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Woman of Vision: Tiffany Thompson

Every year, the Daily Journal of Commerce seeks nominations from industry for their Women of Vision award recognizing remarkable women who are shaping our built environment. This year, 51 women will be honored for their leadership, mentoring efforts, community involvement and the promotion of industry diversity.

One of Oregon Tradeswomen’s dedicated and passionate employees, Tiffany Thompson, will be recognized this year for her tireless work changing the playing field for women and minority groups in the construction industry.

As the Director of Advocacy Programs, Tiffany leads the efforts in ensuring access to leadership development and mentoring to tradeswomen across Oregon. From new apprentices to veteran tradeswomen, Tiffany connects women in the trades with opportunities for professional growth and personal leadership development. She launched our Tradeswomen Ambassador Program which provides training to tradeswomen to become role-model speakers for the community, acting as ambassadors to the industry where they speak with women and girls across the region about the possibilities that come with a career in the skilled trades. Tiffany also works with industry stakeholders to shift the culture in construction to support tradeswomen. One example is the “Green Dot” program, a by-stander intervention tool to increase support for those experiencing harassment and serve as a resource to combat it on the job site.

Tiffany’s dedication to the community and the industry is clear as she serves on a number of boards and committees related to advancing models of equity and inclusion like the Metropolitan Alliance for Workforce Equity, the National Taskforce on Tradeswomen Issues, Metro’s Equity and Inclusion Advisory Board, and others. She works closely with companies, government, registered apprenticeship programs and unions to provide technical assistance and resource to implement equal employment opportunity plans and advance social equity goals.

We are so proud of Tiffany and her accomplishments and thank the Daily Journal of Commerce for selecting her as a Woman of Vision this year.

Posted on by OTI Staff in About Oregon Tradeswomen | Leave a comment

Our Friends at Pepsi

Oregon Tradeswomen is thrilled to announce a new partnership with PepsiCo, born of our shared priorities: education, diversity, community, and sustainability. Recently, Jim Nam,  Director of Government Affairs at PepsiCo and Neel Pender of local public affairs firm Three Arch Strategies joined Oregon Tradeswomen’s Development Director, Lisa Palermo, at Dignity Village, where Oregon Tradeswomen’s Trades and Apprenticeship Career Class (TACC) was hard at work helping build tiny houses as part of their hands-on learning. This intentional and self-governed community of about 60 houseless people was founded in 2001 and is providing an invaluable learning experience to TACC students.  As our Training Director Amy James Neel, who organizes these field trips and hands-on learning days, explained to our guests, our students have the unique opportunity to build houses from the ground up, learning about carpentry, electrical wiring, and even how to install solar panels – all while giving back to a very worthy cause in our community.

Eli Bryant, one of Oregon Tradeswomen’s dedicated TACC instructors, struck up conversation with Mr. Nam, expressing how important our program is to her and expanding on her own experience as a woman entering the trades. Unlike the students she teaches, Eli did not have an organization like Oregon Tradeswomen to prepare and guide her through the difficulties that many women face in the industry. When Eli was fresh and new, the men on her crew were not willing to take the time to teach her the tips and tricks that the rest of the men already had up their sleeves, like using the hairpin method when measuring something much taller than herself. She was forced to learn everything on her own, making mistakes along the way. Eli stressed how important Oregon Tradeswomen’s pre-apprenticeship class is precisely because it elevates women to the level of the men they are working with and prepares them to succeed. More than that, the program fosters a community and serves as a resource to women that Eli wished she’d had all those years ago. For all of these reasons, Eli prioritizes her job with Oregon Tradeswomen; as a stone mason and metalworker, she turns down jobs that won’t be flexible with her teaching schedule. Her work with Oregon Tradeswomen “is more important than anything [she has] ever done.”

After seeing our students in action and conversing with impassioned Oregon Tradeswomen staff, it was clear to our guests from PepsiCo that our organization exemplifies the guiding principles of their Performance with Purpose initiative.  As a global company, PepsiCo is committed to serving local communities not only through transitioning to healthier food and beverage opportunities, making our food systems more sustainable but also investing in local programs like Oregon Tradeswomen that promote job training, gender parity and pay equity for women in the workplace.

Oregon Tradeswomen is likewise dedicated to making an impact in all these areas by starting with the women from our local community. Our training program provides them with all the skills and support they need to start a new career in the skilled trades and become economically independent. At the same time, we partner with other organizations during training to offer educational opportunities in exchange for work that has an impact on the community, such as new tiny houses for Dignity Village. Once graduated, we support our alums by connecting them with apprenticeship and job opportunities where they can apply all they have learned, continue to learn, and begin to pay it forward by repairing and building hospitals, parks, schools, bridges, and everything a community would need to flourish.

Our Summer 2018 TACC cohort graduated on August 28, 2018 and as we do with every graduating class, we celebrated these women and their hard work with a special ceremony and reception. PepsiCo’s Jim Nam presented Oregon Tradeswomen with a check for $45,000 to help us continue making a difference in the lives of these women and the communities they live in. We are privileged to have been chosen to help further PepsiCo’s Performance with Purpose goals and we look forward to the bright future we can build together!

Posted on by OTI Staff in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Woman on the Rise Nominations Are In!

2017 Woman on the Rise Award Winners from Left: Katie Kuchta, Isis Harris, Heather Mayther, Carly Rush

On September 28, 2018, Oregon Tradeswomen is hosting our 2nd annual Build With Us! Blue Collar Gala and this year we will be announcing the winners of the 2018 Woman on the Rise awards! These awards were conceived last year as a part of Women in Apprenticeship Day to honor exceptional women in the industry and we wanted to celebrate their accomplishments this year with a larger audience. Here are the 20 women who were nominated by their unions, employers, and peers as Women on the Rise:

Aida Aranda
Journeyman Laborer, LiUNA Local 737

Aida Aranda started her journey as a laborer with LiUNALocal 737. She proved herself on the field as a journeyman laborer and then worked her way up into management. Aida has worked as a Dispatcher, Apprenticeship Coordinator, Organizer, and is currently the Director of the Oregon Laborers Apprenticeship and Training Program. She has proved herself to be a natural leader and a mentor to all.

Gabrielle Cowan
Laborer Apprentice, LiUNA Local 737

Gabrielle Cowan is a go-getter Laborer with Liuna Local 737. Still an apprentice, Gabi is giving the men on the crew at Mortenson a run for their money. She is already a skilled concrete hand and leaves a trail of workers behind her questioning their own abilities when working alongside her. She does her job well, with passion and precision, putting her far ahead of her peers.

Sara Currie
Journeyman Inside Wireman, IBEW Local 48

Sara Currie is an Inside Wireman with Local 48 who has worked her way up to Safety Director at the NECA-IBEW Electrical Training Center. Her motivation and commitment to the industry has gained her the respect of her peers as well as the NIETC Health and Safety community.

Kerri Danay
Sheet Metal Workers, Local 16

Kerri Danay is a Sheet Metal apprentice with Local 16. Kerri was nominated by her peers at McKinstry Co who said that, as a new apprentice, Kerri showed great potential. As she progressed through her apprenticeship, this potential was proven to be more than true. Kerri is a smart, hard working individual and has gotten positive feedback from every foreman she has teamed up with who note that she learns quickly, works safely, is highly productive and is always equipped with a good attitude!

Aisley Deymonaz
Line Worker Apprentice, IBEW Local 387

Aisley Deymonaz was nominated by a Crew Foreman from Arizona Public Service Electric Company (APS) who met Aisley when she was just a pre-apprentice. Aisley’s dedication, integrity, and great attitude immediately stood out to her foreman and he recognized her as #1 out of the 700 young adults who try to get an apprenticeship with APS. She excels at everything she attempts and was the only woman on the 2017 APS Lineman’s Rodeo team where she got 1st place in the hurt man rescue. Her passion was apparent early on to the Brotherhood and they uncharacteristically welcomed her with open arms. Aisley is someone who has earned the respect of a trade that is suspicious of outsiders and broke the mold of what it takes to be a Line Worker.

Danielle Elowe
Journey-level Plumber, Area 1

Danielle Elowe’s apprenticeship program is grateful to have her as she is always willing to help promote the program by putting on workshops and helping with speed mentoring which has helped draw more women to the plumbing trade. Her employer, Weekend Plumber, even gets regular calls from clients who have nothing but wonderful things to say about their experiences working with Danielle!

Jinnie Freeman
Apprentice, Sheet Metal Workers, Local 16

Jinnie Freeman was nominated by her union, Local 16, who describe her as an instrumental and integral part of the union. She puts her heart into anything she does and is a top tier student. Jinnie holds the position as co-chair for their new Minority and Women’s Committee where she organizes and runs meetings as well as always offers help and resources for members in hardship. She even volunteers with Oregon Tradeswomen to support the women who are on their way to starting a career in the skilled trades. Local 16 knows she has a bright future within the union and the industry!

Sandra Holguin
Flagger and Business Owner

Sandra Holguin started her own company, IQ Traffic Services, after disappointment with the lacking of quality employees at a flagging company. She is dedicated to provide a safe work environment for her employees and made sure they had steady employment, housing assistance, and even offered financial assistance. Her big heart and boldness have lent a hand in her success as an entrepreneur!

Ann Lawson
Deconstruction, Lovett

Ann Lawson began her work at Lovett Deconstruction in the field as a crew member. After 9 months, Ann had the opportunity to move up and into the office as an Estimator. In her new role, Ann went above and beyond and quickly took charge of organizing lead meetings, strengthening office culture, insisting on protocols and processes that improve transparency, communication and career mobility within the company. Her dedication to making Lovett a forerunner as an equitable place for women in the trades has been a hallmark of her management. Now as a Project Manager, Ann continually strives to bring a positive, solution-oriented, and team-centered perspective to her work. She contributes exponentially to both the functionality of the business and the quality of its culture, using her brilliant observation, incisive questions, ability to analyze information and situations, and daily joy.

Irene Mcguire
Journey-level Laborer, LiUNA Local 737

Irene Mcguire’s work at Anderson is recognized because no matter the task, Irene will make it happen. Her excellent work ethic and drive for success has left an impression on everyone who has worked with her.

Saylor Neher
Powerline Clearance Tree Trimmer Apprentice, Local 125

Local 125 details that Saylor Neher is an outstanding apprentice and is ahead of the pack in skill and maturity. Saylor repeatedly overcomes obstacles with tenacity and has won over her peers with her winning attitude and solid work ethic. Recently, Saylor proved herself with her impressive results in the PNW Lineman’s Rodeo including an awesome 55′ foot-locking demonstration!

Andrea Presler
Painters Apprentice, IUPAT Local 10

Andrea Presler is said to excel at everything she does and seems to have a natural talent making everything look easy. Leadership comes as second nature to her which goes hand in hand with her deep caring for others. Not only does she already have all her certifications, but she has performed on such a high level that the company she works for pays her at a level that only journeyman make!

Elizabeth “Tissi” Snelson 
Carpenter Instructor, Carpenters Local 1503

Elizabeth “Tissi” Snelson is very involved in her union and since its inception, Tissi has organized the 1503 Pride float. Now, Tissi works at Angel Job Corps as a UBC Carpenter Program Instructor and is excelling in her field!

Jani Turner
Journey-level Laborer, LiUNA Local 737

Jani Turner is a journey-level Laborer at Anderson Structures. Her peers at Liuna Local 737 nominated her as a Woman on the Rise because she is a skilled worker, a leader by example, and a caring teammate. She prioritizes her women’s group, Liuna Women @ Work, and is often used as an example of someone who has found great success in the trades. As someone with a difficult past, Jani uses her own experiences to relate to others and speaks up on behalf of those who haven’t yet found their own voice. She passes on her knowledge by going out of her way to teach, help, and lead others around her.

Stephanie Vasquez
Journey-level Drywall Finisher, IUPAT Local 10

Stephanie Vasquez is a journey-level Drywall Finisher with Local 10 who recently graduated from the Drywall Finishing Apprenticeship. She is said to be an outstanding journey-woman at Cascade Acoustics and actively promotes and recruits women for the Drywall program. Only three years in, Stephanie has already found her stride as a drywall finisher.

Jess Giannettino Villatoro
Political Director, Oregon AFL-CIO

Jess Giannettino Villatoro worked her way up the AFL-CIO because of her passion for workers rights. She exemplifies leadership and is an advocate and ally for all in the construction community. Jess’s persistence in fighting for fair wages, equal opportunities, and protection for families has led to her success.

Erin West
Journeyman Plumber, Area 1

Erin West’s apprenticeship program is grateful for her help in recruiting women for their program. Erin’s employer, Meticulous Plumbing, says that she is excelling in her field and overcomes prejudices of past generations. She continually receives positive feedback and it is clear that she is extremely proud to be a plumber. In her heart, she is setting the path for today’s young women to succeed in the trades.

Melinda Wilson
Journey-level Operating Engineer, IUOE Local 701

Even though she comes across as reserved, Melinda is a highly driven woman that goes for what she wants until she achieves it, no matter how long it takes. Local 701 deeply values Melinda’s work within the union as she is dedicated to doing outreach to other women who are curious about a career in the trades.

Sondra Winters
Journey-level Electrician and Solar Installer

Sondra Winters is a Journey-level Electrician and Solar Installer with the Energy Trust of Oregon. She is a licensed journeyman in Oregon and Washington as well as holds a State of Alaska Electrical Certificate of Fitness. Being able to work in multiple states makes her a great asset to her employer as well as her attention to detail and leadership in whatever crew she is working with. She regularly gets rave reviews from customers for going above and beyond. Sondra also is an active member of her community, organizing rafting trips, hikes, and volunteering with Girls Build.

Suzanne Young
Journey-level Roofer, Roofers Local 49

Suzanne’s union, Local 49, nominated her because everyone from her apprenticeship peers to her instructors enjoyed her presence in the program. She grew to become an excellent mentor to others and even takes time off from work to do outreach in the community for new female apprentices. Her work is decorated as she graduated among the top of her class and took 1st place in the 2017 West Coast Roofers Apprenticeship Competition. The International Union Office is even flying her back to Washington DC to do an article on her for her progress and help in recruiting for a more diverse workforce!

Posted on by OTI Staff in About Oregon Tradeswomen, Apprentice, Building Girls, Events | Leave a comment

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