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Mason Works to Grow Opportunities for Employees and Trade Partners as McCarthy’s First Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

by: Julie Devine
Kamecia Mason
Kamecia Mason
McCarthy Holdings, Inc., appointed Kamecia Mason as their first Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in January 2021.

“I’m incredibly proud to be a partner in an organization where our leadership recognizes that this work is a business imperative and not a program,” Mason said.

In her new role based in Dallas, Mason focuses on evolving the firm’s national internal and external strategy and implementation, coordinating with McCarthy’s regional diversity directors.

Mason joined McCarthy Building Companies in 2019 as Director of Diversity and Community Outreach for the firm’s Southern Region, where she established a new Capacity Building Program. The 10-month curriculum optimizes the core business skills of Minority Business Enterprise program participants so they can grow their companies and work on larger projects. The first class of 32 minority- and women-owned business partners graduated in October 2020.

Throughout her career, Mason has been recognized for her commitment to diversity and leadership. She was named to the 2016 “40 under 40” list by the Dallas Business Journal, 2015 Top 50 Black Professionals and Entrepreneurs by D-Mars Magazine, 2014 Luna Women’s Business Advocate of the Year by the Regional Hispanic Contractors Association, and 2013 Advocate of the Year by the Dallas-Fort Worth Minority Supplier Development Council.

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She earned a bachelor’s degree in communications and criminal justice from the University of Arkansas at Monticello, Arkansas, and holds Certified Diversity Executive credentials from the Institute for Diversity.

In her interview with Texas Contractor, Mason shares the lessons she learned throughout her own career and how the Capacity Building Program helps others grow their capabilities.

Why did you choose a career in construction?
Honestly, it was listening to good advice at the right time. Someone I admired at church was an attorney at Carter & Burgess (now Jacobs). She convinced me that my talents could be better utilized in the architecture/engineering/construction (A/E/C) industry. After spending several years in A/E, I made the jump to construction, which is the right place for me. I love seeing the work we put in place. We don’t just build buildings – we build the places where kids learn to dream, healthcare professionals save lives, art comes to life, and more.

Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
I have a tribe, and I highly encourage young professionals to develop the same. Individuals in my familial, personal, and professional circles continuously influence me and help me achieve my goals. Some of them already achieved quite a bit more than me, and they push me to keep my eye on what’s next. Others are right where I am, and we tell each other that the ocean isn’t that deep; we aren’t going to drown. Family and personal connections serve as level setters. They call me to the carpet and don’t accept anything less than my best. It’s a wrap-around system that pushes me and gives me rest right when I need it. Usually, the tribe changes as you evolve as a person and a professional, and you have to get comfortable with that.

What’s the best advice you’ve received?
The message that always stuck came from a mentor in my early 20s: “You’re going to fall down. Just make sure you have a brass ass.” Often, we’re so afraid of failure or conflict that we don’t take time to appreciate the lessons that come from disappointment, the understanding that results from engaging in difficult conversations, and the resiliency built by getting back up and moving forward.

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What professional achievement makes you proudest?
Some time ago, I co-developed a high school mentoring program that focused on getting at-risk youth interested in the construction field. About three years later, one of the kids who previously had zero interest in college called to tell me he was a semester away from graduating with a degree in Construction Science and a job offer. Moments like that make me realize my work is on the right track.

What are the goals of McCarthy’s Capacity Building Program?
The training curriculum is an interactive series that focuses on optimizing core business skills. The program also deepens relationships with our team and positions firms to better participate in our procurement opportunities. Ultimately, the goal is to get participants to a place where they can be more competitive and deliver best value with McCarthy and other construction managers, or direct to owners and other clients.

How is the program structured?
Experienced McCarthy leaders teach the courses, with some guest presenters. The business owners and their appropriate staff attend each class. Every session combines instructional segments with practical application or hands-on learning. Because a small business owner’s time is an exceptionally valuable resource, we want to make sure that when a class ends there’s something that can be implemented relatively quickly.

What are the benefits of the program?
For McCarthy, the program expands our pool of trade partners. We were able to award projects to multiple participants. While going through the program isn’t a guarantee of contracts, those participants really capitalized on deepening their relationships with our preconstruction team and submitted bids that clearly demonstrated an understanding of the scope and best value.

For participants, because the program covers core areas such as business planning, marketing, and business development, they’re able to incorporate new best practices into their toolkits.

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What are your future plans for the program?
The program is currently centered in McCarthy’s Southern Region, which includes Dallas, Atlanta, and Houston, but we plan to expand. We look forward to bringing new firms onboard this year and scaling the program over the next three years.

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