President’s Corner: Supporting Women in STEM

Steve Lefton, PLA, AICP - Kimley-Horn President
Steve Lefton, PLA, AICP Kimley-Horn President

The gender gap in STEM isn’t new—but it’s become clearer than ever that we have a responsibility in this industry to be agents for change. In my 21-year tenure at Kimley-Horn, I have had female mentors who have taught me vital skills, colleagues who developed brilliant design solutions for projects I would never have considered, and leaders who have exemplified qualities that I now reflect on in my role at the firm. The need for the recruitment, retention, development, and promotion of women into leadership roles is also not new. However, today it is still an area for our professionals and leaders to focus on and improve—benefiting the industry, company cultures, and clients.

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Kimley-Horn Women in STEM

Kimley-Horn is committed to supporting women in STEM. Noticing a need to close the retention gap between men and women, we have fostered change through our Women’s Leadership Group and the Lasting Impact for Tomorrow (LIFT) initiative—which is our commitment to actively recruit, develop, and retain women and increase the number of women in leadership roles. As a result, the firm has committed more resources to help women succeed at every stage of their careers, offering tools for career development and paths for advancement to leadership roles. Maternity transition plans, reduced and alternative schedules, mentoring programs, and diversity trainings are a few of the ways we are working to improve in this area.

Here’s some of the changes our firm has seen since founding the Women’s Leadership Group in 2010:

  • The number of female college hires and the number of women at the associate level have nearly tripled
  • The number of women shareholders and the number of senior women have more than doubled
  • The percent of company stock owned by women has doubled
  • The number of women employees across Kimley-Horn has tripled

We have a long way to go as an industry, but I’m proud of the direction Kimley-Horn is heading. As a leader, colleague, friend, and father, I look forward to making even greater strides in our efforts to support women in the workplace.