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Recognizing 100 CEOs & C-level Executives
Rebecca Cornatzer S. M. Wilson & Co

Rebecca Cornatzer

Interim President & CHRO

S. M. Wilson & Co.

Location: St. Louis, MO

Founded: 1921

Industry: Construction

In a typically male-dominated industry, Rebecca Cornatzer has helped open doors for females in the construction industry. S.M. Wilson & Co., a 100 percent employee-owned construction management company, saw a need to prioritize and invest in diversified talent. With a looming construction trade worker shortage and the desire to position the firm for future success, it was essential to strengthen recruitment efforts to find diverse talent for the firm’s progressive culture.

Cornatzer was brought to the company to focus on people, particularly strategic recruitment, retention and development initiatives. “During the time Cornatzer has been with S.M. Wilson, she has created a field career path to attract and provide increased opportunities to bring individuals with minimal experience into the company and develop their talents and skills through a mentoring program, focused on technical abilities as well as interpersonal skills,” said her colleagues. “She also created Wilson Women to bring together the women in our company for relationship building, community service, mentorship, networking and learning opportunities.”

S.M. Wilson & Co. has built a reputation over 100+ years as a design/build, construction management and general contracting firm that puts people first. Beyond the build, the company is committed to adding great value and building client partnerships that are substantial and strong.

As the chief human resources officer, Cornatzer has evaluated benefit offerings and identified additional unique benefits to offer to employees such as paid parental leave for all employees, a wellness room available for use by all employees, a school loan match program and a college savings match program. Also during her time, S.M. Wilson began providing paid fall and winter breaks to all employees, holidays, paid time off and sick leave.

“With Cornatzer in place, the firm continues to grow its existing talent by investing in employee growth/development in social and emotional needs,” said her staff. “Since joining the firm in May 2017, she has significantly shaped the firm’s workplace, especially for women.” As a result, the company has been selected three years in a row as an honoree by the Women’s Foundation of Greater St. Louis’ Women in the Workplace.

“I work with others that are amazingly talented and that have a purview of other parts of the business, so it is important to me to connect with them and get their data points in order to further equip myself with understanding of problems,” said Cornatzer. “It is important to have alignment at the highest executive leadership level on when to have informed but independent decision making and when to have informed but collaborative decision making.”

As a champion for women in the construction industry and an award-winning human resources officer, Cornatzer has added titan to her list of accolades.

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Did you know?

My superpower is having high emotional intelligence in combination with empathetic leadership skills so that I am aware of and able to manage my own emotions and behaviors while being able to understand the feelings and needs of others. I have an understanding that my perspectives and beliefs don’t discount or override the perspectives and beliefs of others.


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