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Developing Gender Equity in Technical and Skilled Trade Fields

Beth Duyvejonck, Regional VP of Construction at Opus Design Build, L.L.C., to keynote 2023 Kate Dunwoody event

As a woman working in the construction industry, Beth Duyvejonck knows what it’s like to work in a field that feels unbalanced. It was this experience that led her to delve more deeply into the issue for her master’s degree thesis.

An advocate for gender equity, Duyvejonck now shares her thesis, “’One of the Guys’: Women Leaders and Tokenism in Male-Dominated Environments” to help others in the industry disrupt the cycle of tokenism and become advocates for advancing women as leaders.

Duyvejonck, a Regional Vice President of Construction for Opus Design Build, L.L.C., will share her thesis findings as the keynote speaker at this year’s Kate Dunwoody Society Luncheon “Elevate & Educate: Closing the Opportunity Gaps” on Wednesday, Nov. 15.

“A Conversation about gender, barriers to leadership, bias and advocacy,” will her cover her research findings along with recommendations for driving organizational change.

The annual luncheon will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Metropolitan Ballroom and Clubroom in Golden Valley. Click here to register for the event.  

About Beth Duyvejonck

Duyvejonck earned a degree in Construction Engineering from Iowa State University in 1997 and began her career at Opus. Over the course of more than two decades, she became the most tenured female project manager in firm history and in 2020 was promoted to Regional Vice President of Construction leading a team of nearly 30 people in Minneapolis and Des Moines. All the while, Duyvejonck has been a consistent force for expanding opportunities for women at Opus and beyond, promoting the valuable perspective they bring to construction teams.

“Women can thrive in collaborative environments, and construction projects and project teams are extremely collaborative,” Beth said in a 2019 interview. “Increasing the diversity of our project teams will increase our potential for creativity and ultimately provide for better value to our clients.”

As Regional Vice President, she provides leadership to a team of project managers working on projects across multiple sectors, including office, industrial, institutional, retail and residential. Duyvejonck’s responsibilities also include company strategic planning, resource allocation and related activities.

She holds a Master of Arts in organizational leadership from St. Catherine University and is a member of the Design-Build Institute of America, the Associated General Contractors of Minnesota and the United States Green Building Council.

Duyvejonck mentors women in both construction and development roles at Opus and co-founded the Opus Women’s Network, which brings together women for professional encouragement and camaraderie. She is also the focus area leader for supplier diversity at Opus, in addition to being a Diversity Equity Inclusion (DEI) Champion.

She has served on the Engineering Advisory Board at the University of St. Thomas since 2020 and previously served 11 years on Iowa State University’s Construction Engineering Industry Advisory Council, advising on curriculum and industry trends.

In addition to influencing women directly through her leadership and mentorship, and indirectly through education and industry committees, Duyvejonck often presents on the topic of gender equity in construction. She was among a distinguished panel of industry thought leaders discussing DEI-related issues in engineering and construction at the Construction Institute Summit in St. Louis.

About the Kate Dunwoody Society Luncheon

Held annually, this special fundraising event honors and celebrates women pursuing technical and skilled-trade fields. The Kate Dunwoody Society works to close gaps in awareness, access, retention, and advancement by bringing more women into the high-paying, high-demand career fields Dunwoody trains for. The event raises scholarship dollars to help women students at Dunwoody overcome financial barriers.