As women, we tend to downplay our accomplishments. We don’t speak up in meetings, we don’t share our ideas, we might even shy away from necessary confrontation – all because we don’t want a stigma attached to ourselves. You know what stigma I’m talking about.
I want you to say something with me… “I AM A LEADING WOMAN”. Repeat that to yourself. You are a leading woman, and you are among a growing group of leading women, not only in the damage prevention industry, but in life. The shared experience of working in a male-dominated industry connects us to each other even over hundreds of miles, and you are integral in helping grow the community of Leading Women.
Our community recently met for a panel discussion webinar highlighting some of the leading women in our industry. During this webinar, we asked four questions. We will get to those in a moment. First, who was on our panel?
Lisa McKnight, City of Lawrenceville, GA | Georgia811 Board Member
Lisa McKnight is a regulatory and compliance professional in the utility, construction, and natural gas industries. As Director of Damage Prevention for the City of Lawrenceville, she leads a team that is in the community daily to locate and mark the city’s underground utilities.
Yvette Robinson, Robinson General Contractors
Yvette Robinson is President of Robinson General Contractors, Inc., a company she established alongside husband, Kurt Robinson, in June of 2010. Yvette’s diverse construction background sprouted while working at the family business, Paisano Home Builders, a residential home builder in Laredo, TX.
Keidre Adams, Texas811
She is the Operations Manager at Texas811. She has been with the company for 19 years. Before working at Texas811, she worked at AT&T for eight years. Keidre has worked in the utility industry for close to 30 years and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience.
Earlier, I mentioned four questions that we asked our panelists. In the interest of your time, we are going to highlight responses to just a couple of the questions below.
1.What challenges do you face as a woman in construction/your industry?
2.NAWIC (National Association of Women in Construction) estimates that only 10% of the construction industry are women. Your thoughts?
3.What interested you about the construction world?
4.What do you like most about your job?
First, we asked them about the challenges they face as women in the construction industry. Our panelists had this to say:
Keidre Adams talked about how she is working to improve how she approaches conflict resolution using emotional intelligence, so her excitement or passion doesn’t come across as too aggressive. She states, “Being able to break down those barriers for people to understand who I am. I am all about showing up and doing your work. If I hold you accountable, and it’s not perceived correctly or I say it wrong, then I’m the bad guy.” She has begun working on communicating better so people understand who she is as a person and what she’s saying is nothing personal.
Yvette Robinson says, “As women, we tend to multitask and when it comes time to communicate something, it is misunderstood or I have to clarify. Sometimes we have to make it known that what we are saying is firm and we have a direction that we need to go on and this is the best way to go about it. In my learning experience, I’ve had to learn how to communicate as well.”
Lisa McKnight responded by saying, “For me, not being perceived as bringing value or being qualified for the job and not having any meaningful on the job experience, especially out in the field. It’s usually assumed that you don’t have any experience out in the field; even if you do, you feel like you have to defend your right to be there.”
When we asked them what do you like most about your job?
Lisa stated that the difference she can make can be as big as she wants it to be. She continues by saying, “Even with public awareness, not a lot of people are interested in doing the work that’s involved and that speaks to me. I just feel like that’s what I can bring – being willing to do what it takes and I just have a passion for this industry and a passion for the people in this industry.”
Keidre says, “People often wake up and say they want to go to a job they love. I actually have a job that I love and when you work with people you know value you and what you bring to the organization. I have the best boss and I know that my contributions matter.”
Yvette stated, “I love what I do. I have a passion for it. I love the change and even the problems that come in, I love them because every day is something different and you are part of the solution.”
Wrapping up, one of the final questions we asked our panelists was what is the best piece of advice you could give someone? We will leave you with these bits of advice from the women in our industry:
• Be yourself and everything will fall into place
• Stand in your truth
• Show up as your authentic self every day
I want to thank our facilitators of the Leading Women In Action Webinar – both are LWDP Board Members and active in the damage prevention industry. Shakheana Harrison, Director of Organizational Leadership and Ketha Molina, Sr. Damage Prevention Manager, both from Texas811.
Jennifer Pratt is the Program Manager, Damage Prevention Council of Texas/Texas 811. If you would like to learn more about the Leading Women of Damage Prevention, you can visit their website at https:// dpcoftexas.org/leading-women-of-damage-prevention/ or you can email Ketha Molina at firstname.lastname@example.org or Jennifer Pratt at email@example.com.