O P I N I O N
A conversation about how improving gender representation in the AEC workplace benefits everyone. Advancing women in the AEC workplace
U ntil recently, the concept of diversity initiatives has not been a focal point in our industry. This conversation has been steadily gaining ground in our corporate environment. It is clear: improving gender representation in the workplace benefits everyone – it is good for workplace culture, professional development, society, our personal lives, and the financial bottom line. But these gains are only attainable with the cooperation and support of our male colleagues, mentors, and sponsors.
I recently spoke with Reuben Tolentino, CCM of Psomas, about this important subject and how our industry has evolved regarding women professionals in our workforce. Talin Espinoza: Looking toward the future, what are the threats to your business, your success, and how are you handling them? Reuben Tolentino: Talent shortage. Specifically, here in California, we are doing ourselves a disservice by not looking outside the usual places. We need to work to become more open-minded about attracting and welcoming professionals from every walk of life. That includes gender, international professionals, and people from different industries – for example, people from industries like oil and gas that we don’t typically consider in our talent pool. If we are not open-
minded and expect everyone to fit a specific mold, it can become an issue. Our industry must embrace change and evolve to reap the benefits that come with change. TE: Some could argue our industry has failed to think strategically about women as a business opportunity, and how that strategy could possibly be a solution to our talent problems as well as missing out on the diversity of ideas brought to the table. Do you feel that talented women leaders change the work environment? How so? RT: I am seeing a lot more women taking on leadership roles in the construction industry and
See TALIN ESPINOZA & REUBEN TOLENTINO, page 12
THE ZWEIG LETTER FEBRUARY 8, 2021, ISSUE 1378
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