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What was your greatest professional achievement or most notable project in the last 12 months? I was fortunate to be a part of a recent Shawmut build for Future Chefs in Boston. A non-profit started by Toni Elka in 2008, Future Chefs provides youth with mentorship as well as life skills and career development through culinary training. The space we built was bright and light-filled, featuring exposed MEPs and concrete floors juxtaposed with glazed brick and a high-end cookline. It was a beautiful and meaningful project to deliver, especially during a pandemic.
What are you most looking forward to post-pandemic? I am unsure what the post-pandemic period will look like, but I am looking forward to continuing to find new, innovative ways of working, sharing information, and executing on projects.
How have you adapted and changed in the last 12 months? Working remotely during a pandemic has driven an increase in proactive planning and thorough communication, as well as pushed me to be more self-sufficient. Previously, having co-workers and additional resources at the office allowed for quick and convenient correspondences between team members. We still have the same resources and team members available to us now, but I found there is a greater amount of thought and planning behind my day-to-day activities than before, which has resulted in greater execution.
What steps have you taken to ensure the continued success of your firm? As always, client and subcontractor relationships are pivotal to the success of an individual project and the success of our company as a whole. Thorough communication, quality execution, and financial management are some of the main areas that I focus my efforts in order to ensure we exceed project deliverables and provide opportunities for success to all project stakeholders.
Why should women consider a career in construction? Simply put, women can do anything! The construction industry is a field with very diverse roles and, as in anything, representation matters. By inserting ourselves [women] into traditionally male fields is part of how we begin to equalize and diversify the workforce.
Starting out in the construction business, who or what empowered you? As stated above – representation matters. When I started interning at Shawmut, I was still in college and had no idea what to expect. There were many women at Shawmut who were succeeding in their roles, had confidence when they spoke to clients or subcontractors, and really understood the technical aspects of construction. These women also shared the realities of being female in the construction industry and some of the hardships faced. These insights were inspiring, and these women served as living examples of how women can do anything, and specifically, how I could continue towards a career in construction.