Each quarter GROW (Granite Resources and Opportunities for Women), an employee resource group, holds an internal event which draws an audience from around the company to explore a topic related to supporting women in construction. This quarter, GROW welcomed guest speaker Judaline Cassidy, union plumber and founder of Tools and Tiaras, who addressed the topic of women in the trades. Judaline shared her experience on becoming one of the first women to be accepted into Plumbers Local 371 in Staten Island, New York, and on being the first woman elected to the Examining Board of Plumbers Local 1 in New York City. While her story inspired attendees, she also provided tangible recommendations on not only how to support women in the trades, but also how to help grow women’s participation in the craft workforce.
“Jobs don’t have genders” is a message Judaline believes needs to be shared with women of all ages. This is in alignment with Granite’s commitment to the advancement of women in construction, from participation in STEM programs in all levels of primary education, to the investment in secondary education programs. Most recently, Granite donated $3 million to California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo for the creation of a heavy civil engineering and construction management minor – of which half the students are women.
Patty, an environmental manager in Santa Barbara, California, agreed by sharing, “I believe that every woman in the construction field needs a sponsor to let everyone know that "she" is the one for the job at hand.”
Another key element of Judaline’s message focused on the importance of mentors, which resonated with the audience because less than one year ago, GROW launched a mentoring program with approximately fifty mentee participants. GROW’s mission is to advocate for and support women through mentorship, networking, and career development. GROW’s mentoring program lays the foundation for a mutually beneficial partnership where both mentee and mentor benefit and support their professional development with the two-way sharing of knowledge and experience. The organization also benefits by fostering a culture of development and cross-functional communication which in turn leads to increased engagement, productivity and performance.
“These stories are out there on all Granite projects; one must find the time to go out and find these women to encourage and support them to continue dreaming and, with the right group of mentors, develop them into the next generation that will keep Granite moving forward,” shared Philp, an equipment manager in Florida.
Judaline’s passion for plumbing was clear, along with her mission to present women and girls with the multitude of opportunities available to them in this traditionally male-dominated field of which they may have never dreamed. To learn more about Judaline and her journey from a student at the University of Trinidad and Tobago to a union plumber in New York City, visit her website judaline.com.