We have all seen it! We all cringed..The Slap! Most people didn’t see it live as viewership was down, so most of us heard about it the next morning when it dominated the news.
There are varying opinions about it all.
It started with the obvious question, was it staged?
Then our minds wandered to other directions, did Chris Rock go too far with the joke? Did he know Jada had medical issues? Has there been an ongoing feud? Should Will be arrested? Can’t Jada stand up for herself?
As we come to the end of Women’s History Month, the topic of women’s role in society and their role here at DigiBuild has been on my mind. Because of that, this incident took on a different context than maybe it would have otherwise.
I found myself thinking of what Jada’s thoughts were at the moment, but more importantly what they were after the fact. Was she pleased with her husband defending her? Was she upset with how he handled it? Does she have feelings about whether he needs to stick up for her at all?
How does that tie into Women’s History Month and DigiBuild?
It’s no secret that construction is one of the most male-dominated professions in the world and it is oh-so-slowly changing.
In the construction industry, the statistics are drastic. Of all construction workers, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 10.9% of them are women, a number which is holding steady for the past year but hasn’t grown.
Women can take on any role in the construction industry. However, they are currently severely underrepresented in the trade and the executive positions. It is a certainty that women must, at least sometimes, defend and advocate for themselves in this industry.
Barbara’s story about her start in construction:
Barbara Res, our Vice President of Construction, has spent 50 years in construction and, oh, the stories she can tell!
I started out in the construction business 50 years ago. I had a summer job between semesters in college where I was studying electrical engineering. Yes, I was the only woman in my class.
After graduation I went to work for an Electrical Subcontractor full-time. As in school, people thought and treated me like a novelty. When I got nowhere with this one contractor, I went to another. I was making some progress when I was stopped in my tracks – twice.
First time, I was in the Estimating Department and we were bidding on the Moscow World Trade Center. I was in this with both feet, meeting and even dining with the clients, but I held my own and I was an essential member of the team. Then we got on a short-list and were invited to Russia. So everyone went.
It was decided that it was not proper for a woman to be traveling alone with the men.
The second time, in an attempt to placate me I guess, the company threw me a crumb. They let me run a small project. I did that well and I had really impressed the PM and foreman on our biggest project, Citicorp Center. So they went together to the upper management and asked that I be transferred to their field office.
The bosses were excited and I was set to go when the labor superintendent got wind of it.
That was it. No woman in the field - ever.
But that was 50 years ago, right? What is it like today?
Only 10.3% of total construction staff are women and only 2.5% are tradespeople
86.7% of the women in construction are in office positions
Women make up just 7.5% of construction managers
Again those are not impressive numbers when you consider that women make up 44% of the workforce in the United States.
But there are some positive trends!
Women now make up 14% of the Executives staff of construction companies even with the overall low number of women in construction. And, it is on the increase!
Here at DigiBuild, women make up 40% of our executive team.
We'll continue more on Barbara in a moment.
April's story about her start in construction:
DigiBuild is honored to have April Moss, Co-Founder and EVP of Operations & Customer Success.
I first met April when I worked with her on the P&G business at Acosta Sales and Marketing over a decade ago. We eventually reconnected by happenstance and she immediately wanted to get involved in DigiBuild.
April is an experienced Market & Retail Strategy Executive and consultant with proven results with some of the largest global consumer products goods companies, retailers, brokerage firms, direct to consumer start-ups and co-manufacturer. She’s worked across more than 24 categories touching every retail channel. Over her career she has built and led over nine sales teams, including the first Costco retail operations team in CPG history and Starbucks, first ever U.S. retail sales team.
After a successful 21 year career with Procter & Gamble, which included several promotions, awards and expanded responsibilities, April joined Acosta Sales & Marketing. She was part of the executive leadership team and worked directly with many top 33 commercial product group companies. The majority of her time was focused on corporate retail strategy, company acquisitions and integration, new business development and creating partnerships that included two of the large crowd sourcing companies.
The breadth and depth of April’s executive leadership in operations, sales, new business development, customer acquisitions, product supply & logistics and most importantly her ability to construct organizations from the ground up will be instrumental in forming strong client and partner relationships and continuing to build out the DigiBuild Team.
Barbara's Story Continues....
Ironically, my first real opportunity came when I went to work for the Construction Manager from Citicorp Center. I was tasked with reviewing their change orders. They loved what I accomplished.
For years, no change orders had been processed! In a few months, I emptied out a large room filled with boxes of change orders - not only electrical, but plumbing, HVAC, structural, all these trades which I learned in a baptism by fire. I negotiated fair deals on all of them.
I stayed with this contractor and that is where my career finally launched.
I went to work on the Grand Hyatt Hotel. First, of course, I checked and negotiated all the extras. I also did the monthly requisition, a very arduous task. Since I knew mechanical so well, I was given the job of mechanical superintendent and I did all the coordination. After that I was promoted again and made the Superintendent in charge of building the ballrooms and kitchens.
That was where Donald Trump discovered me, and the rest is history.
Be aware, It isn’t all a fairy tale from there.
Every step of the way, I was harassed, intimidated, and discriminated against. Even my mentor, the guy that promoted me, tormented me.
Once at Trump, as a Vice President, it was all still there but I was able to rise above it. Unlike the Hyatt, where a man who constantly tormented me was not punished when I reported him, if I had a problem with someone, I could have him fired.
I never did because they became irrelevant, and finally seen as the jerks they were. I did not walk away unscathed. I was damaged and that stays with me.
That is why I seek out opportunities to talk to the women in my industry, to help them cope and conquer. Now there are laws, and there are more women.
I had none of that. Just my own stamina and the ability to keep walking through the fire.
I am very fortunate that Barbara did walk through that fire and is here with DigiBuild today; her experience is invaluable!
Here are a few positive stats that women like Barbara worked hard to clear a path to make.
1-in-3 Construction Companies Promoted Women in 2018,
31% of those promotions were management related
44% of construction companies have women in executive positions
16% of Construction companies employee women in C- Level positions
13% of Construction Firms are Owned by Women
There was a 64% growth in women ownership between 2014 and 2019
9% of women owned firms had revenue greater that $500,000
Here at DigiBuild, our growth in the past year has led our management team to add a number of women to fill new positions.
Here are their stories.
Kara works with DigiBuild as a Q& A Engineer. Her primary role in the company is to ensure that DigiPay provides the most reliable and user friendly experience for its users. Day-in and day-out she is testing the software and doing her level best to break it.
Kara was attracted to work with our team because her immediate family has a story that many of us in the construction world know all too well and have seen way too often.
Kara and her family emigrated from Kazakhstan 3 years ago. Four years prior to the move they lost everything. Her husband had a business selling and installing windows. They accepted a large job to supply and install the windows for a large facility that housed and supported people with disabilities. They were incredibly pleased to have a large job but especially one where the work and product they would supply could improve the lives of others in need.
The GC on the job asked them to move up the timeline and provide material and labor at a faster pace than originally planned and they did so. Their investment soon outstripped the payments coming from the GC, but they were promised the money would be coming soon.
You can fill in the rest of the story…the money never came. After months of waiting and fighting they received the letter in the mail one day, the GC had filed for bankruptcy.
It took her family four years to rebuild.
When Kara learned that DigiBuild was a tool that could help prevent these situations in the future, she had to be a part of it.
Deepika works in a role similar to Kara’s but she applies her talents to DigiProcure, the materials and supplier side of DigiBuild.
Deepika has a Masters Degree in coding but after a few years in the field, she found she was drawn to testing. She loves to watch the work she does advance what she feels will be the best procurement tool around.
Deepkia’s family is from India and has strong ties to civil engineering and construction. Some of her fondest memories were visiting large infrastructure projects with her uncles and being amazed at the complexity and enormity of the projects.
The work hours, materials, and logistics of it all made an impression on her as a young woman. She said that working on DigiProcure and seeing the progress brings back that thrill and amazement.
Jaimie has actually been with us from early on, but I wanted to introduce her. After spending over 15 years in business gaining experience in every department imaginable, Jaimie opened her own business in 2010 where she provided businesses that don’t follow the typical brick and mortar model methods to scale their operations and marketing.
A natural at learning any cloud-based software you throw at her, and having a rare vision that allows her to model the virtual office like nobody’s business, she has helped DigiBuild design systems and processes for our team and marketing efforts.
Her ties to construction are also from her immediate family. Her husband, Dan, is also a long-time member of DigiBuild, who brings experience in construction material sales and construction manufacturing including both materials and production.
Rhonda is the newest member of our team. She will be working on the customer service side of DigiProcure and DigiPay. She came highly recommended by another member of our team that worked with her in construction products manufacturing and sales.
Her experience is much broader than that of others in her field because she worked at a custom manufacturing facility that also had a distribution center. She would see an order for a product that required unique construction material. She would then guide the build through the process from conception to material acquisition and onto the manufacturing process and ultimately the delivery of the finished product to the client.
She “gets it” and she understands the everyday challenges and time involved in getting hard to source raw materials to the factory floor, built, and to the job site.
Christiana is the head of UI / UX design for DigiBuild.
After spending several years teaching English Literature, she was ready for a new challenge. She studied coding and completed her degree in UI. Maybe it was her teaching background and the psychology involved but she found she was drawn to the UI / UX side.
She loves the visual hierarchies and the thought process behind making software more user-friendly and appealing for the client.
Unlike many of our team members, Christiana doesn’t have a background that includes construction but she has traveled extensively (30 countries and counting) and is drawn to architecture.
When asked, out of the blue, what the greatest building she has ever visited was, she had the reply in mere seconds - The Vittoriano in Ancient Rome.
When pressed why she chose to work with DigiBuild over many other offers, she said it was our team that inspired her. She said that our team was so engaging and insightful, she felt she had to become a part of it.
So what about 'The Slap'?
After looking at the team of women we have here at DigiBuild, I found myself leaning toward the direction that these women can defend and stand on their own just fine.
It is predicted that there will be a shortage of 650,000 in the construction workforce for 2022. Companies are looking to recruit more women than ever before and bring their skill sets into the field.
The Institute for Women’s Policy Research found that the share of women working in construction trades is the highest it’s been in two decades. More than ever, women are being promoted to leadership roles and owning their own construction businesses.
One more leap for women in construction? Time will tell, but here at Digibuild, we're betting big on it.
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