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Conference explores design and environmental industry through women

 

Women working at architecture, engineering, planning and environmental consulting firms around the globe gathered at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Cambridge, Mass., on May 9-10, 2013, to share issues and challenges of being in the male-dominated design and environmental professions.

“By talking with other attendees and from listening to speakers, I was able to gain a vision of my future that I had not seen before,” said Lauren Balogh, EarthRes Group.

The program of roundtable discussions, focus groups, networking sessions and keynote presentations covered a range of topics including:

  • Communication
  • Breaking barriers to leadership
  • Work/life balance
  • Women as bosses
  • Mentoring women in design, engineering and environmental consulting
  • How a woman’s age and physical presence impacts co-workers and clients
  • Managing stress

Attendees included A/E firm principals, marketing directors, project managers and HR professionals. Many firms sent teams of employees, and some of them came expressly because their firms are establishing committees to review their gender policies. Attendees expressed their satisfaction with the conference and topics.

An especially lively session was the interactive “problem-solving” exercise that gave attendees the opportunity to work in small groups discussing issues such as how to address offensive or inappropriate comments by male colleagues and ways to deal with a male client that does not want to work with a female consultant.

Preliminary plans are now being made to hold another conference in February 2014 in Arizona.

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