We often ask ourselves, “How can we better serve clients and communities?”
There are many ways to answer that question, but one answer sticks out more prominently during Women’s History Month—encourage associates to embrace open dialogues so we can create a more inclusive work environment and community.
This approach allows differences to not only be valued and celebrated, but it also strengthens the thoughtfulness and care woven into our deliverables for our clients.
This Women’s History Month, we are celebrating some meaningful moments of conversation, connection and collaboration that our employee resource group, the Ignite Women’s Leadership Network, helped build and facilitate for associates at RS&H.
Special Guest Speaker Events Spark Meaningful Conversations
In 2021, Ignite organized and launched a series of internal webinars that touched on topics discussing emotional intelligence, integrity, safety and identity in the workplace.
In past sessions, participants shared their perspectives, favorite tools and lessons learned that have proven to be helpful as they’ve grown throughout their career both at RS&H and within the industry. The goal of these sessions were to empower the audience with examples of how empathy, authenticity and a commitment to making safer, more thoughtful choices have affected them personally and professionally.
Ignite has hosted 11 speaker events since its inception. Previous guest speakers have included a senior military engineer in the U.S. Air Force, an administrator for the Federal Highway Administration and a director of Clemson University’s School of Architecture.
Ignite Fosters Connection Through Mentorship
The Ignite Connections program provides associates with an opportunity to develop mentorship-focused relationships where participants can share their thoughts on important topics affecting our company like career pathing and development as well as our brand and culture. The current program consists of 36 facilitators and 71 participants, representing all major market segments and regions at RS&H
When signing up for the program, associates experience a structured schedule that allows for deep connections with various people in the firm and includes:
Once monthly meetings with one other participant and a facilitator leading the discussion.
Rotating sessions which connect participants with a new group every three months.
Participation and engagement with other associates in each session around established discussion topics.
Networking and learning opportunities with associates across markets, locations and disciplines.
Program organizers often pair associates with others outside of their region, practice or role to encourage connections beyond those that can be formed during day-to-day operations. The intent is to foster higher levels of engagement and collaboration while increasing commitment and a sense of connection to other associates.
Ignite Fosters Collaboration to Support Giving Back Initiatives
In 2020, Ignite hosted a virtual event, Pink Ribbon Bingo. To kick-off the month of October, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and to promote the event which took place later that month, associates shared their personal stories on why they were playing and donating, often in honor of loved ones impacted by cancer. It culminated in a series of lively pink-ribbon inspired virtual bingo games hosted regionally across the country.
For National Breast Cancer Awareness month in 2021, Ignite committed to raising funds for the National Breast Cancer Foundation but this time with a fun spin on a fall favorite, a Pink Your Pumpkin contest.
Pink Your Pumpkin called for creativity, care and a whole lot of pink, to create a breast cancer awareness-inspired pumpkin. To participate in the voting portion of the contest, associates were asked to donate to the National Breast Cancer Foundation and submit a vote for their favorite pink pumpkin.
These fundraisers built on the success of Ignite’s 2019 campaign for Dress for Success where associates collected more than 1,800 articles of professional attire for low-income women to help in their job search.
Looking to the Future – Ignite Will Foster More Conversations, Connection and Collaboration
Since this employee resource group was established in 2019, Ignite has continued to build on its mission to connect, create development opportunities and advocate for the advancement of women, both within the A/E/C industry and within the communities we live and work.
Recently, Ignite’s Steering Committee came together to build on their vision for Ignite and consider programmatic enhancements for associates. One enhancement that will be rolled out towards the end of Women’s History Month is a new membership model which will allow members to access more content, programs and networking opportunities.
Ignite continues to live its mission by supporting the promotion of women into leadership roles and helps identify possibilities for advancement and networking across the company.