Congratulations to Jennifer Ferreira, Sarah Cormier, Nicole Kirouac, and Colby Cavanagh for being spotlighted in the 2023 NEREJ Women in Construction issue. Each woman offered great advice to other women who are considering entering the construction industry. Read their responses below.
Q1: What tips/advice would you offer to other women who are considering entering the construction industry?
JEN FERREIRA NCIDQ, Director of Interiors: My advice to anyone considering entering the construction industry is that it’s okay to not have all the answers. It’s important to be knowledgeable, confident, and prepared when meeting with clients, contractors, or teammates. But even with the most thorough preparation and planning, questions will arise that we simply do not have the answers to. Our natural urge to provide immediate solutions can be stressful but taking a moment to evaluate the issue and giving a simple response such as: “Let me check on that and get back to you” provides the opportunity to assess the situation and confidently craft an appropriate and successful response.
SARAH CORMIER, Project Manager: Be authentic. Being true to yourself is the best way to be comfortable and confident in any situation. Know that you have the skills to do your job. If you have questions, ask them. Keep learning and evolving, and never doubt that you can accomplish any task you put your mind to. Seek out a mentor and lean on them. Never be afraid to speak up and let your voice be heard. With a strong support system and the proper mindset, you will flourish.
COLBY CAVANAGH AIA , Architect: Make creating a professional support network a priority. Just like in your personal life, having a number of trusted individuals you can reach out to will not only help your career but also your sanity. Whether it be coworkers or connections you make through various projects, having colleagues you can consult for advice, support, and perspective not only helps you learn and grow, but also makes the job much more enjoyable. I have found the personal relationships and trust I’ve built with engineers, contractors, and clients to be invaluable in my journey as an architect.
Q2: What was your greatest professional achievement or most notable project in the last 12 months?
NICOLE KIROUAC AIA, Architect: One of my most notable projects in the past year was a community behavioral health clinic. As architects, we always strive to improve the experience of the end user through strategic, thoughtful design. In a behavior health setting, design has a direct impact on the success of each individual therapy session. It was interesting to speak with the different clinicians and to hear firsthand their perspectives on how certain design elements affected patients, both positively and negatively. Together, we created a soothing, therapeutic atmosphere at the clinic that will have a positive impact on the community for years to come.