wic week 2023
Wise Words from Women in Construction

The women of Wise Construction are essential contributors to the building blocks that make up our organization. Whether it’s building estimates, budgets, proposals, company culture or physical structures, our diverse perspectives and jobs are an integral piece of Wise’s success.

For this year’s annual Women in Construction week, Wise decided to recognize our women, and the women of the AEC industry, by empowering their voices. We asked a series of questions on our LinkedIn, encouraging them to share their wise words for the support of Women in Construction week! Here are their answers:

Question 1: What makes you most proud to work in the construction industry?

Donna MacPhail, Accounting: “In accounting, we may not actually renovate, but seeing the completed project gives everyone on the Wise Team a gratifying sense of accomplishment knowing you were part of the team that made this happen!! And as a woman in Construction, I feel empowered working side by side with our fellow women PMs to be able to accomplish anything in this field.”

Nicole Martin, Project Management: “I would have to say my favorite part of working in the construction field is that it’s never boring and there always seems to be new challenges which makes every day interesting to me. Things are constantly evolving and it’s not just the same mundane office job, which makes it exciting to come to work to possibly see or learn something new every day.” 

Maryann Laferriere, Accounting: “Being part of an industry and a company that is making a positive impact for our future and for generations to come. I am so proud of everyone at Wise Construction for their dedication and hard work that goes into every project.”

Kristen LeBlanc, Marketing: “What makes me most proud is the important projects that we’re building – projects in life sciences, and education, and healthcare. Inside these buildings that our company helps to create, important work is done that improves lives. In addition, I’m proud of the incredible people with whom I get to work!”

Ina Hajro, Project Management: “What makes me most proud to work in the construction industry is Construction is rarely boring. It is an environment and dynamic process where you are always learning and being challenged. Also, seeing the finished product is most gratifying.”

Question 2: What is your favorite career accomplishment?

Keara Gaffey, Business Development: “My favorite career accomplishment was winning the 2020 TOBY awards from BOMA in a global pandemic with no events that year.  As one of the hardest awards to win in the industry as an affiliate member, to win when you could not get together and the award ceremony was all online, was truly a once-in-a-lifetime achievement.”

Julia Kalaev, Project Management: “My biggest career achievement is completing my masters in structural engineering while serving full time in the army. This taught me how to prioritize my time, build great habits and stay focused on my goals.”

Amanda Mendonca, Accounting: “My favorite career accomplishment is being able to succeed in my career while still being able to watch my two girls grow up!”

Kerry Pavey, Project Management: “My favorite career accomplishment is learning how to be a mom while continuing to grow as a project manager. Women in construction take multi-tasking to another level!”

Jodi Tinkham, Accounting: “My favorite career accomplishment is being given the opportunity to be hired into a new role in the company.  I was able to bring my skills I have learned over the past 15 years in the industry and thrive in this role.  I received great support from my teams which helped me grow both personally and professionally.”

Alexandra Comiskey, Marketing: “My favorite career accomplishment thus far is being an integral part of revamping our company’s social media. I am proud of our follower growth the past year and a half and the ever so obvious increase in people/culture spotlights. Featuring the faces behind our projects is extremely important to me. I think our industry forgets sometimes that these beautiful, complex renovations, fit-outs or ground-ups, don’t just pop up out of nowhere with only photography to show for it. There is a team of real people making it all happen, and it has, and always will be, my goal to make them the spotlight of any piece of media that I publish.”

Jen Hanchett-Leon, Project Coordination: “Working with Wise to help create and adapt a new position as Project Planner. It’s been fun and an exciting challenge to help out on both the preconstruction and operations sides of things!”

Question 3: What is your advice for a woman pursuing a career in construction?

Lauren Abbondanzio, Accounting: “Don’t be intimidated. Construction can be considered a male dominated field, but more and more women are pursuing and exceling in this career.”

Makayla Larochelle, Marketing: “Focus on your mindset and attitude. Observing and working with a positive, driven, curious mindset will make all the difference. Possessing an outlook where you believe you can do and learn anything that is around you will prevent any fear or stereotype from getting in your way. As a young woman that entered the industry, maintaining a motivated attitude has driven me forward and crushed any lingering doubts I ever had about a construction career.”

Gabby Santos, Project Management: “My advice as a woman in construction is show your power, but never lose your humility. Evolve daily and believe that you are capable of leading and solving problems. Mastering a subject/task and knowing how to communicate is essential to conquer your space in this industry. Regardless of position or gender, it is essential to understand that we work as a team, we all have strengths and limitations, and we depend on each other for the success of a project.”

Jessica Hill, Accounting: “Don’t be afraid to ask questions”! Be a sponge, there are so many people in our industry who love what they do and are dying to pass on their knowledge. If you listen, observe, and work hard, you can be as successful as you want to be!”

Chanel Smitherman, Estimating: “I would encourage women to be as bold and boisterous as they naturally are. Be confident and don’t dim your light because you are afraid of judgement. Always ask questions, take every experience as an opportunity to learn something new.”

Stephanie Pappas, Project Management: “My advice for a woman pursuing a career in construction is to always ask questions and absorb as much as you can. Don’t be afraid to admit what you don’t know and use every experience as a learning one. It’s ok to make mistakes, that’s also how you learn.”

Laura Player, Marketing: “Don’t stay in your lane. Seek ways to add value beyond your role. Seek to learn all aspects of the business—not just those specific to your job function. And build a strong internal, and external, network with co-workers and clients. This will allow you to move beyond boundaries and advance yourself.”

Noreen McDonnell, Project Management: “My advice to a woman who is considering a career in Construction is to ask questions and don’t be afraid to speak up! I have learned a tremendous amount working with a diverse group of men and women with various backgrounds and experiences. It’s helpful to have different viewpoints to all collaborate to achieve the end goal. On frequent occasions when I’ve been hesitant to ask a question, and then do, many people will thank me for speaking up because they too needed clarification or had a similar question.”

Click on the linked questions above to share your wise words.