WCOE Hosts Annual Conference in Washington D.C.
WCOE recently held its 2016 Annual Leadership Conference at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel in Washington D.C. April 3 through 5, 2016.
The three-day Conference kicked off with High Tea at the Willard on Sunday afternoon. The event featured a Success Stone Celebration – a new tradition for the annual event. Attendees were encouraged to provide a success they experienced in their professional life during the past year. Each attendee's story was shared with the group by Stephanie Hickman, WCOE President-Elect and President of Trice Construction, and each attendee received a Success Stone to celebrate and memorialize the event. All of the amazing Success Stories shared by the Conference attendees can be read here.
After the Success Stone Celebration, Kevin Ellman, CEO of Wealth Strategies for Women, shared strategies for wealth preservation including the pitfalls of emotional investing, setting a plan for investing, and asset protection.
Monday at the Conference
Denise Turner Roth, Administrator, U.S. General Services Administration, presented keynote remarks at the Monday morning breakfast. Ms. Roth shared her inspirational journey of public service and spoke about the importance of public-private partnerships to make communities thrive. She also reviewed some changes the GSA has made to ease the ability for small businesses to work with the government, as GSA has a goal of ten percent participation for Women and Minority Owned Small Businesses.
Women Build America's National Roundtable
Speakers from all aspects of the construction industry participated in a National Roundtable on Monday morning. Participants included moderator Carra Wallace, Chief Diversity Officer, Office of the NYC Comptroller; Magalie D. Austin., Chief Diversity and Industry Relations Officer, NYC Department of Design and Construction; Caryn A. Boisen, President, WCOE, USA and Partner, Larson King, LLP; Deborah Bradley, WCOE National Board Member and President, Deborah Bradley Construction & Management Services, Inc.; Ida B. Brooker, WCOE National Board Member and President, Construction Consulting Northwest; Teri Coaxum, Regional Advocate for NY, NJ, PR & USVI, Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy; Cosema E. Crawford, P.E., Senior Vice President, Rail/Transit Global Practice Leader, Louis Berger; Lee Cunningham, WCOE National Board Member and CEO, BT Metals; Lorraine D'Angelo, WCOE National Board Member and Founder and President, LDA Compliance Consulting, Inc.; Mary D. Gilbert, Public Buildings Service, Regional Commissioner for the National Capital Region, U.S. General Services Administration; Stacy Guercia, President, Triton Builders, Inc.; Y. Lisa Colon Heron, WCOE National Board Member and Partner, Smith, Currie & Hancock LLP; Shari Hyman, President and COO, Battery Park City Authority; Theresa Kern, WCOE National Board Member and President, MA Rebar Services, Inc.; Megan Kitchner, Owner, Atlantic TNG, LLC; Zoe Markwick, Commercial Director, Skanska Infrastructure Development Inc.;
Karen Sweeney, Turner Construction, shared how Turner's focus is on ensuring the availability of field experience and offering flexibility to improve employee retention. Teri Coaxum, S.B.A. Office of Advocacy, talked about the importance of mentorship including peer-to-peer mentoring. The panel discussed at length the importance of having advocates or sponsors to help women further their careers and businesses.
Loryn Riggiola, Zetlin & De Chiara LLP, spoke about the importance of showing worth for employees and the implementing the practice of valuing employees as part of the company's culture.
Monday Afternoon Speakers and Panels
Luncheon keynote speaker Elizabeth J. Heider, Chief Sustainability Officer, Skanska, spoke about creating a new paradigm to create value driven leadership across diverse business units, cultures, and profit structures. She stressed the importance of the commitment to values and leadership and how a good crisis is an opportunity to learn from do better.
The "Get the Work" panel session on Monday afternoon featured panelists Magalie D. Austin, NYC Dept. of Design and Construction; Zenaida Rodrigues, Assistant Director, MTA; Karen Sweeney, Turner; Barbara Wagner, Clark Construction Group, LLC; Lourdes Zapata, Empire State Development; and Lorraine D'Angelo, LDA Compliance Consulting, IIC, moderator.
The discussion covered opportunities in federal and public arenas, changes in SBA regulations to make it easier for women to compete, and opportunities in new and emerging markets. Current mentoring and training programs have expanded to include small business loans and access to surety bonds.
Accelerated payment plans have been implemented at Turner to help sub-contractors. Each speaker stressed the importance of getting engaged, establishing relationships, and proving that one is capable of doing the work.
The next session, "The New Economy and Your Business Plan" featured Alison Premo Black, Senior VP and Deputy Managing Director, Contractors Division American Road & Transportation Builders Association; Robert A. Murray, Chief Economist and Vice President, Dodge Data & Analytics; and Kenneth D. Simonson, Chief Economist, Associated General Contractors of America.
The panelists discussed that federal, state and local transportation investment is approaching pre-2008 levels. As leading indicators show recovery in construction starts, the institutional building component of non-residential building will become more important. The best recovery in commercial building is in hotel construction. Airport terminals are also strong.
"Public Private Partnerships" was the topic for the final panel on Monday and featured Ali Chaudhry, Assistant Counsel, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo; Stephanie Dawson, The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; Shari C. Hyman, President and COO Battery Park City Authority; Michael Likosky, Infrastructure Advisors; Zoe Markwick, Skanska Infrastructure Development Inc.; Catherine Singer, KPMG Corporate Finance LLC; and Carol Patterson, Zetlin & De Chiara LLP, moderator.
The discussion centered on recent public-private partnerships ranging from La Guardia to the Tappan Zee Bridge. The source of funds comes from pension funds looking for a 25 year term and are moving that money into projects.
A reception Celebrating America's Builders was held at the Willard on Monday evening. The award winners were:
Tuesday at the Conference
The breakfast session on Tuesday morning kicked off with a legislative update, outreach plan, and presentation of the WCOE Position Paper by Lee Cunningham, BT Metals, and Margery Newman, Partner, Deutsch, Levy & Engel, both of whom serve on WCOE, USA's Board of Directors.
Next, Nick Tojaga, owner of NT Corporate Wellness, educated attendees with tips about the importance of good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle to effectively running a company.
The first panel of the morning addressed "The Next Generation of Women Builders" and included Rose Abousaid, Project Manager, Gilbane Building Company; Sharon Ames, Senior V.P., South Mid-Atlantic Region, HAKS; Lisa Deane, President, Federal Contractors Inc.; Aimee Fogarty, V.P. of Business Development, Skanska; Stacy Guercia, President, Triton Builders, Inc.; Penny McDonald-Eades, Managing Director, Tri-State Painting Co., Inc.; and Brennan Gilbane Koch, Client Relations Manager, Gilbane Building Company, moderator.
The panel discussed ways in which large companies are implementing benefits including flex time to attract and retain employees and looking at the barriers that prevent women from succeeding in the construction industry and options for breaking down doors.
The final session of the Conference focused on "Building a Personal Business Plan for Growth" and featured panelists James Coleman, President and CEO Prince George's County Economic Development Corporation; Renee Sacks, President, Sacks Communications; and Krista Gobins, Sacks Communications, as moderator.
The panelists provided tips for presenting oneself in a business setting, including being prepared, knowing one's elevator pitch, looking the part, being authentic ,and provide substance.
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Baltimore City is open for business and encourages small, minority and women-owned businesses to bid on open contract opportunities. This seminar series is designed to provide participants with pertinent, helpful information to better position them to successfully compete for contracts. Seminars are held on Monday evenings, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. as shown below.
There is a registration fee of $25 per workshop. Sign up for all six workshops for the price of five. Seating is limited; workshops will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Register now!
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