2024 GWIC Conference Agenda

Program subject to change

Sunday, May 5

1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Exhibitor Set-Up
4:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Registration: Pre-Conference Check-in

Registration kiosks will be open starting at 4pm. Pick up your badge Sunday evening, and have a welcome drink on us!


Monday, May 6

6:00 AM – 7:30 AM
Early Registration Check-in
7:30 AM – 8:30 AM
Breakfast & Exhibits
8:30 AM – 8:45 AM
Opening Remarks
Janice L. Tuchman
Executive Editor, Events, Engineering News-Record
Mindy Gentile
Of Counsel, Peckar & Abramson P.C.
8:45 AM – 9:35 AM
Opening Keynote

Bricks, Bytes and Beyond: Dr. Sarah Buchner Sets New Pace as Next-Gen Tech CEO

Don’t miss this insightful presentation from Dr. Sarah Buchner, who rose from teenage carpenter to be a founder and CEO of cutting-edge construction technology firm Trunk Tools and a leader of the industry’s tech transformation —particularly in use of artificial intelligence. A 20-year project management veteran, PhD data engineer and Stanford Business School trained entrepreneur, she will share her industry journey and how emerging techs are forever changing jobsites and work lives and boosting women’s construction career momentum.

Panel Dicussion

AI Won't Take Your Job, But an AI-Empowered User Might: Women Experts Share How to Prep for the Future with Generative AI

You’ve heard the buzzwords linked to artificial intelligence and the reports it could eliminate construction jobs, particularly for women. Experience this panel of industry leaders and tech innovators moderated by GWIC keynoter Dr. Sarah Buchner as they demystify AI applications and show how leveraging its potential requires adaptability, creative problem-solving and an open mind. It’s no surprise women are in prime position to lead this charge in construction.

Keynote & Moderator Sarah Buchner
Founder & CEO, Trunk Tools Panelists Ann Esbeck
Chief Innovation Officer, Bechtel
Andra Kidd
CEO, Spheros Environmental
Tannis Liviniuk
Digital Advancement Executive, Zachry Group
Meirav Oren
Co-Founder and Executive Chair, Versatile
9:35 AM – 9:45 AM

Safety Talk

The adage “What gets measured gets done” holds a lot of truth in the engineering and construction industry. But how do you measure safety performance at your company -- and does it connect to what is getting done? More importantly, does it assure that you are doing everything possible to prevent serious or fatal injuries at your worksites? Vicky Hoyt, vice president of health safety and environment for Colas Inc., will share how it may be time for a paradigm shift in your organization.

Speaker Vicky Hoyt
Vice President of Health, Safety and Environmental, Colas Inc.
9:45 AM – 10:30 AM

Allyship: Men as Catalysts to Advance Women in Construction

This panel of senior male leaders will discuss their experiences and business proof points about how men can be catalysts to advance women in the construction industry. Interviewed by a senior female peer, they will explore the importance —and need—of a diversified industry and of a holistic approach to women's development. Speakers will share insight into boardroom conversations that explain why the industry was slow to change and highlight pivotal moments that altered attitudes and policies. They will provide key takeaways on how allyship makes workplaces more satisfying and companies more successful.

Moderator Krista Twesme
Senior Vice President, Mortenson
Panelists David Lincoln
Senior Vice President, Rosendin
Greg Patzer
Vice President, Project Management & Construction, Arevon Energy
Eric Stenman
U.S. President & CEO, Balfour Beatty
10:30 AM – 11:00 AM
Morning Break: Refreshments, Networking, Exhibits
American Global
11:00 AM – 11:55 AM
Breakout Session A

In the Public Domain: A New Image for Government Service

Career opportunities for women in government are gaining more attention and momentum as economic growth, new national needs and added public funding spur opportunities and challenges in policymaking, governance and project development. Women leading agencies that affect the work of design and construction firms discuss what’s critical going forward in dynamic areas such as resilience, climate change mitigation and infrastructure management—and how the image of public service is changing.

Moderator Mai Hattar
Assistant Group Manager-Engineering, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
Speakers Kara M. Boyles
City Engineer, City of South Bend, Ind.
Amy Imamura
Director of Economic Impact & Transformation, Los Angeles World Airports
Amanda Rogers
Deputy Chief Engineer, Port Authority of NY & NJ
Stacey Yee
Design and Construction Director, US General Services Administration (GSA), Region 9, San Francisco
11:00 AM – 11:55 AM
Breakout Session B

Navigating Uncharted Waters: The Uncertain Future of Diversity Initiatives

Recently the U.S. Supreme Court held that race cannot be considered a factor in admissions at colleges that accept federal funds. The SCOTUS decisions have already proven to have implications far beyond colleges and universities. Since these rulings, legal action has been filed and threats advanced against companies and agencies challenging their DE&I initiatives and minority/women-owned/disadvantaged business enterprise programs. This panel will discuss the uncertain future of diversity-based programs in the construction industry, and the arguments being made for and against these programs.

Speakers Kim Altsuler
Partner, Peckar & Abramson
Melinda Gentile
Of Counsel, Peckar & Abramson
12:00 PM – 1:25 PM
Optional Facilitated Conversation tables
Join one of our topic-specific lunch tables for a facilitated conversation.
Read about each one here.
1:30 PM – 2:20 PM
Breakout Session A

Debunking Generational Myths in the Workplace

In the first-ever four-generational workplace, hear how one woman took charge of her career by debunking the myths and capitalizing on the attributes that define her generation. Other generations have stereotypes, as well. Through an interactive, audience-participation presentation of real-life scenarios, learn how reframing and rephrasing can help you successfully convey your value—whatever your generation—and gain the trust of multiple generations of colleagues.

Speaker Sarah Vakili
Director of Business Planning and Strategy, Skanska USA Building Inc.
1:30 – 2:20 PM
Breakout Session B

Double Feature: Parenting, Partnership & Professionalism / Two Communication Strategies

Parenting, Partnership & Professionalism: Learn strategies to successfully manage the complexities and challenges of these three pivotal roles—including gender bias, standing out as a top performer and balancing professional growth, family nurturing and healthy relationships. Speakers will address the importance of self-care, setting boundaries, effective time management and building a supportive network, and share how organizations can create the environment to support women's career advancement and foster a more equitable and family-friendly workplace.

Communication Strategies to Engage and Inspire Your Team In today's dynamic and fast-paced construction industry, engaging and inspiring your team stand out as pivotal communication challenges for all leaders. This laser-focused session shares proven approaches to elevate leadership impact—particularly how to ask great questions and transform your team with a strong focal point. By attending, you will know why these simple strategies are key to success and learn techniques to effectively implement them and measure their impact on team engagement.

Speakers Ashleigh Marshall
Associate Director, Delta CGI
Olivia Pittman
Associate Director, Delta CGI
Randy Goruk
CEO, The Randall Wade Group LCC
2:30 PM – 3:30 PM
Breakout Session A

How Credentials Can Recharge Your Career

In an ever-evolving construction industry, credentials can give AEC professionals a competitive edge and keep career skills current. In this interactive presentation, Construction Management Association of America (CMAA), National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) and National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) representatives will guide attendees in how credentials can add value to their career skills and open doors to new opportunities.

Moderator Andrea Rutledge
President, CMAA Panelists Crissy Ingram
Executive Director, NAWIC
Jinous Samii-Saremi, CCM
Vice President/Southern California Area Manager, Vanir
Lisa Washington
Executive Director & CEO, Design Build Institute of America
Jennifer Wilkerson
Vice President, Innovation and Advancement, National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER)
2:30 PM – 3:30 PM
Breakout Session B

How Social Media Can Ease Pain Points and Boost Your Brand

Building a strong and positive brand using social media channels involves more than being an influencer. This panel will discuss how to create a vibrant, unique public persona for your company. Whether the goal is to use branding to attract new talent or new business, social media can have a strong impact in today’s climate. Presenters also will share tips on personal branding and outline the risks of social media as a marketing tool.

Speakers Carmen Autry
President & Founder, NTD Mechanical
Valerie Jimenez
CEO, Bold Entity
Alejandra "Ale" Spray
CEO & President, Hispanic Contractors of Colorado
3:30 PM – 4:00 PM
Afternoon Break: Refreshments, Networking, Exhibits
4:00 PM – 4:45 PM
Plenary Session

Breaking Barriers: Tools to Navigate Career Advancement in Construction

DEI leaders will discuss proven, tactical solutions to overcome barriers in pursuing careers in construction. From finding a support system to navigating career advancement through workplace culture obstacles that can hinder success, panelists will provide strategies to drive action by individuals and organizations. They will address key transitions employees must make to be successful at the next level—highlighting necessary shifts in how to add workplace value and how mindsets must change to insure results at higher levels of responsibility.

Moderator Rubiena Duarte
Vice President of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging, Procore Panelists Natasha Ikponmwonba
Senior Associate, Anchor
Rebecca Clark
Vice President of Operations, Skanska USA Civil
Michelle Thompson
Senior Consultant, FMI
4:45 PM – 5:40 PM
Day 1 Closing Keynote

Step Up, Step Out: Amplify Your Voices for Change

Women in construction now work on many different levels to get their perspectives and concerns heard—on company programs, industry initiatives and public policy. How can women engage inside their organizations to be recognized as contributing to the mission? How can they build support for funding and legislation that helps construction and how can they advocate in industry associations for alliances on critical issues? Hear from women who have elevated their impact and can demonstrate that now is the time for their voices to be heard and for industry to respond.

Moderator Jennifer Todd
CEO, LMS Panelists Laura Ceja
National Special Representative for Training and Outreach, UA-Plumbers and Pipefitters Union
Kabri Lehrman-Schmid
Project Superintendent, Hensel Phelps
Rashmi Menon
Vice President and General Manager, California, Burns & McDonnell
Tina Mudd
Resource Manager, Granite
5:40 PM – 5:45 PM
Closing Remarks
Janice L. Tuchman
Executive Editor, Events, Engineering News-Record
Mindy Gentile
Of Counsel, Peckar & Abramson P.C.
5:45 PM – 6:45 PM
Cocktail Reception

Tuesday, May 7

7:30 AM – 8:30 AM
Breakfast & Exhibits
8:30 AM – 8:40 AM
Day 2 Opening Remarks
Janice L. Tuchman
Executive Editor, Events, Engineering News-Record
Mindy Gentile
Of Counsel, Peckar & Abramson P.C.
8:40 AM – 9:25 AM
Plenary Session

Powered Up: Groundbreaking Women Propel Energy Transition

Women are on the leading edge of the global push to prevent the worst impacts of climate change through innovative energy strategies—as research and project managers, program directors and company founders whose technologies of tomorrow are taking shape now. This panel of innovators will share the results and potential of projects and ventures now underway and discuss challenges women still face in this dynamic arena.

Moderator Carol Mak
Director of Gas Control and System Planning, Southern California Gas Co.
Speakers Megan Knoch-Dohlin
Director, Green Hydrogen Strategy and Development, Mortenson
Margaret Montgomery
Principal and Global Sustainable Practice, NBBJ
Valerie Roberts
COO, Longview Fusion Energy Systems
9:25 AM – 9:55 AM
Plenary Session

Walmart Unpacks Its ‘Store of the Future’ Strategy

Retail giant Walmart recently unveiled an ambitious plan to create a “Store of the Future” at 150 existing and new locations and remodel hundreds more across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, along with support facilities, in coming months and years. Join this special presentation by Michelle Peterson, a leader of one of its largest real estate regions, who will share details of the multi-pronged strategy and how the company aims to achieve it with more outreach and mentoring of firms of all sizes in the design and construction community.

Speaker Michelle Peterson
Director, Construction Eastern Unit, Walmart
9:55 AM – 10:40 AM
Plenary Session

Elevating Women in Construction through Retention, Sponsorship and Incentives

This program brings together industry experts and influential leaders to engage in a panel discussion focused on retention, sponsorship and initiative programs for women in construction. The panelists, who have successfully implemented their own programs, will share their experiences, strategies, and best practices for not just attracting, but also retaining, and advancing women in construction. This session aims to inspire and empower participants to implement effective retention programs, incentives and sponsorship initiatives that support the career growth and success of women in construction.

Moderator Andrea Janzen
Founder and CEO, Ambition Theory
Panelists Rachel Brown
Owner/CEO, Rachel Brown Homes and chief, RBH Coaching Services
Irish Horsey, Ph.D.
Director of Industry Advancement, Procore
Katrina von Kamrath
Area Controls/Surety, Zachry Construction
10:40 AM – 11:10 AM
Closing Keynote

A Sustainable Future Needs Bold Action Now: Why ESG Matters

What impact must we make to sustain our world, protect and advance our workforce and transform our industry? Jennifer Downey, who leads Environmental Social and Governance strategy for global construction giant Turner Construction, will share how its commitments to planet, people and profession are fused. She will share how Turner developed and implemented its strategy against the evolving landscape of legislation and requirements for disclosure—and share tips for other companies on their own journey.

Speaker Jennifer Downey
Director, Environmental Social Governance, Turner Construction Co.
11:10 AM – 11:15 AM
Closing Remarks
Janice L. Tuchman
Executive Editor, Events, Engineering News-Record
Mindy Gentile
Of Counsel, Peckar & Abramson P.C.

Age & Authority

Mackenzie Dias has managed hundreds of subcontractors on a 125,000-square-foot wine facility and $30 million in interior scopes for a 42-floor luxury tower – high-pressure jobs that would challenge the most experienced project manager—and she has done it as a woman in her 20s. Join her lunch table to explore how to wield authority in an environment often dismissive of younger women—including what to challenge, what to ignore and how a certain style of jobsite humor can get you through the rough spots.

Beyond Balance: Embracing Integration

Join the discussion of how embracing the power of integration can lead to better overall work-life management for women. Learn how to blend your professional and private lives and explore strategies to harmonize your career and personal aspirations, unlocking newfound fulfillment and success.

Blueprint for Success: Personal Branding Strategies for Women in Construction

Ever found yourself tongue-tied when asked, “What do you do?” It's time to transform that awkward moment into a captivating story! Join me us for a thrilling where participants unearth the power of your personal brand and learn to craft an elevator pitch that sparks interest and leaves a lasting impression.

Building a Coaching Culture

Engage with industry leaders as we explore strategies for empowering women in construction through mentorship, skill development, and leadership coaching. Discover how fostering a coaching culture can drive innovation, diversity, and excellence in the construction industry.

Career Moves: Opportunities and Challenges in Work Relocation

Discover how to navigate career transitions, the empowerment of change, and the resilience needed to thrive in new environments. Whether you’re considering a move or have already taken the leap, this is your platform to connect, learn, and grow.

Career Path Mapping

Organizations are justifiably concerned about the ability to retain talent in an environment where the availability of workers is so scarce. Additionally, the changing needs of today’s workforce require employers to reassess their employee development programs. Career path mapping brings clarity to an otherwise cloaked path of progression and helps the employee understand the opportunities within the firm while engaging in creating, and owning, their own map.

Creative Ways to Get Your Teams Started with AI Tools

Andra Kidd, CEO of Spheros Environmental, will share with new and prospective artificial intelligence users best practices for AI in project engineering and management and how to reduce risk and achieve more productive outcomes

Data and Paving the Path for the Future Construction Workforce

As construction projects continue to burgeon, there is an unprecedented demand for a skilled workforce to facilitate the robust development of these expanding projects. The implementation of technology to capture needed data offers a solution to monitor the retention, progression, and services rendered of the construction workforce. This discussion will delve into a few examples of innovative strategies for addressing the workforce requirements of the construction industry.

Forward on Fusion

Join Valerie Roberts, COO of California-based Longview Fusion Energy Systems and Lisa Davies, Fluor Design Engineering Director, for leadership insights on challenges and potential of their firms’ pioneering effort to develop a prototype for scaled up fusion power in the US.

From Myspace to TikTok

Four generations (Boomers, X, Millennials, Z) with varied communication styles, comfort with technology & decision-making ability comprise the teams on today's jobsites. Let's figure out together some best practices on bridging gaps, addressing conflicts and being successful while doing it. Special points for bringing a funny meme to this collaborative lunch table! And this discussion might be particularly helpful if you don't know what a meme is.

GSA New Priorities: Up Close on Federal Real Estate

Join Stacey Yee, GSA Region 9 Design & Construction Director, to learn more about U.S. General Services Administration initiatives impacting design and construction in California, Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii, and the Pacific Island, as well as nationally—with a focus on sustainability, community impact, DEIA (diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility), workforce development and innovation.

Leadership Coach's Corner

Leadership Coach Randy Goruk will provide advice and insight on your leadership questions, challenges and concerns. Enjoy your lunch while gaining wisdom to illuminate and inspire your leadership journey.

Leadership Lessons Learned in Preserving the U.S. Capitol

Discover the intersection of history, leadership and monumental challenge in an enlightening discussion with Christine Merdon, former U.S. Capitol Acting Architect and Deputy Architect on restoring its iconic dome. She will recount the significant restoration and leadership principles that steered it to a successful completion—on time, on budget and with zero lost-time injuries. Participants will discuss the impact of leadership skills such as self-awareness, emotional intelligence, teamwork, communication and the mindset needed to run organizations and deliver large-scale projects.

Leading a Team Over 3,000 Miles Away

This table will discuss leadership styles commonly found in the construction industry and behaviors and working styles of remote or hybrid employees. Examples will be shared of intentional leadership changes to overcome remote and hybrid challenges in the workplace.

Managing Difficult Conversations for Successful Outcomes

Navigating difficult conversations is a crucial part of advancing your career path and supporting your team members. Emotions can quickly fester into larger problems if left unaddressed. This discussion will serve as a guidebook with tricks, tools and techniques to support proactive resolution for conflicts, toxic behavior and difficult or uncomfortable conversations.

Leveraging AI and Analytics to Address Workforce Challenges in Engineering & Construction

With 40% of the workforce predicted to retire over the next ten years, the engineering & construction industry faces long-term workforce and skill shortages. E&C companies can leverage AI and analytics to address these gaps and enable a more diverse, more agile workforce. Join Ellenwood and Michelle Meisels, Principal with Deloitte Consulting to discuss how AI and analytics can be applied to improve the productivity and efficiency of workforce processes – ranging from hiring, diversity, and retention activities to shaping employee experience and enhancing career development.

Navigating Career and Skill Development for New Moms

New moms face a unique challenge at work. In construction, navigating your career takes on a particular significance, especially if your role is in the field or requires occasional long working hours. This delicate moment for new mothers requires comprehensive consideration that cross three crucial aspects: self-care, employer support and family dynamics.

Please Don't Go: Why Women Engineers Leave the AEC Workplace

Dr. Kara Boyles will share her new research on retention barriers for women engineers that has some surprising results related to professional identity and workplace belonging from a veteran manager who is passionate about building women's careers as long term leaders. She will update how the city has already implemented key research takeaways and how other employers can also do so.

Shaping the Future: The Impact of Mentorship in Construction

Mentorship programs, whether formal corporate initiatives or informal professional relationships, are instrumental in developing and engaging employees at all levels. Join the discussion of how to develop, structure and implement mentorship programs to ensure participants gain maximize benefits. Share personal experiences on how being a mentor or mentee has benefited you or peers, with pointers on challenges and successes.

Subcontractor Prequalification 101

How prequalification combined with risk management tools such as surety bonds and/or subcontractor default insurance can further protect project profitability.

Successfully Delivering Strategy

Discover the intersection of history, leadership, and the monumental challenge of restoring the U.S. Capitol Dome in an enlightening speech by the former Acting Architect and Deputy Architect of the U.S. Capitol. This speech is not merely a recount of the restoration but an immersive journey through the leadership principles that steered this globally significant project, the Nation’s beacon of democracy, to its successful completion—on time, within budget, and with zero lost-time injuries. With a unique insider perspective, the speaker will unveil the profound impact of leadership skills such as self-awareness, emotional intelligence, teamwork, communication, and a growth mindset on running organizations and delivering large-scale projects.

Taking the Lead & Embracing Opportunity

Join a conversation focused on discovering and unlocking your true leadership potential. We will discuss how to assume leadership roles in an organization and uncover effective strategies to develop key skills, influence others and have a lasting impact. You will leave feeling empowered to embrace leadership opportunities and make a difference in your workplace and industry.

The Future of AI: What's Possible by 2030 and Beyond?

Don't miss GWIC keynoter Sarah Buchner, Trunk Tools CEO and founder, as she takes a deeper dive into how AI will change construction practices and your jobsite and workplace over the next decade.

The Impact of Your Authentic Self

We as women tend to bifurcate the various selves that we are as daughters, wives, friends, mothers and professionals. This bifurcation of the self allows others to know us fractionally and can leave us feeling unfulfilled and limit our ability to inspire others in our professional lives. I would like to share my experience in bringing all the parts of self together and encourage others to do the same.

Thriving at Work & Home

Managing a construction career and nurturing a family is an intricate dance -- one that Stephanie McDonald knows first-hand. Through personal narratives and professional insights, this discussion will unpack challenges faced by women in construction and develop strategies to enable them to thrive at work and at home.