Episode 2: Advocating for Women’s Safety & Health

Welcome to Construction DEI Talks, a podcast discussing diversity, equity and inclusion as it relates to the construction industry. Your host is Jorge Quezada, Vice President of Inclusive Diversity at Granite Construction. Stephanie Roldan, Director of Lean Culture at Rosendin and Aby Combs, Inclusive Diversity partner at Granite Construction are your co-hosts. Each episode will bring new conversations with subject matter experts about how we can make the industry a more diverse and inclusive place.

Today’s guest is Vicki O’Leary, International Union’s General Organizer for diversity. In her career, Vickie has spoken out about the need for people to not just be told what to not say or do, but that they also need to be given tools and understanding of ways to take action in producing positive change. She shares how good intent is not going to make an impact, but rather taking action and taking a stand for diversity and inclusion. Additionally, she shares her own story and the moment when she was inspired to take action in speaking out for inclusion, diversity, and respect for all in the workplace.

Next, she speaks on the topic of bystander intervention, which is how we can use our voice to take a stand, specifically in speaking out against harassment. She shares several different ways to approach this: directly speaking out against it, distracting and redirecting them to better choices, and delegating ways to go about enforcing safety in the workplace. Too often, people can become caught up in being tough, but Vickie points out that it is essential for people to understand the seriousness of their actions and how it can harm others.

Knowing how to teach these skills not only at a corporate level, but also at a craft level takes intentionality. Vicki speaks on this matter and shares some of the challenges herself and others face in the workplace on a day-to-day basis and the changes that need to be made. She talks about the fact that businesses need to be looking out for the needs of all employees and treating them with respect and dignity. Her hope is that all trades would begin to have a mindset that does not tolerate discrimination and that has a standard of excellence.

The episode concludes with Vicki talking about diversity and how this term expands to more aspects than only racial diversity. New generations are beginning to speak up for this diversity in the workplace and for changes to be made that allow the success of all people. Vicki shares how the company she currently works at has the goal of tapping into employing all groups of people and to promote an inclusive culture. She concludes with two words of advice for listeners: put in the effort to support an inclusive workplace and set goals for how to do it.


Read the article mentioned in this podcast about Vicki O’Leary and her work

Connect with Vicki O’Leary

Connect with Aby Combs.

Connect with Stephanie Roldan.

Connect with Jorge Quezada.

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