Building Female Leaders in Construction: Attending Conferences

For female leaders in construction, attending construction conferences is a great way to build your network, learn new skills, develop professionally and personally, and gather inspiration for your career. In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of attending conferences, and how to ask your boss to pay for it.

What’s in it for you?
Learning new skills is the start. From continuing education courses to presentations that dig into the nitty gritty of your part of the construction world, there is much to learn at conferences. A session may cover a new technology or a change in regulations. Certification training, such as OSHA 10-hour training, at a conference can help you conveniently get the training you need. Soft skill workshops can help female leaders in construction develop skills such as honing emotional intelligence or negotiating for higher pay.

For many attendees, meeting new people is also high on the list of reasons to go to a conference. At the NAWIC Annual Conference, you can build your network, connect with female leaders in construction and find support from people who understand the industry and the challenges of being a woman in the field.

Find inspiration. Conference keynote speakers typically are seasoned professionals sharing their unique insight into the industry and related topics. Or you may be inspired by discovering how a new technology is transforming the future of construction. A jobsite tour can help you see how the efforts of everyone involved on the project all fit together.

Conferences are the perfect place for growing female leaders in construction. You can practice your elevator speech, discover tricks and tips from peers, and build confidence.

(And, there are always fun social activities planned for conference attendees, like golf events or mixers.)

What’s in it for your employer?
So, how can you make your conference experience relevant for your employer, and convince them to pay for you to attend? Here are a few benefits to highlight:

When female leaders in construction attend conferences, they represent their company’s commitment and support for women in the industry. This can serve to attract more talented women to their workforce. And while you are meeting new people and building your personal network, you are also opening up opportunities for new business relationships and increasing company recognition in the industry.

Conferences also have the benefit of providing training that your boss doesn’t have to arrange. Training employees can be costly and time consuming. But conferences provide sessions in a wide range of topics. Some conferences even provide certification trainings.  For example, at the upcoming NAWIC Annual Conference, you can register for:

Principles of Construction Management Course™ Construction Bookkeeping Technician (CBT) OSHA 10-Hour Construction Training Course
Offered by CMAA, this course provides a basic understanding of construction management and the role of the construction manager (CM). This course will provide an overview of owners and project types, contracts and agreements, CM project management, leadership, ethics, soft skills, and career development. Offered by the NAWIC Education Foundation, this certification course will show how to create a bookkeeping or accounting system for a small or large construction company. Participants will be able to take their certification exam the same day, immediately upon completion of the course. The OSHA 10 Hour Construction Industry Outreach Training Program provides general awareness for entry-level construction workers. The training program covers recognizing and preventing hazards on a construction site.

Be sure to offer to share what you learn, from the latest industry trends and technology to perspectives from leading experts in the field. At the upcoming NAWIC Annual Conference, for example, keynote presentations will discuss the Infrastructure Act and how we can innovate further utilizing DEI, how the trades can offer a life of passion and purpose, and how self-care is necessary for female leaders in construction.

Employers know that staff development can help retain the best employees. Let your boss know that attending a conference can help grow your confidence and your ability to seek out new opportunities and take on new challenges.

How to ask
Before writing your request (even if you ask in person, a written request is helpful), review the conference schedule and match opportunities that would help meet your job responsibilities and any performance goals. Then consider how networking and learning about industry news and trends would benefit your company. Finally, review the cost of the conference against the potential cost of training and staff development and the opportunity for building business relationships and promoting your company.

NAWIC helps build female leaders in construction

Looking to attend the upcoming NAWIC conference? Be sure to print the annual conference letter for employers from president Lauline Mitchell explaining the benefits of attending the NAWIC Many Paths. One Mission. Annual Conference in Portland, Oregon, August 9-12.

Still have questions? NAWIC members (there are more than 5,100!) have been there and are willing to share their experiences and support. Reach out to a chapter near you.