Diversity in Positions of Influence

Diversity in Positions of Influence: The Built Environment Sector

Maimunah Mohd Sharif,
Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme

Robert Crane, Associate Vice Provost for Global Programs, Penn State University

Maria Coulter BEM, Managing Director, Construction Coach

Dr Amy Freeman, Director of the Penn State Millennium Scholars Program

Dr Esther Obonyo, Director of the Global Building Network.

Dr Deborah Pullen MBE, Executive Director of BRE Trust

Tuesday 27th October 900 hours US ET/ 1300 hours GMT/ 1600 hours East African Time


Register for the Webinar Here

Diversity of viewpoints—across attributes such as ethnicity, gender, age and educational background, breeds innovation. Organizations have become more active in their efforts to hire and work with a broader societal group of people. Having a diverse workforce is a prerequisite to creating products, services, and business practices that can set a company apart and generate competitive advantage. At the global scale, diversity and inclusion allows organizations to adapt in an agile manner to the unique needs of different demographic groups, markets and cultures.

Since the construction sector is responsible for creating and upgrading the physical assets that support families and livelihoods to thrive, it is critical that wider experiences and opinions are included in the delivery of its workforce at all levels. Some organizations have adjusted their recruitment and talent development strategies to address this and an increasing number of top performing building and built environment organizations fit the profile of McKinsey’s top-quartile companies for gender diversity on executive teams. Unfortunately, a disproportionately large number are in the bottom quartile for both gender and ethnic or cultural diversity. According to the National Association for Women in Construction, women make up about 9.1% of the construction industry in the US. It has also been observed that although half the working population in the U.K. is female, women still make up just 13% of the construction sector’s workforce.

Our “Diversity in Positions of Influence” Initiative is directed at addressing this at the systems level through creating a movement of action by building on the great ideas implemented by trail-blazing organizations. We recognize that it requires us all to do more together and seek to catalyze transformations across our respective networks. We will do this by identifying tangible actions that more individuals and organizations can adopt to accelerate the translation of what is working into system-wide intervention programs. The scheduled Webinar will feed best practices to a broader audience through showcasing individuals who have led successful diversity programs.

Meet Our Speakers


US Eastern Time Description Presenter
9.00 to 9.05 Welcome Remarks Dr Robert Crane
9.05 to 9.10 Introduction of Speakers Moderators: Esther Obonyo Deb Pullen MBE
9.10 to 9. 25 Social Inclusion in the Built Environment Ms. Maimunah Mohd Sharif
9.25 to 9.40 Roadmap for Change – CIC Maria Coulter BEM
9.40 to 9.55 Empowering New Voices in Science and Engineering:  Expanding Research, Role Models, and Solutions Dr Amy Freeman


9.55 to 10.25 Q & A
10.25 to 10.30 Closing Remarks Deb Pullen MBE


Register for the Webinar Here