As part of our Women in Construction Week celebration and in honor of Women’s History Month, seven Shawmut team members were featured in Women in Construction Spotlights by New England Real Estate Journal and New York Real Estate Journal. The spotlights are dedicated to women and their accomplishments in the AEC industry, showcasing their career path, success, and leadership. From how the AEC industry can recruit more women to insights into their proudest professional achievements, read what our Shawmut team members said below.
Puja Doni, estimating manager – New York
What was a pivotal point in your career? A pivotal point in my career was actually when I decided to take a step back from it and focus on my family. Being able to take that time to focus on my children allowed me to come back with a rejuvenated focus on my career. Having the ability to work from home helped with my transition and prior to the pandemic, Shawmut’s flex program gave me that opportunity. Having flexibility and not having to commute enabled me to effectively balance both work and home commitments. Now as a mother, I am at the best point in my career. Read Puja’s full Q&A here.
Sarah Irving, senior project manager – Providence
What tips or advice would you offer to other women who are considering entering the construction industry? Entering the construction industry can feel like you are breaking into the boys club, but don’t let that intimidate you. While there are fewer women in this industry, the women that are here are strong, supportive, and make sure the lack of numbers does not equal a lack of respect and share of voice. It can also feel that some workers onsite might brush you aside as a young woman, but if you ask questions and show an interest in learning from their expertise, they will teach you. Read Sarah’s full Q&A here.
Lauren Kennedy, project manager – New York
In the past year, what project or accomplishment are you most proud of? I’m most proud of Joji, the sushi restaurant in One Vanderbilt—the tallest office tower in Midtown Manhattan. This is the third project I’ve worked on in the building, and we overcame logistical challenges to turn the project over early. For example, many of the finished materials were imported from Japan, which required early release of materials to mitigate supply chain challenges and extensive coordination to ensure installation of fragile elements. In the end, the space came out amazing, and the full team celebrated with an omakase experience. Read Lauren’s full Q&A here.
Mary Mahany, project executive – New York
How can AEC companies recruit more women? In order to inspire the next generation to join the AEC industry, we need to reach girls starting in elementary school and through high school. Waiting until college is too late to get them into studies for careers in architect and engineering. Companies need to look for opportunities, such as through parent career days, to reach, educate, and mentor young girls. For construction, where technical degrees aren’t always required, don’t place a premium on experience. Some of the best people I’ve worked with came from non-traditional backgrounds. Construction work can be taught, so value those who have the right skills. Read Mary’s full Q&A here.
Regina Olivieri, director of permitting – Boston
What was your greatest professional achievement or most notable project in the last 12 months? Receiving an award from the city of Boston for my exceptional dedication and contribution to the construction industry was a highlight when reflecting on the past year. As someone who did not grow up around the construction industry–or initially go to school for construction management–I was grateful to be recognized. Receiving this honor and being acknowledged by the mayor made me realize that all of my hard work over the past 15 years has paid off. Read Regina’s full Q&A here.
Carly Press, assistant project manager – New York
Which professional associations or organizations would you recommend to women who are starting out in the AEC industry? For women just starting out in the AEC industry, I recommend getting involved in a program like the ACE Mentor program and looking internally within your organization for opportunities. I’ve personally participated as a mentor in the ACE Mentor Program and joined Shawmut’s Regional Diversity Leadership Council. Both of these organizations have enabled me to interact with people outside of my usual professional circle and have allowed me to bring my full, true self to work. Read Carly’s full Q&A here.
Yordanos Tesfaye, assistant superintendent – Boston
How are you involved in community organizations and/or charities? I have been involved in the ACE Mentor Program of Greater Boston since 2016, which introduces high school students to careers in architecture, engineering, and construction management. I first joined as a high school student interested in a potential career in the industry and have been privileged to return to the organization now as board member and alumni committee co-chair. It’s extremely rewarding to not only give back to an organization that helped me get my start in my career, but also helps to introduce the next generation to a career in the ACE fields. Read Yordanos’ full Q&A here.