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By Erica Sweeney
October 23, 2017
The National Association of Women in Construction has a new executive vice president. This change marks a “brand new day and brand new way” for the organization, a press release said.
Beth Brooks officially took over the post in August, succeeding Dede Hughes who had held the position for more than 20 years. Brooks has more than 30 years of experience in association management. She began her career as director of communications at the Texas Dental Association, and then served as executive director of the Texas Pest Control Association. Most recently, she was chief executive officer of the Texas Society of Association Executives.
She says she is excited about her new role and the opportunity to bring her fresh perspective and knowledge of association best practices to NAWIC, headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas.
“We are extremely fortunate to have someone of the caliber of Beth Brooks as NAWIC’s next executive vice president,” NAWIC President Catherine Schoenenberger said in a news release. “Already, Beth has begun to realign staff and has assessed ways to better serve our members, renew partnerships and increase our national sponsorships.”
Increasing membership is Brooks’ main goal. The Jobsite has recently spoken to Brooks about her plans for NAWIC and why construction companies should become members of the organization.
The Jobsite: What have you been doing since you took over as executive vice president of NAWIC?
Brooks: I started with a lot of assessments. We're doing an internal assessment of the infrastructure of the office and the job descriptions of all of the staff, and I’m getting to know the staff. We're also doing an assessment of our IT. We’re doing a whole a communications audit on how things are put out to the members. We want to have a very streamlined communications structure. So we've got a lot of things going on right now. It's exciting.
What are you goals for NAWIC over the next few years?
Our strategic plan includes a lot of high-level plans. We want to increase our membership. There are thousands of women in the construction profession. It seems we're kind of a little secret, just over 4,000 members. We should be able to increase that. I'm so impressed with what I'm seeing with NAWIC and our local chapters. It's amazing work that they're doing there.
My goal is to also bring in non-dues income. We own our own building in Fort Worth and have a lot of empty space there. We’re looking at whether we can lease that out. We're looking at sponsorship programs and advertising, things that have not been put into place. Non-dues income can help us offer more programs to our members. I’m also very invested in building up our annual meeting, which is next August in Orlando and doubling the size of attendance.
Why is NAWIC such a great organization, and what appealed to you about it?
These are women empowering women. The construction industry is male dominated, but these women are making a difference in their jobs and in their communities. As a female, to be a part of a women-led organization, to see the work they're doing, to help younger or newer people who join this organization to become better leaders, to become better employees, be better stewards in to the community— It's all great. That impressed me very much. They're hands on; they're making a difference.
What can the construction industry do to support women and bring more into the industry?
I think we need more women at the table in leadership roles. NAWIC is here. We want to have a conversation with construction firms. We want to sit at the table with them and say, “What do you need in order to have a more diversified workforce?” We'll help you get there.
That's an initiative we're actually exploring. Many companies are starting women's initiatives or diversity programs. We have a lot of things in place and a lot of educational materials in place. We can be a partner with them. It's very exciting for NAWIC to partner with companies where we can help each other.
For those who aren’t NAWIC members, what should they know about the organization?
Our leadership is saying this is a new day for NAWIC. We are poised to jump and soar, whether it's with membership or benefits. If people haven't been involved with NAWIC, maybe they ought to give us a second look, especially the employers who have female employees. Give us a chance because we can really make a difference. Our members say they belong to NAWIC because it changed their careers. Personally, I think we can make that difference for so many more people.
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