A new program for women in the construction industry focuses on building leadership skills.
The Canadian Association of Women in Construction (CAWIC) recently held the first of a series of Women’s Leadership Development Workshops to kick off the organization’s Women’s Leadership Program.
About 30 people attended the first event, which was held earlier this month at Aird & Berlis LLP in Toronto. The workshop, entitled the Art and Science of Influence, explored topics such as power of trust, building and maintaining relationships for success, and behavioural styles and their impact on the results women achieve in their professional and personal lives. It focused on self-developing as a leader as well as providing networking opportunities.
“It’s a leadership development, soft skills workshop,” explained Luana Buratynski, special events director at CAWIC. “This is all the soft skills development that gives value, plus the technical skills you already have, so you can bring a lot to the table.”
The program is new and still in the early stages of development, she noted.
“This was a start to see how it’s going to interact and how we can improve. We’re getting feedback on designing the program,” said Buratynski, who is part of the team building the program.
“Next year is going to be exciting for us as we design and create a couple more legs to this program.”
The workshop was held by Renata Kuprinskiene, a leadership and life balance consultant/coach for RElive Coaching.
We are targeting all women in construction, men are welcome too
— Luana Buratynski
Canadian Association of Women in Construction
“It was all about, as a woman, becoming a more effective leader others are motivated to work for and work with, not because of your position or title and authority you have but because they want to,” explained Kuprinskiene.
“Being a woman leader in this industry is quite challenging. This kind of event, it motivates women to develop and to realize they are not alone in their adventures. Through support and understanding and learning the tools, that helps them succeed.”
They discussed and learned how to apply a three-step strategy in order to achieve this.
“The first is becoming more self-aware of your own behaviour style, your strengths and your potential blind spots or limitations,” said Kuprinskiene.
“The second step in the strategy is identifying and accepting the style of others. We are all different so people want to be approached in a different way. The third step is learning how to modify your own behaviour to become better communicators and becoming more effective at influencing others.”
She also explained the golden rule of communication: treat others as you want to be treated.
“We were discussing and transforming it in our mindset and behaviour to the ‘platinum rule,’ ” Kuprinskiene stated. “The most effective leader will approach each team member in a slightly different way to accommodate their needs.”
The event was sponsored by EllisDon and McLean Chimney. Aird & Berlis LLP sponsored the venue.
Buratynski was pleased with the turnout and said many of the women found value in the program.
“We had a lot of dynamic women from different professions coming in and I think the industry needs women to lead as women and bring their assets to the team. That’s what we’re trying to bring up, building confident leaders in the industry and a dynamic skill for their companies and the partners they associate with,” said Buratynski, adding the networking aspect of the event was key, with people sharing their experiences, stories and helping each other.
She found the program very insightful.
“It’s great to break it down, especially with a different type of expertise on a project team that people have,” Buratynski said. “To respect others communication styles and how to adapt yours to interact better for more team collaboration is very important.”
The leadership program is geared towards women at all levels in their careers.
“You can be a student, you can be in your mid-career, we are targeting all women in construction, men are welcome too,” said Buratynski.
“Whether they are an employee or a business owner or an executive, it doesn’t matter…that’s what leadership is, to influence and work through making better interactions, communication and connections and minimizing the breakdown of that.”