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Go Magazine: 100 Women We Love, Class of 2021
June 25, 2021
Every June, GO Magazine compiles a select list of talented tastemakers, influencers and all-around inspirational women who are making their mark on the LGBTQ+ community and on the world at large. In this year’s class of “100 Women We Love” Balfour Beatty Vice President Michelle Reiner and Preconstruction Manager Kellie Jasso were among the honorees. Read more about their inspirational stories as members of the LGBTQ+ community in the workplace.
Go Magazine articles by Isabelle Lichtenstein, Robin Kish, Nikolas Toner, S.E. Jackson, and Dayna Troisi
When she began working with international infrastructure group Balfour Beatty in 2010, first as an intern and then as a project engineer, Kellie Jasso was reluctant to come out. While she had no doubt that the friends she’d made in her workplace would accept her authentic self, she wasn’t sure how it would be perceived on a broader level. However, she realized, “I couldn’t be the best version of myself at Balfour Beatty until I felt comfortable in my own skin.” She took the plunge when she brought a date to the office holiday party. “I was welcomed with encouraging words and excitement, a milestone that changed everything for me,” she tells GO. “Were there disapprovals? Maybe. But for the first time in years, I honestly stopped caring what others thought, which released so much pent-up anxiety and fears seemingly overnight.” Since then, she has “felt incredible support and encouragement from my colleagues,” and her career has thrived. She has worked through the ranks, earning a promotion in 2020 to Lead Preconstruction Manager for the education group in Texas, a role which requires her to work closely with local school districts. “The diversity of our markets has allowed me to challenge myself in different areas throughout my career and work with various clients, design partners, and end-users — all from different backgrounds and experiences,” she says. The company “has also fostered a people-first culture that celebrates our diverse mix of employees for their unique talents, perspectives, personalities, and identities,” she says. “And it truly shines through in the work we do.” —RK
For Michelle Reiner, Vice President at Balfour Beatty, the most rewarding part of her job “is being able to give back through mentorship and advocacy of all my teammates and creating safe workplace environments where diverse employees feel respected, accepted, and empowered to be the best version of themselves every day.” As one of the general contracting company’s first female executives, she uses her position to help create a safe, inclusive, and diverse working environment for her colleagues and employees. In addition to her professional accomplishments, she has helped create support networks at Balfour for women, Black, and LGBTQ+ employees. She serves on the company’s National Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategic Council. She is also the recipient of Balfour Beatty’s 2017 Legacy Award in California, which she was awarded for her contributions to the company and local community. In 2019, the San Diego Business Journal awarded her the Outstanding Women in Construction Award. Her success has motivated her to come out and advocate for others, something which — as one of the company’s first POC, female, and LGBTQ+ executives — she is in a key position to do. “It takes a lot of courage and work to break the mold of an industry set in its ways,” she tells GO, “but with the support of my colleagues I am able to leverage my leadership position to advocate and empower diverse individuals and follow through on my mission in creating a safe, acceptable environment where everyone’s voice matters.” —RK
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