Choosing Inclusion: 2022 Construction Inclusion Week

“Construction Inclusion Week was a great opportunity for us to focus on inclusion," said Brittany Rihanek, Senior Manager of Content Marketing and Focus Area Leader for DEI Education & Culture Building. “Our aim was to spark conversations and foster understanding about how to be inclusive and the benefits of inclusion for everyone at Opus – now and in the future."

In late October we participated in the second annual Construction Inclusion Week. According to the event's website, “Construction Inclusion Week is the first effort to harness the collective power of general contractors, specialty contractors, subcontractors and suppliers. Our objective is to build awareness of the need to improve diversity and inclusion in the construction industry by providing content and resources."

“Construction Inclusion Week led to increased collaboration between companies inside the construction industry," said Beth Duyvejonck, Regional Vice President of Construction. In addition to her efforts as our Vendor Recruitment & Hiring Focus Area Leader, Beth also serves as our representative to the Concerned Builders, a coalition of Twin Cities general contractors addressing social justice awareness and the need to rebuild in Minneapolis. “Construction Inclusion Week was a topic of discussion in external peer groups, where normally competing contractors felt comfortable sharing their best practices in an effort to make improvements throughout the industry. Construction Inclusion Week and DEI initiatives as a whole have provided an opportunity for external peers to work side-by-side to co-create a more inclusive, diverse and equitable construction industry."

Educating Associates About Inclusion

“Taking time to talk about inclusion was really important to reinforce the welcoming and inclusive culture we want at Opus," Brittany said.

We set Choose Inclusion as a theme for the week to emphasize that inclusion is an action. As a multidisciplinary commercial real estate organization, we made this week inclusive for all associates. We had daily educational content to educate our associates on inclusive actions, building belonging; how community engagement can advance DEI in our organization, industry and community; and how to be inclusive in a hybrid, multi-office organization.

“Seeing the associate engagement in the opportunities and content presented throughout the week was impressive," said Kim Noonan, Chief Brand Experience Officer and DEI Executive Co-Sponsor. “CIW is only one week, but it's not meant to be contained to one week. I love how engaged our team was with the content and with each other, and how that week encouraged Team Opus to think even more about diversity, equity and inclusion within our culture and work environments, and inspired more conversations to continue into the future. “All of this will help us continue to improve as a team and industry, and to ultimately better support our clients, partners, and communities."

Impactfully Bookending the Week

We began the week with a kick-off presentation by Natalie Brown, Senior Consultant with FranklinCovey. She gave an inspiring, action-oriented keynote that truly set the tone for the week with over 100 associates listening live.

Then we closed out the week with a Vendor-Supplier Listening Session. Moderated by Nawal Noor of Noor Companies, we welcomed the following vendors and suppliers from the Twin Cities to share insights on supply chain diversity:  

The listening session had the dual purpose of educating associates about vendor/supplier diversity and actions we can take be more inclusive in our sourcing.

“The Listening Session was a highlight for me," said Jeff Walker, Director of Construction Operations. “It was very well moderated and thoughtfully assembled with an openly communicative panel of current, and hopefully future, subcontract partners. I appreciated learning perspectives that I had not thought about prior to listening to the panelists."


“I continue to have great conversations as a result of CIW, and with each of them I appreciate the opportunity to learn something new," Kim said.

We're looking forward to building on this great event for the third year in 2023.

Filed Under: DEI