A recent professional mixer hosted by Women@TT in Thornton Tomasetti’s New York, 40 Wall Street office brought together 200 women from the city’s AEC community, and featured a speaker and “networking bingo.”
In the AEC fields and in STEM careers in general, we are challenged by a lack of diversity. Historically, more men than women have entered engineering professions, and we see very few females in leadership positions in AEC firms. Women also leave engineering careers at a higher rate than men. To address some of these challenges and promote gender equity within the firm and industry, Thornton Tomasetti in 2013 founded a women’s group called Women@TT. Today, approximately 300 members are involved in this community, which works to educate, support and elevate women. As this year’s Women’s History Month concludes, we look back at and celebrate the recent achievements of Women@TT.
In November 2018, seventeen female associates gathered in Denver to take part in a Mastermind Pilot Program. The event provided a forum for mid-career women to discuss career barriers and opportunities for advancement.
Thornton Tomasetti recently elevated Women@TT from being one of several Communities of Practice within the firm to make it our first Employee Resource Group (ERG). As an ERG, Women@TT is working closely with the firm’s Inclusion and Diversity Committee and senior leadership. A formal leadership board and committees, which include global programming, mentoring, advancement, and resource all support the ERG. Women@TT has now grown to include 17 offices with active local chapters, which have organized a range of successful activities and events.
In 2018, Women@TT started a grant program. With six grants awarded to date, funds have gone toward helping a volunteer event benefiting schoolchildren in Maine, covering the costs for a chapter member to attend a national conference, funding a networking sail in the Boston Harbor for two Thornton Tomasetti offices, and a speaker and networking event hosted by the Women@TT San Francisco chapter and Women@Langan.
Joined by local clients, female employees from Thornton Tomasetti’s Portland, Maine, and Boston, Massachusetts, offices set sail in the Boston Harbor last year for a networking event organized by Women@TT.
The Women@TT community has continued a long-term mentoring program connecting women within and across offices, and in 2018 it kicked off a group micro-mentoring and discussion program as well as a Coffee Break Program to connect women across offices in a fun and informal setting. Women@TT now offers a database of articles and videos that cover a wide range of topics for career and personal development.
The Women@TT Global Programming group held three firm-wide events in 2018, including a women in history trivia competition. The winning team, based in the San Francisco office, pictured top, was awarded a group lunch. Other events included a panel discussion as part of a conversation series, bottom, which was broadcast across all offices, and a negotiation training course.
Through this grass roots initiative at Thornton Tomasetti, women employees in diverse roles are empowered and given support to succeed. The program’s quick growth from a discussion group in two offices just a few years ago into a large collection of employees engaged companywide indicates a real need for employee resource groups for women in the AEC industry. We hope that our experience can serve as an example for other firms that are interested in supporting gender equality in the AEC fields, and we are excited to see what the future brings as we continue to support women throughout all levels, departments and practices at our firm.
– Jennifer Greenawalt, senior engineer, Women@TT president
– Amy Hattan, vice president of corporate sustainability, Women@TT past president
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