By DENISE HASTY, AGC of Missouri
AGC of Missouri has launched a new women’s construction group that is gaining a large following across Missouri and attracting national attention. Just coming off its first Annual Conference and about to undertake another four networking events, AGCMO’s new Women of STEEL group also will be a featured program topic at next week’s AGC of America Annual Convention in Las Vegas.
Construction firms and associations around the country have been celebrating women’s roles in construction during NAWIC’s Women in Construction Week ™ (March 5-11). This year’s theme, “Many Paths, One Mission,” celebrates the different journeys women have taken toward the same goal: strengthening and amplifying the success of women in the construction industry. And that’s exactly what some key AGCMO members and staff had in mind when they formulated the idea for a new Women of STEEL (seeking to engage, elevate and lead) interest group over a year ago.
According to AGCMO member Amanda Bohnert, CPSM, chief marketing officer, S. M. Wilson, and one of Women of STEEL’s co-founders, “There are many women working in construction who are not a member of the trades or formal groups. However, they are vital to our industry and work in all sorts of jobs, i.e. HR, estimating, purchasing, project support, accounting, marketing, etc. When we founded Women of STEEL and created our mission, we were looking for a way to help them expand their professional horizons, learn from others’ experiences and have an opportunity for professional development”.
“At the same time, we saw an opportunity to elevate member engagement and provide a greater ROI for our member companies,” Bohnert added. “Our initial year exceeded our expectations with an outreach to more than 500 women, engaging member firms
throughout the state.”
The group started with a strong mission and no budget. Through social media, direct mail, newsletter promotion and word-of-mouth, interest grew for a virtual kick-off meeting last spring followed by a hybrid presentation by career coach Maisha Christian and a series of happy hour networking events around the state. The group also had a breakout session at the annual AGCMO/MoDOT Co-op meeting in December. Women of STEEL has accumulated an impressive following of 500-plus women in the group’s debut year, culminating with the first Women of STEEL two-day annual conference last month in Jefferson City.
Social media has been instrumental in connecting prospective members to Women of STEEL. Event listings and updates can be found at: Facebook , Instagram, LinkedIn and in the organization’s Facebook Group.
Upcoming Women of STEEL events include a special breakout session, “Discovering Your Superpowers,” and WOS happy hour at the AGCMO Annual Convention in Cape Girardeau March 27-28. WOS happy hours are scheduled May 16 and 17 in mid-Missouri and Kansas City, respectively, followed by an event at S. M. Wilson hosted by WilsonWomen on June 22nd and another in southeast Missouri on Nov. 16.
Plans are already underway for a 2024 Women of STEEL conference. Topic suggestions already are flowing in – from learning about contract terms and negotiations, successfully navigating difficult conversations and avoiding the Superwoman Syndrome, to increasing confidence and juggling work and family while succeeding at both. Have ideas? WOS would love to engage with even more women in the industry.
For information or to register for upcoming events, contact Denise Hasty at DHasty@agcmo.org.
Denise Hasty, CAE, is Vice-President, Advocacy and Public Relations, for AGCMO.