Taking action

Jul 30, 2023

Shirley Che


ElevateHER® is identifying sustainable workforce solutions to address our industry’s recruiting and retention challenges.

It seems like it was only yesterday that the 2023 ElevateHER® cohort kicked off with a one-and-a-half-day immersive retreat in Dallas, and began the process of turning ideas into action plans. Since then, the 2023 cohort has been diligently working on their team projects. Additionally, they’ve been receiving monthly inspiration from distinguished feature speakers, including representatives from the National Organization of Minority Architects, Arquitina, ElevateHER® alumni, and others. These speakers have covered a wide range of topics such as intentional recruitment from HBCUs, allyship, advice for working parents in AEC, professional licensure, leadership, and more. Over the past months, this group has been learning, researching, and identifying solutions to our industry’s recruiting and retention challenges, and we are now in the home stretch.

In six weeks, the small but mighty ElevateHER® project teams will take the main stage at the iconic ElevateAEC Conference. During their one-and-a-half hour segment, titled Sustainable AEC Workforce Solutions, they will present their final thesis and deliverables to the audience (and the world). Staying focused on the “north star” of ElevateHER®, the teams will explore various perspectives of how to ensure a sustainable AEC workforce. The 2023 project teams will share the findings of their research and the fruits of their labor.

Here’s a sneak peak at this year’s ElevateHER® projects:

  • HostAgE Crisis, presented by Emily Havelka and Laura Morton, highlights the impact of liquidity issues at many AEC firms. By increasing fees and/or ensuring prompt payment, firms can stay liquid and profitable – allowing them to attract, maintain, and train top talent and restore the pride and dynamism of the industry.
  • MentHERship, presented by Amy Kunselman, Andrea Narendorf, Carmen Pemsler, Jessica Bazán, Lalitha Benjaram, Shelby Harvey, and Stephanie Putzke, continues the work from one of the 2021 ElevateHER® project teams, and offers a framework for firms and organizations to implement a successful mentorship program.
  • PromoteHER, presented by Adrienne Taylor, Amanda Thomas, Kara Koenig, Laci Budd, and M. Jackie Chang, established that one way to retain women and minorities in the AEC industry is by ensuring equitable advancement opportunities. The team is creating a readily-accessible hub of resources and framework to help track professional skill sets and achievements.
  • TeacHER2.0, presented by Amanda Roehl, Chad Coldiron, and Kellie Delaney, expands on the effort by 2022 ElevateHER® project teams, and leverages the collective powers of public libraries to distribute materials that will help expose AEC career paths to children at an early stage.
  • TransformUS, presented by Alejandra Ruiz, Alicia Albini, and Katie Fitzpatrick, asserts that a growth mindset is key to implementing DEI initiatives and improving recruitment, retention, and culture at AEC organizations. They will share their research and a framework that change agents can leverage to gain buy-in from firm leaders.

Audience members will not only walk away with tangible action plans, they will also get to vote for the project they are most likely to implement. The team with the most votes will be invited to present at the ElevateHER® Symposium in March 2024. To learn more about or to register for Zweig Group’s 2023 ElevateAEC Conference & Awards Gala, click here

Shirley Che is director of field marketing, learning, and ElevateHER® at Zweig Group. Contact her at sche@zweiggroup.com.

ElevateAEC Conference & Awards Gala This is the largest in-person gathering of industry leaders and award-winning firms, all interested in evevating the industry. This year’s conference has a jam-packed agenda designed to help you network, learn, and celebrate like never before. Join us in Frisco, TX, September 13-15. Click here to learn more!

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About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.