What do you do for work? Give us a few reasons why you love it.
I am a Project Manager for an Interior Design/Build firm. I like to think I play a part in building families’ dream homes! Homebuyers meet with our Designers to make personal selections on their new house and I manage the process from start to finish. I communicate with the Superintendents/Subcontractors out in the field, the designers in our Design Studio, and the entire administrative team to ensure that we can help every buyer turn their house into a home. I love that I get to work in such a creative environment, and that I’m learning from and I’m involved with every aspect of a new home build. It’s more than just selecting paint colors or furniture; it’s the electrical, countertops and finishes that dozens of specialized teams work together on to create the home a buyer has envisioned all of his or her life.
What attracted you to your company? What keeps you there?
There is a heart here that not many companies have. My company follows the classic corporate structure while staying true to its family-owned roots. There are employees here that have been with the company 25 years and others, like my boss, who created a department out of thin air which now serves as the backbone of its operation in only about 5 years with the company. There’s a healthy balance of tradition and opportunity that truly cultivates a positive working environment.
Your current company aside, name another company in any industry that you admire and explain why.
I think REI is doing incredible things these days. REI encourages its employees to follow their passions and provides them resources to do it. They promote a healthy and active lifestyle. Their vision is more holistic than profit-driven. They treat customers with respect and provide an excellent experience. They build eco-friendly and visually interesting storefronts. In my mind they’ve got the whole package!
How did you become good at what you do? What steps do you take to keep improving?
It’s simple, really. I’ve never given up. There have been so many times when I truly did not think I was capable, but after putting my head down and grinding for a couple of months, I learned that success is just a matter of rising to the occasion. I stepped into my role with little training or guidance, which ended up being to my benefit because I was forced to find the most efficient ways of getting my work done and immersing myself completely from the beginning. While it was sometimes overwhelming, the experience taught me that sometimes it’s better to cannonball into the pool before testing the water with your toe.
In your opinion, what is wrong with the corporate world and how would you fix it?
The biggest flaw in the corporate world is its reduction of workers to cogs in a wheel. While it’s easy to blame the size and structure of corporate companies for this, I think the real root of the problem is the “That’s not my job” mentality. This idea breaks down communication between people and departments, hinders teamwork, and ultimately creates the need for even more structure – a vicious cycle. If more people were willing to take on responsibility outside of their job descriptions in the name of bettering their company, I think employees would ultimately feel more valued in their roles and create a more productive and positive work environment. This is exactly the reason why working for a startup is so attractive – employees inherently feel they have the power to make an impact. However, on a larger, corporate scale the true solution is ownership combined with the decision to be a leader.
What are your priorities outside work? What do you care about?
My priorities outside of work all center around adventure. My favorite things to do are travel and explore, even if it’s just to check out a new museum or hiking trail I’ve never been on. I absolutely love the outdoors so I’m drawn to anything that gets me outside and moving with the people (or dogs) I love! My degree is in Sociology so I’ve also always had a heart for getting involved in the community, and I currently am involved with Big Brothers, Big Sisters and spend a good chunk of time with my awesome Little Sister.
How do you want the world to be different because you lived in it?
I would love to have the kind influence it takes to change the world! But since I’m still just a few steps away from that (kidding), I’ll answer this in terms of my world: I want the people around me to realize their capability to go out and DO. I think fear keeps people from getting themselves out of stagnant jobs, lives or relationships when, at the end of the day, at little embarrassment or failure isn’t going to kill you – it’s just going to make you better. Don’t take yourself too seriously and think that failure isn’t an option, because progress is really only possible if falling down is a threat.