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The Tradeswomen Leadership Institute facilitates the leadership development, advocacy skills, and unity among all women (union, open shop, self-employed and otherwise) working in the building, construction, mechanical and utility trades.

Planned by Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc. (OTI), the University of Oregon’s Labor Education Research Center (LERC), and a dedicated committee of tradeswomen volunteers, the 8th Annual Leadership Institute(TLI) has some exciting new additions. On Friday night, we will be showing the play My Walk Has Never Been Average. On Saturday, participants will be able to choose from 9 workshops in three different tracks and an informative plenary session.  Look forward to gaining vital support from a community of women who share similar experiences working in the trades and having a great time!

Thank you to the Berger-Marks Foundation for their generous support, to Stacy and Witbeck for their sponsorship contribution, and to KBOO Community Radio for their media sponsorship of TLI and My Walk Has Never Been Average.







Download the brochure

Please note that registration for the 2014 Tradeswomen Leadership Institute is closed. If you would like to be notified about the 2015 TLI, please contact Tiffany Thompson.


$40 per person* if received before August 18
$55 per person* if received by September 22

Cost includes: 2 complimentary tickets to My Walk Has Never Been Average, instruction, materials, refreshments, and breakfast and lunch on Saturday.

*$10 discount for all Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc. members


Scholarships are available to cover the full cost of your childcare during the event.

Event Schedule:

Friday, September 26:

5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Social Hour and Networking Time

7:00 pm
Adjourn to Alberta Rose Theatre

7:30pm – 8:30pm
My Walk Has Never Been Average

8:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Discussion begins

9:00 pm
Goodnight and see you tomorrow

Saturday, September 27:

8:00 am – 8:30 am
Breakfast, Registration & Welcome

8:30am – 9:30 am

9:45 am – 11:00 am
Workshop Session #1

11:00 am – 12:15 pm
Workshop Session #2

12:15 pm – 1:45 pm
Lunch and Keynote Address

2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Workshop Session #3

3:30 pm – 4:00pm
Closing Remarks

Workshop Descriptions

Workshop Track A:  Nuts And Bolts

These workshops focus on managing day to day life to support a career in the trades

Session #1: Surviving Apprenticeship
Learn from experienced tradeswomen about how to survive and thrive in your apprenticeship. Get practical advice about on the job training, know some of the expenses to plan for as a new worker, and understanding the role of an apprentice on the job site. This workshop is geared toward those in the first 1-2 years of their apprenticeship.

Session #2: Overcoming Barriers
Connect with other tradeswomen and discuss the barrier for women working in the trades. Learn and discuss the importance of work-life balance with other tradeswomen. We will look at care-giving, managing a full time job, physical exhaustion and staying in shape for the job, and staying healthy (mentally and physically).

Session #3: Managing Finances
Financial planning is critical to personal and career success. You will learn about making an accurate, practical budget, surviving layoffs, and how to make a savings plan for retirement.

Workshop Track B:  Career Building

You already know that you love your work, but what comes next? Learn about the different avenues you can pursue to grow your career as a Tradeswoman.

Session #1: Making the move from employee to employer
Transitioning to owning your own contracting business is a big decision. This workshop will help you understand the concrete steps needed to start a business and offer up resources for information and support. Expect to hear about licensing, certifications, and some general information on the bidding process.

Session #2: Understanding Management Styles
Are you looking to take on a management role OR a manager you want to understand better? In this workshop we will examine the different styles and approaches to management. You will be able to use this knowledge to better understand your own manager and how to approach them  or you can use it to become a stronger and more effective manager now or in the future.

Session # 3: Union Participation
The union- the organization that represents your interests and protects you on the job.  In the workshop we will learn from experienced union members about active participation, growing the union, being knowledgeable about rights, and being aware about upcoming changes.  Let’s take a deeper look at engaging our collective power!

Workshop Track C:  Pick Your Battles

Know when to fight oppressive culture, when to protect yourself, and when the culture is meeting the needs of job.

Session #1: Workplace Culture
So, what is going on with construction culture anyway?  In this workshop, we are going to deeply explore what it means to work as a tradesperson.  How does power and opportunities play a role? What influence do gender dynamics have on the workplace? What does it mean to be a member of the team but also to compete?  Tradeswomen in this workshop will take a hard look at the culture and use their understanding as building block to making change.

Session #2: Know Your Rights
Sexual Harassment continues to be an issue in the trades, but legally, how do you know when it qualifies and when it doesn’t? This workshop will help participants understand their rights, know the legal ramifications, and what evidence they will need.  The workshop is important for all tradeswomen, not just to protect themselves, but to be able to help other women facing harassment.

Session #3:  Self-Advocacy/Assertiveness
Realistic approaches to standing up for yourself and other tradeswomen on the job, without getting burned out. Learn realistic tips on how to ask for change, confront different personalities, and being a mentor to those just entering the trades.

My Walk Has Never Been Average will be shown at 7:30 pm on Friday evening at the Alberta Rose Theater. It is a multimedia presentation adapted for the stage from in-depth, first-person interviews with Black women in all aspects of construction; these stores reveal great inner strength and accomplishment in the face of the multiple oppressions facing Black working class women in America

Questions about the Tradeswomen Leadership Institute?

Please contact Tiffany Thompson.

Social Hour and Networking Time

3934 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. #101  |  Portland, Oregon 97212  |   phone: 503.335.8200  |  fax: 503.249.0445

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