Construction DEI Talks

A podcast to provide DEI knowledge and insights paired with actionable steps for construction industry leaders, employees, and stakeholders so they ca…
Jun 20th, 2023 | 38:56

S2 E10 - Empowering Women in Construction: Red Shoe Movement's Impactful Strategies with Mariela Dabbah

Welcome to the Construction DEI Talks podcast, a show dedicated to exploring diversity, equity, and inclusion within the construction industry. Join us as co-hosts Jorge Quezada, Stephanie Roldan, and Aby Combs engage in insightful conversations with industry experts, discussing ways to improve and strengthen our field. In this episode, Aby and Jorge have an inspiring conversation with Mariella Dabbah, Founder and CEO of the Red Shoe Movement—a global community of professionals committed to supporting women's career success through peer and leadership development.

Mariella shares her personal journey and emphasizes the importance of maintaining authenticity and individuality in professional settings. As she delves into the challenges faced by women in the corporate world, Mariella highlights the need for private conversations among women and the significance of defining personal success while fostering inclusivity within organizations. The Red Shoe Movement partners with larger organizations to facilitate career advancement for women and promotes a culture of inclusiveness. With seven guiding principles, the movement empowers individuals to design workplaces that are encouraging and welcoming for everyone.

Discover how companies, including those in male-dominated industries like construction, finance, and logistics, can collaborate with the Red Shoe Movement to support gender equality. Learn about the innovative pink hard hat initiative tailored specifically for the construction field. Mariella explains how the movement operates within organizations, encouraging simultaneous progress in both the advancement of women and the evolution of company culture. Men are invited to join the movement and contribute positively, fostering an environment of collaboration rather than guilt or shame.

Moreover, gain insights into the Red Shoe Movement's partnership with an artist dedicated to empowering women worldwide. Discover the transformative impact the movement has on team members at Granite Construction, and explore the three essential calls to action: be open and curious, embrace the value of learning from mistakes, and actively engage with the movement.

Don't miss this engaging episode of Construction DEI Talks as we explore the Red Shoe Movement's remarkable efforts in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion within the construction industry and beyond.


1. Construction DEI Talks
2. diversity, equity, and inclusion
3. construction industry
4. podcast
5. Red Shoe Movement
6. diversity in construction
7. leadership development
8. women's career success
9. workplace inclusivity
10. women in the corporate world
11. gender equality
12. career advancement for women
13. male-dominated industries
14. pink hard hat initiative
15. company culture
16. collaboration and progress
17. empowering women
18. global community
19. Granite Construction
20. peer and leadership development

Welcome to the Construction DEI Talks podcast, where we dive into diversity, equity, and inclusion as they relate to the construction industry. Co-hosts Jorge Quezada, Vice President of Inclusive Diversity at Granite Construction, Stephanie Roldan, Director of Lean Culture at Rosendin, and Aby Combs, Inclusive Diversity Business Partner at Granite Construction, bring new conversations with subject matter experts and discuss how we can make our industry better and stronger. Today, Aby and Jorge  speak with guest Mariella Dabbah, Founder and CEO of the Red Shoe Movement, a peer and leadership development company powered by a global community of professionals who support each other to guarantee women’s career success. Mariela is also a two time Ted International speaker, author of 6 books and a corporate consultant whose clients include Microsoft, Honeywell, Walmart and McDonalds. 

To begin the conversation, Mariela shares about a time she felt most different. She stresses the importance of drawing a line to determine the parts of your personality that you will not sacrifice in favor of “professionalism”. Women especially are constantly pressured to conform to these professional standards in place. As she continued working inside corporations, Mariela realized that women are not advancing as fast as men are, and there is a reason for that. Thus, there needed to be private conversations happening between women alone. She wrote the book for women specifically to better understand the importance of defining our own success and working with your organizations to become more inclusive. The Red Shoe Movement works with women in larger organizations to help them move to the next level and within organizations to help them become more inclusive champions. This is done in conjunction with constant external communications in which other people can join in on. 
There are seven principles which serve as the backbone of the Red Shoe Movement. They are all about pragmatic implementation of things that help people design a workplace that is encouraging and welcoming for everybody. The principles include a mutual mentoring approach  where people are able to teach and learn at the same time. Another principle includes empowering women rather than criticizing them. Keeping these principles in mind is what makes the program effective and stand out from the crowd.  Next, Mariella shares how companies can partner with the Red Shoe Movement. 

Red Shoe Movement is involved with many male-dominated industries like construction, finance and logistics. Not all industries are able to wear red shoes for practical reasons, so the movement works alongside them to find a statement that works best. Mariella shares about their pink hard hat initiative for companies in the construction field. Then, she explains how the movement actually works within an organization. Usually, companies begin the male and female program at the same time. Companies are advised that if they are really serious about advancing their women employees, they must also advance their company culture at the same time. Throughout the process, the men are not shamed or made to feel guilty. Rather, they are encouraged to join in on the efforts. Before wrapping up, Mariella shares about the artist Red Shoe Movement collaborated with to empower women worldwide. In closing, hear what team members Granite can expect as part of the Red Shoe Movement. She wraps up with 3 calls to action: be open and curious, know that it’s okay to make mistakes and get engaged in the movement. 


Learn more about Construction DEI Talks on LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.   

Learn more about podcast sponsors Granite Construction and Rosendin

Connect with Mariela Dabbah

Learn more about the Red Shoe Movement