I began with Perini Building Company in 1986 during a summer internship program while attending Arizona State University. I started as an engineer on the Flamingo Hilton Casino Hotel and remodel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Over the years, I traveled with the company and worked throughout the Southwest on various projects such as casinos, hotels, luxury resort villas, state and private correctional institutions, medical facilities, airports, and multipurpose sports arenas. I gradually worked up the corporate ladder and advanced to project executive on CityCenter in Las Vegas, the largest private development in the country.
The general nature of the construction business industry requires moving to new types of projects in different locations. In each instance, it is an adjustment to a new owner, architect, design team, and project team. You must learn to quickly adapt and be a team player in new environments. One thing remains the same: hard work and diligence pay off. In order to earn respect, you must also give respect to people at all levels.
My greatest challenge, initially, was that I was an anomaly in the construction industry. I started in this business 24 years ago when it was unique to be a woman in this field. Any assignment, any project, any challenge was an opportunity for me to learn and grow.
There have been many role models in my life growing up and throughout my career. I was raised with a very strong work ethic and desire for learning by my parents. Mentoring came in the form of watching all levels of management in construction: superintendents, managers, architects, and laborers. I was fortunate to work with amazing mentors in my industry who allowed me to learn and grow.
The role of being a mentor is truly described best by John Quincy Adams: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.” A mentor inspires people to reach for their dreams and do what they think they cannot do.
Becoming involved in local philanthropies and helping those less fortunate really shifted the balance and focus in both my professional and personal life. A great leader inspires those people around him or her to have confidence in themselves. However, it is through our own greatest challenges that growth occurs as we realize our potential.