About

Download a brochure about the Industry Leaders Roundtable

Program Goals

The Industry Leaders Roundtable program is designed to encourage firms and their representatives to undertake institutional change within their organizations, by providing them research, tools, and support to be change agents. The program focuses on business planning concepts and initiatives that can both move high potential women in the building industry into key decision-making roles and change the gender culture of the firm. Fully integrating women into the workplace can yield a significant return – one that Deloitte Services, LLP calls the “gender dividend.” The gender dividend is a steady benefit that is earned by making wise, balanced investments in developing women as potential leaders as well as understanding women as clients and their impact on the bottom line. According to Deloitte, done right, this should be reflected in increased contracts, expanded markets, and improved recruitment and retention of key talent.

Achieving the Goals

During the annual two-day retreat and follow-up meetings, the Foundation presents cutting edge research by nationally prominent speakers whose work makes the business case for women and pinpoints specific, effective initiatives for firms. Participants, representing their firm, identify best practices for their organizations that will retain and advance women leaders. Ideas for metrics are suggested for ongoing progress assessment. A professional facilitator leads the annual retreat.

Firm Participation

Roundtable participation is limited to 20 firms drawn from engineering, architecture, planning, landscape and construction services. The Industry Leaders Roundtable participants are principals or partners and human resource executives of the nation’s largest architecture, engineering and construction firms, together representing over 100,000 employees, including an estimated 15,000-20,000 women. Participating firms include AECOM, SOM, Perkins+Will, ARUP, HOK, Weidlinger Associates, Buro Happold, The S/L/A/M Collaborative, WSP Flack + Kurtz, and Thornton Tomasetti, among others.

Women Are Increasingly Clients For Major Projects

While survey figures are not available in Design and Engineering, what we do know is that women architects and engineers are increasingly key to selecting AEC firms for major projects. Consider the following organizations: Forest City Ratner, Related Companies, Cornell Tech, Port Authority Airports, School Construction Authority, and US government agencies such as the Architect of the Capitol—these companies represent billions of dollars in construction. Deloitte Services surveyed the respective principals and found that 91% of the firm’s professional staff sold to women prospective clients. Women clients want to see senior women actively involved in their projects.

Clients, such as Rolando Rivas-Camp, Deputy Chief Architect of GSA, and Anna Franz, FAIA, Director, Planning and Project Management for the Architect of the US Capitol, attended and discussed their organization and its projects. Cathy Dove, VP, Cornell Tech, will speak at the 2012 two-day retreat.

Why Join The BWAF Industry Leader’s Roundtable Program

BWAF is the only industry research group actively seeking potential ways to address and help AEC firms’ human resources manage their human capital needs while increasing the firm’s effectiveness and profitability. During the program meetings, participants also exchanges ideas of how that research fits into their own corporate culture and what modifications, if any, would be necessary to make it useful for their firm. The knowledge gained is invaluable.

Benefits To The Firm

Management in the era of global transformation must be innovative. The 20th-century approach is obsolete. Deloitte recommends a management approach called, Mass Career Customization (MCC), a phased framework for growth. In this “lattice” instead of “ladder” construct for career management, employer and employee must work together to design individual career paths that accommodate an individual’s changing life needs, goals, and desires. One of Deloitte’s most significant findings is that to succeed, such programs must be designed for all employees, not for women only.

Women have a proven value, but do 20th-century stereotypical concepts and false assumptions cause management to overlook ways to use female talent?

Research studies show:

  1. 1.  “Companies with more women in their executive committees have better financial performance.” Source: Desvaux, G. Devillard, S., and Sancier-Sultan, McKinsey & Company – “Women at the top of corporations: Making it happen, 2010.”
  2. 2.  Research from the London School of Economics shows that innovation occurs when there is a near equal team of men and women.

What Participants Say About The Program

Anna Franz, AIA, Director, Planning & Project Management, Architect of the Capitol

“It was the most appreciated, wonderful and memorable event that I have ever attended….”

Joan Blumenfeld, FAIA, Senior Vice President, Perkins + Will

“The presentation by Anne Weisberg about what Deloitte had done/is doing was both fascinating, practical and useful. It helped me go back to my office and articulate possible scenarios for change.”

Peter DiMaggio, Partner, Weidlinger Engineers

“This (Industry Leaders Roundtable) was an extremely valuable event.  The networking opportunities were outstanding and the quality of the speakers was excellent.  I felt that I had an opportunity to test my own opinions out with a well-educated audience and get some very constructive feedback on these ideas.  I was also exposed to a wide range of new ideas, which we will now discuss in-house to see how we might incorporate some of these into our own initiatives.  I definitely left the retreat with more than I had hoped for.”


2012 Industry Leaders Roundtable Retreat: October 3-4, 2012
Location: Pocantico Conference Center of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund

Read more about past Roundtable Meetings.

Contact BWAF for Roundtable information at Roundtable(at)bwaf.org