Celebrating Women’s History Month with Female Designers

Celebrating Women’s History Month with Female Designers

Building Enclosure March 1, 2021

AnaTracey Hawkins, Vice President of Strategic Growth, CNY Group

There are a multitude of approaches for closing the gender gap in my field of construction and closing that gap begins with each of us. Building supportive networks, creating buy in, finding mentors, giving back and becoming a mentor, retaining a coach. We have to have a voice, a seat at the table (not at the back). We have to step up and ask for promotions if we aren’t offered them and try for opportunities that we have potential for. And when our female colleagues don’t have the confidence to do it themselves we need to step up and help, if they struggle to have a voice we can stick our necks out a little, behind the scenes if necessary.

When I first stepped into this industry I began to build a network of like-minded women, women did not try to compete with one another but wanted to see others grow and achieve success. It was shocking to me how often it was women who were standing in the way of other women. That has to stop, we have to be inclusive. It takes a team, we need to be a team. Some of my mentors were/are male, men that wanted to see more women playing key roles. This is a classic example of why all kinds of diversity is so important, their advice often helped me understand ideas from a different perspective and tackle my day-to-day operations in different light. Not being afraid to seek help when needed helped me excel and be much more efficient at what I do today. Ask for it.

Opportunity. We have a chance to make a difference. Diversity and Inclusion is the future. As a female in a predominantly male industry, I continuously aspire to pave the way, support other women and be a trailblazer to open up the path for other women.

I have three female role models—the first one being Indra Nooyi. I identify with her ability to make the complicated simple and I admire her strategic vision. Second, Michelle Peluso for the simple fact that I agree with her. If you treat your employees as unique individuals, they’ll be loyal to you and they’ll perform—ultimately your business will perform as well. Lastly, my mother Dianne McDonald. Her practical “roll up your sleeves” and problem-solving approach is something I carry with me every single day.

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