My first role in the commercial construction industry (more than 34-years ago) was as a receptionist when estimating and project management roles were primarily held by men. Undeterred, I sought out resources to learn and understand drawings, management, and various roles in the construction industry while remaining authentically ‘Denise’. Each time I felt ready to progress to the next role, I placed my hands on the ladder, a foot on the rung and asked for more responsibility/opportunity. When discouraged, I tightened my grip, extended my bent knee, and pushed upward to find opportunities which would support me in my next position. I am grateful to those who believed in me and supported me as a woman in construction. I am a leader, a mentor, a mentee, and an advocate for women in construction/DEI. I am founding member of Chief (Chicago) - a private membership network focused on connecting and supporting women executive leaders and an active member of PWC (Professional Women in Construction) where I serve on the Mentorship and Programming Committees. These amazing organizations provide career and personal growth support, learning opportunities, community engagement and bring to the forefront the importance of DEI.
As a woman in construction, I have a voice and understand that each of us has a responsibility to not only promote DEI within our own circles, but to discuss and educate outside of our circles. Together, these efforts will make DEI the standard, rather than the exception.