Los Angeles project executive Kirstin Harper-Smith was recognized as a qualified nominee in the Los Angeles Times’ Inspirational Women Awards for her noteworthy success and accomplishments in LA County. Read more about Kirstin below and in her LA Times write-up here.
Kirstin is building the skyline, community, and future leaders of Los Angeles. While her project portfolio is extremely impressive—from her current work on the full renovation of UCLA’s historic Nimoy Theater to the project credited with initiating the revitalization of DTLA: LA Live! Nokia Theatre (now Microsoft Theater) and Plaza—just as notable and impressive are her leadership and mentorship.
Kirstin’s favorite part of the job is working with people in the industry—across all levels—fostering each other’s growth and shared passion for construction. Throughout her career, she has acted as a mentor, including leading a group of new engineers in discussions about their careers and the industry. Kirstin learns just as much from her mentees as they do from her, and she’s found this is integral for building strong support systems and leaders within the industry. She’s also an active member of WiOPS (Women in Construction Operations), an organization for women to learn from and support each other.
Kirstin is co-lead of Shawmut’s Regional Diversity Leadership Council (RDLC) for the West region, which supports the firm’s Diversity Leadership Council in its diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work. The RDLC brings Shawmut’s DEI work to a local level, and Kirstin acts as a resource and proponent in the Los Angeles office and construction community, planning and hosting panels and events, including quarterly learnings and discussions to drive actionable outcomes.
Kirstin prioritizes being involved in the community and supporting our next generation of leaders. She is involved with:
- Chrysalis: Kirstin provides job preparation, including resume review and interview prep, to help members find employment to overcome homelessness or poverty.
- Reading to Kids: Kirstin helps facilitate the reading club every other Saturday, ensuring both the volunteers and children (K-6) have everything they need.
- The Posse Foundation: Kirstin volunteers with the college access and youth leadership development program in its dynamic assessment program, helping to identify leadership skills in the potential Posse scholars.
- Boundless Brilliance: Kirstin assists in grant writing and coordinating events for the nonprofit, which is focused on closing the gender gap in STEM fields.
- The Building Community: Kirstin provides construction feasibility and costs for this organization committed to co-creating inspiring and sustainable housing with and for those experiencing homelessness.
- Heart2Heart Teens: Kirstin assisted in grant writing for Heart2Heart to help increase its resources and reach to offer leadership, mentorship, and life skills to at-risk youth.
Outside of the construction and academic worlds, Kirstin has been a yoga teacher for the nonprofit Heal One World, dedicated to providing the types of holistic preventative healthcare generally not covered by insurance, for the past four years.