March 3-9 is The National Association of Women in Construction’s (NAWIC) “Women in Construction” week, a time for the industry as a whole to recognize the growing role of women in the industry, which is still a traditionally male-dominated field.
OZ is breaking that mold. Women compose fifty percent of the company’s 165-person strong workforce, and about half of the company’s board of directors, principals and shareholders.
As one of the country’s largest architecture firms, according to Building Design + Construction, OZ’s commitment to hiring, promoting and mentoring women has been embedded for more than fifty years. This dedication to gender equality goes well-beyond hiring women but also includes purposefully designed programs that enable women to thrive in their careers.
Mentoring is essential in architecture and design, and at OZ young architects across all genders, practice areas and disciplines are mentored, resulting in many highly experienced women who in turn are now practice area leads and mentors themselves.
“The way to become a leader in this field is to be exposed to and have the opportunities to work on highly strategic, creative and diverse projects,” said Rebecca Stone, resort and hospitality practice area lead, board member and principal and OZ. “As one of our practice area leads, I help ensure that our young architects learn by doing, so they get the experience they need to be promoted and grow in their careers.”
In addition to an ingrained culture of providing exceptional mentoring and opportunities, OZ is at the forefront of creating programs and policies that enable all people to balance the demands of family life and work.
Senior associate Jen Fumuso wrote recently for AIA Colorado about the policies OZ provides including a ‘New Parents Handbook’ to help navigate the complexities of medical and time-off paperwork, flexible working hours for employees, and even non-traditional workweeks.
OZ also makes diversity a stated goal, so the company’s leadership is intentional about inclusion. This helps ensure women are an equal part of the company mix, while also bringing a diverse set of perspectives to any design project.
“We are a better design firm because of our company’s intentional focus on diversity,” said Tracy Boyer, interior design practice area lead, board member and principal at OZ. “OZ has been successful for decades because we bring unique thinking, innovation and highly qualified talent to each project. That doesn’t happen by coincidence. Our commitment to diversity underpins our excellence.”
The women of OZ are practice area leads, principals, board members, shareholders, designers, and projects leads in every practice area, project and discipline at the company. We’re proud of our inclusive culture and proud to support Women in Construction. Learn more about OZ’s culture by visiting our careers page.