When you think about success, which words come to mind? Most people would say money, status, or power — but in order to be a successful woman in business, the definition needs to take on a whole new meaning. The honest truth is there is no right way to achieve success, there is only your way. Being in business isn’t always about the seven-figure check, sometimes and for me, it has been building a business, and really life on business is far less abnormal than it used to be, it doesn’t come without its own unique challenges.
I am a woman in the construction industry. My Father and I started a General Contracting Business, Latcon Corp in 2013. During the first few years we didn’t do a whole lot with it, I was working as a Domestic Violence Advocate for our Local Women’s shelter and teaching youth about healthy and unhealthy dating relationships. In the summer of 2015 we had picked up a few projects that required my help, I started out by helping with project managing a few small school ADA upgrade projects we had and from that day forward I began this journey. I began starting to develop the business and putting procedures and process in place to help us continue to grow, in 2016 I became the C.O.O. It has been a very humbling experience for me.
Honestly, it can be an unnerving feeling to attend walkthroughs, or business meetings when the audience is primarily males. I have found that in this situation women may feel as though we need to adopt a somewhat stereotypical “male” attitude towards business: Competitive, aggressive, and sometimes overly harsh to complete, however, I have found that remaining true to myself and finding my own voice in this arena are the keys to rising above those preconceived expectations. I will admit that I have struggled with being taken seriously and earning the respect of my peers. Because I joined this business venture with my dad who is a well-known businessman around our town, there have been often been slight comments of how I am merely relying on my father’s reputation and business relationships. I have had to prove that I am willing to learn, listen and invest in the business we are growing, and fortunately I have been blessed with a strong group of people who have surrounded me and have supported me in this venture, they have been great mentors and advisors to me in this process.
Our company is great largely in part to the team members that are in place, there is not one person in our office that could run the business on their own. It truly is a team effort, and owning the accomplishments of what we have done in the 5 short years we have been in business is crucial to continuing on the growth pattern we are aiming for. There is no hierarchy in our company, everyone helps throw the trash or clean the bathrooms and that is what makes us successful. At any given moment we will each go and do the work that is needed and that is what has brought this company where we are today. We are not the biggest, and we are not the smallest but we are right where we need to be for now.
By far the biggest challenge I have faced being a woman in business is being a working mama. It seems silly because there is no term “working dad” it is just normal I suppose. We have five little humans that make all the hard work worth it. I felt, in the beginning, I was in a constant state of apology for my desire to have a career, not just for myself, but I am building this for them. I am building a business so that I can provide for them. I have learned over the years that I will never be able to do everything no matter what my career path looked like. I have been able to extend mercy to myself; I have been able to teach my kids what hard work and dedication look like. I have also been able to provide a level of financial peace to my family.
This is one of the most challenging and rewarding journeys that I have found myself on. I am excited about the future and upcoming opportunities.