Describe your current role/what kinds of things you do in a day: My role includes connecting our members to contractors and contractors to members, enforcing our local’s jurisdiction and contract, negotiating contracts, ensuring a safe and productive workplace and workforce, organizing (finding new members) and understanding the work and the membership to the point where I can perform all of my duties successfully.
Where do you see yourself in your career in the future? In the future, I’d like to continue to grow in my role as a leader in my local area and as a part of empowHER. I’d like to be a part of impacting an increase in the number of women in the industry, and especially in the OPCMIA.
Which union are you in and what is the best part of being in a union? OPCMIA Local 599, The best aspect of being a part of the Union is having consistent representation and benefits no matter where I work, meaning at whatever contractor or wherever in the country I go.
Why did you choose a career in construction? I was put on a crew to pay for school. I never thought this would turn into a career. The more I got into it and learned about my craft, the more I loved it and wanted to continue and grow within the industry.
What is your favorite aspect of your career? The pride I feel for the work that I’ve done is huge. The camaraderie is also an incredible benefit – some of the people I know from work are my best friends and they will always be so important to me in my life.
What is your most memorable moment working in construction? Winning my election for Business Agent is probably my best memory and greatest accomplishment so far, as I won a landslide election based on my members having respect and appreciation for me. It was the best feeling ever.
What has been your favorite project that you’ve worked on? Mitchell International Airport runways. To this day, I still get to take off and land on the runway I built.
What is the biggest challenge of being a woman working in construction? I would say the biggest challenges are in your mind. Some women (and men) think that they’re underqualified or out of place, when in fact that’s not true at all.
What advice would you give to a woman starting her apprenticeship? Keep your body in good shape, focus on becoming a quality craftsperson, find a mentor, learn little bits from anyone that you can and appreciate what you’re learning by being diligent about correcting things you can correct and by contributing what you can when you can – even if that means taking note of what not to do. Don’t say no to trying new things and learning new things. Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone because the best things come from outside of your comfort zones and growth happens outside of your comfort zone!
What else should someone to know about this career path? Be a friend to other women in the industry with whom you cross paths. They can turn out to be your best allies and some of the most powerful connections you will develop.