve together. Today, as we prepare to finalize our conference and events schedule for 2021, we are able to break free from the mindset of the way we have always done things, keeping the best of what worked in 2020 and rethinking this entire segment of our business in light of what we have learned this year. There are only passing moments where I feel a sense of mourning that we do not know when we will next be able to gather in person with our professional community. This is a very long-winded way of sharing a simple insight and suggestion for all of our readers: find your ElevateHer. Respond to your own call to action, whatever it may be, and work on building your own legacy that will leave your profession better than you found it. The ancillary benefits to maintaining your own spark and the energy overflow from renewing your connection to your profession are innumerable and the return is well-worth the investment of your time. JAMIE CLAIRE KISER is managing principal and director of advisory services at Zweig Group. Contact her at

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Facebook: Published continuously since 1992 by Zweig Group, Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA. ISSN 1068-1310. Issued weekly (48 issues/year) $250 for one-year print subscription; free electronic subscription at thezweigletter. com/subscribe © Copyright 2020, Zweig Group. All rights reserved.

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