Spotlight – Beneco Women in Construction

Beneco Women in Construction
Beneco Women in Construction

Beneco is pleased to announce that we are a proud sponsor of Construction Business Owner Magazine’sOutstanding Women in Construction” issue. This special edition recognizes some of construction’s best, based on nominations that were submitted from across the country. To be able to support this amazing group of women is one thing, but we also want to spotlight a couple of the women in the Beneco universe that make it easy to work with such a great organization.

Kristy Bryson CEO at BenecoKristy Bryson, CEO, Beneco women in construction

Kristy Bryson serves as Beneco’s Chief Executive Officer and Prevailing Wage National Practice Leader for FuturePlan, by Ascensus. In her role, Kristy oversees operations, account management, and sales for Beneco and leads Daily Recordkeeping for FuturePlan. Kristy also works with strategic partners developing solutions designed to meet the business needs of mutual clients.

We begin Kristy’s journey talking about her job at Anheuser Busch headquarters. She jokes that “my professional life went from beer to banking.” Kristy states that, at the time, the beer and alcohol beverage industry was heavily male-dominated. But she often found herself working alongside executive leadership, which helped her become even more confident in her role. “I learned to work with everyone on the team and found that I was not intimidated to find my place at the table as the only woman. I definitely believe that  the confidence that I developed an Anheuser Busch carried into the rest of my career.”

From there, she stepped into the world of financial services with a role at JP Morgan as a licensed banker. Through JP Morgan, she was able to obtain her FINRA Series 6, 63, and Life and Health licenses. This experience set Kristy up for success with JP Morgan’s Private bank and later at Lincoln Financial. “I really think my passion for client service and wealth management began at Lincoln Financial, where I served as a Retirement Advisor.”

Kristy joined Beneco as an Account Manager serving contractor clients and providing business solutions relating to their prevailing wage, retirement, and benefits needs. When she started, she felt that she needed to prove herself to the CEO and drew upon the confidence she developed at Anheuser Busch to remind her that she could sit confidently at the table or construction site with anyone. Kristy did this with great success and was promoted to Vice President of Service and Operations and eventually to CEO of Beneco in 2018.

As Beneco’s CEO, Kristy has become a supporter of many regional construction associations across the US. Because of her known work with Beneco, she has been invited to speak at numerous construction events and association board meetings on the topics of prevailing wage and the recently passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Kristy is very involved with the construction industry and sees herself and the rest of Beneco’s employees as business partners to their clients. “We think it’s important to consult with many of them face-to-face when possible. In person, we can provide them with the business strategies and benefits they need to help them attract and retain employees in a time where construction employment numbers are suffering.” Kristy adds, “To be a true partner, I think it’s important for the Beneco team to build relationships beyond business transactions, when possible, by supporting our clients’ communities through charity events and local associations.”

Kristy also feels strongly about being an advocate for Beneco’s clients when they need assistance. In one instance, a client was investigated for a series of violations by the Department of Industrial Relations. Although a painstaking task, Kristy and the Beneco team researched and gathered the documentation needed as evidence to prove the client’s innocence, and the Department found them not guilty of all offenses.

Kristy has seen some positive changes in the construction sector and has encouraged many women and other minorities to explore opportunities in the construction industry. Beneco itself is a culturally diverse business with many women leaders. She explains ” When mentoring younger women, I always remind them that they have a voice, to put themselves out there, and take advantage of any opportunities available.” When speaking on how she deals with adversity in her career — “I remind myself to lean into my passion for helping the underserved community of Prevailing Wage contractors, and remember that Beneco truly makes a difference in people’s lives and their financial futures.” Kristy feels that it always helps to maintain an optimistic view of life in general and believes having a positive outlook has helped her find possibilities instead of closed doors.

And to the women looking to find their place in the construction industry, Kristy tells them to “Pull on your steel-toed boots and go for it – the industry has a lot to offer if you don’t allow yourself to be intimmidated!”

Heather Brough - Brough ConstructionHeather Brough, Owner, Brough Construction

Some people take a while to find their life’s career paths. But some people, like Heather Brough, were almost born into it. Heather has been working directly with the construction industry for 18 years but grew up as the daughter of a general engineering contractor. “I feel like I’ve been associated with the industry my entire life!” But it took shape for her professionally when she and her husband opened up Brough Construction in 2004.

When asked what drew her back into the industry and what she finds most rewarding about it, Heather says that she enjoys working with the people that make up the construction industry. “There are some amazingly hard-working, intelligent, and yet humble individuals from company owners all the way down the line to laborers in the trenches.”

Although the construction sector is headed toward becoming more inclusive, it still comes with challenges when you’re a woman working in a male-dominated field. Heather says she has found herself to be uncomfortable in some situations where she stands out as the only female in an all-male setting. “It can be intimidating, but I tell myself that I am where I am because I know what I know. It’s important to push through fear and insecurity in life and show up with all you have to give.” Even with having to work through intimidating situations at times, Heather believes construction to be a career path worth encouraging other women to step into, especially since, during her years of experience, she has seen more women become involved in the industry — “It’s wonderful to see!”

When asking the Beneco team which client would be a good subject for our spotlight, Heather was seen as the easy fit. After asking her what tips or words of encouragement could be offered to young women interested in a career in construction, it became clear that Heather is not only one of those clients that can make a work day easier, but is a strong woman who has clearly found her way to be successful in a male-dominated industry. “We as women have a distinct advantage because we have an innate capacity to nurture. Some women don’t tap into that side of themselves for fear it will make them look weak. I see women trying to be too aggressive in this industry and finding some level of frustration. My encouragement would be to use every facet of themselves with which to be the best they can be and build up others around them. Look at your feminine side as your strength. Intentionally tap into how you can stand out with these feminine qualities, and even better, learn how you can help your team grow using these uniquely feminine gifts. To succeed in your career, look at yourself on a very deep personal level. What are your strengths? What have people told you about yourself? Where have others pointed out areas for growth? Our weaknesses once explored and properly put in perspective, often propel us toward achieving great success. We can excel as minorities in a male-majority industry, and in the process, we can be bold and courageous to help others around us excel beyond their potential. It takes a good balance of courage, strength, and humility.”

Well said Heather — thank you!