Years with Mortenson: 2
Industry Tenure: 6
Degree: BA, Art & Design
Tell us more about your background/experience/education. What decision or path led you to the construction industry/Mortenson?
I fell in love with creating art on a computer in high school and went on to obtain my degree in Art & Design from Columbia College Chicago.
While I had big plans of entering the advertising industry (a la Mad Men) – there were not a lot of opportunities in the market. After spending some time in customer service and social media, I really wanted to take a leap back into a graphic design role and put my hard-earned degree to use.
My foot in the door to the A/E/C industry came in the form of a marketing/graphic design position at a civil engineering firm where I realized this was a fascinating industry with lots of opportunity to grow my skillset. After a few years at this firm and with a national general contractor, Mortenson brought me on as a temporary employee through a placement agency. My time with Mortenson as a temp flew by and I enjoyed the new challenges, being back with a team, getting to work on proposals from all different markets, and challenging myself as a designer.
I was lucky enough that Mortenson decided to keep me on full-time, and here I am two years later – still learning and challenging myself and enjoying every moment of it.
Tell us about your female role model or mentor that helped you grow your career. How do/did they inspire you?
My female role model is my mom. We like to joke that though she may be small, she is fierce – she’s a little over five feet tall. My mom was a career woman and always taught me that it’s okay to be feminine and stand your ground, that you can have a family and a career, and you don’t need to apologize to anyone for having feelings.
She was my confidant as I navigated being a new mom and working full-time, she pushed me to create everyday (she is a fabulous artist), and at the end of a hard day sometimes you just need to light a candle and take a bath.
What advice would you give other women considering a career in construction or the AEC industry?
There are endless possibilities and opportunities in the A/E/C industry. Many companies and firms are looking for designers and marketers to join their teams – and within those roles the sky is the limit for growing your skillset and getting to create something new every day. I know until I entered the industry, I didn’t even realize there was an opportunity as a graphic designer to get to do what I love. So, if you are looking for something different and fulfilling, see what firms are hiring in your area – and take the leap!