Advocacy work has always been a personal passion of Donna Grant’s, but as the new Vancouver Regional Construction Association president it’s now her full-time job.
“I feel like I finally landed where I belong,” said Grant. “My heart has always been in advocacy and I was really hoping for a moment in my life where it could be my actual job.”
Grant said that her 10 years working in the industry have given her a good idea of where the gaps and areas of improvement could be.
She most recently held the position of marketing and proposal manager for B.C., Alberta and Ontario for Scott Construction Group.
During her time there she served on the company’s mental health committee where she became passionate about addressing depression and suicidal thoughts. She visited jobsites and talked to workers about the impact mental health has had on them.
“They had all been touched by suicide, were hungry for information and wanted to know how they could never be in that moment again,” said Grant. “It was inspiring and got me so much more involved.”
Grant is also passionate about making the construction industry a welcome and inclusive environment. She served as the director of community for the Canadian Construction Women’s Association.
“That has certainly given me the contacts and support to help everyone in our industry be better advocates for diversity, equality and inclusiveness,” said Grant.
She added as a woman in the construction sector, she wants to be an example to others who may be hesitant about applying for leadership roles. Grant noted that studies show women are more likely than men to dismiss job postings if they don’t have 100 per cent of the desired qualifications.
“That was some thinking I have had to overcome,” said Grant. “My knee-jerk reaction is that if I haven’t done it before, I don’t think that I can.”
Grant, who has only been on the job a handful of days, said she is still connecting with members to learn what their concerns are and what the VRCA’s future priorities will be.
Her message to members was simple: “Call me. I’m an early riser. I love to walk. I love to talk. I want to hear from everybody. And that isn’t just at the beginning. This is how it will be all the way through.”
Grant aims to walk with, video chat or visit as many VRCA members as she possibly can to discuss what matters to them.
“What matters most to me is what matters most to my members. That should carry on no matter how many years are in this role. It should still be the same answer,” said Grant.