Title: Operations Manager
Education: Bachelor's degree in electrical and electronics engineering
Professional Credentials/Accreditations: FMI Leadership Institute Certification and LEED AP BD+C
Achievements/Awards: Graduated Rosendin's Leadership Academy, Rosendin Strategic Planning Team Lead, Member of Rosendin's Operational Excellence Team, Featured in Medium online magazine – Women in STEM during COVID-19, Featured on EC&M On Air podcast for Women in Contracting and Engineering, Featured in Women in Construction Roundtable Podcast for 2023 National Women In Construction Week
What led you to a career in technology?
Growing up, I always loved math and science. When I eventually began joining my electrician father on house calls and small commercial renovations, I knew construction was the place for me.
What motivates you to go above and beyond in your current position?
I'm big on positive feedback, appreciation, and mentorship. Without it, I would never have gotten to where I am today. Likewise, when I can see the positive impact I can have on those I work with and those I work for, I get an intense feeling of satisfaction. I almost feel obligated to myself to go further - to spread my reach wider and maybe give just a little boost to someone else that may not have otherwise received it.
What role does sustainability play in your life both personally and professionally?
As a mother, I try to set good examples and show my children that being a good steward of the environment isn't always easy, but it's the right thing to do. There is always room for improvement, and there are times when I simply have to push the easy button, but we do our best to stay on track. We have one electric car, which my husband uses for commuting as he has a longer drive, and we are on a waiting list for an electric SUV for me! We have solar on our roof, and we are planning a backyard remodel geared towards a more drought-tolerant landscape. We avoid single-use materials, and I encourage my children to donate old toys, clothes, and books while taking in hand-me-downs for ourselves, as well.
From a professional standpoint, I am enthusiastic about the push toward more green energy applications in the construction projects we build. It's rare to see a new project without some amount of planned solar or electric vehicle charging. The technology in this arena keeps getting better and better. It's exciting to be part of the team taking some of these new ideas and making them a reality.
What is the most fascinating lesson you have learned while working with technology?
You don't have to be a tech geek to be able to make an impact here. I'm never the smartest person in the room at work, and I sometimes still have to ask for help with our "smart TV" at home, yet here I am. I'm told that I "just get people." I think I have good instincts in knowing where to look, who to consult, what to ask, and how to ask it to get to the root of issues. I seek creative solutions and work to get everyone on the same page together to execute those solutions as efficiently as possible.
What is unique about you personally?
Honestly, I'm a typical person, but if I have to highlight something, I enjoy running. While I've completed more half marathons than I can count, I've never actually participated in a full marathon race though. I also enjoy volunteering in my kids' classrooms, I am a first-time Cookie Manager for my daughter's Girl Scout Troop, and lastly, I’m a self-proclaimed goof ball.
“I've recently become aware of an added 'B' in DEI, and it's my favorite one: diversity, equality, inclusion and belonging.”
What is unique about you professionally?
Well… I'm a woman business unit leader in the construction industry, and I'm unapologetically me. I've thrown baby showers on job sites, handed out boxes of cookies to thank our crews and I have hand-written thank you notes to staff and teammates. But you know what? My teams are generally happy, engaged, and supportive of each other. Yes, we have bad days with bad news, too, but knowing that we have each other to rely on, we get through those days just a bit easier.
What is your most admirable quality?
I'm told I have a knack for seeing things from other's perspectives, and I’m proud that I naturally take those perspectives into account when formulating responses and actions. In this way, I can usually provide excellent service and develop lasting relationships.
Why is diversity, equality, and inclusion necessary for this industry?
Technology's core is constantly evolving, pushing the envelope, and improving the status quo. We can't do that without challenging each other and asking, "what if…?". Diverse teams inherently come from different backgrounds and bring forth ideas and innovation from those different points of view. Diverse teams also tend to focus more on facts and analyze them more carefully, because not everyone initially sees through the same lens. All of which can lead to better innovation overall. Because diverse teams tend to have these different backgrounds/points of view from the outset, they may initially have to work harder to listen and communicate with each other; this can lead to more effective communication processes and a stronger foundation of trust in the long run.
Additionally, I've recently become aware of an added “B” in DEI, and it's my favorite one: diversity, equality, inclusion and belonging. Creating a culture of belonging is truly the pinnacle. It's not simply a numbers game, but genuinely creating a place where all people feel and know that they belong, are appreciated and needed. I have witnessed in my circle that if people truly feel they belong and are valued, there is no limit to what they will do to ensure the success of their team, their company, and their people.
Lastly, aside from all the benefits noted above, our recruiting efforts demand DEIB cultures! The most common questions I get asked at career fairs, and project bid interviews are centered around what our culture is like and what sort of DEIB programs we have and support. I have found that our company's DEIB culture is often more important than monetary compensation when candidates are considering job offers and career paths.
What aspect of the industry has the most potential for growth, and how can we accelerate that?
Where does the industry need the most improvement, and what can we learn from the current shortcomings? Energy sustainability. The demand for computing power and AI is growing rapidly, and while technological advances are being made to use power (and water) more efficiently, the net demand will still grow.
When you imagine the future technology, what does it look like?
Lots of Augmented Reality. If there's one thing we learned during the pandemic, it's that people yearn for connection with each other – even if it's virtual. I see the application of augmented reality growing far and wide, bringing people who may be thousands of miles apart closer than ever.
What advice do you have for women and other minorities who are currently working in the industry but don't necessarily feel like they belong?
Be intentional about seeking out mentors and supporters – even if you start with only one person. Mentors and supporters can be ANYONE who makes you feel comfortable and drives you to be better; they don't have to be senior leaders or VPs. And if you can't find anyone to fit the role for you, become that person for someone else - grow the culture on your own. Be the person who makes others feel they belong and see how far it can go.
What advice do you have for young girls who may be interested in a future career in technology?
Dive in, be yourself, and set healthy boundaries. If you're truly passionate about something, that is all that should matter. Don't become a false version of yourself just because you think more people will accept you. That’s 's a race toward happiness where the finish line keeps getting pushed out. You can't be your best self (at work or at home), if you aren't being your true self in the first place. Go ahead, raise your point in the meeting, ask the question, submit your claim for that promotion, but also make time to take that trip with your friends, attend your kid's Halloween parade at school, or keep up with that Tuesday night TV ritual if that's what is important to you.