The Birmingham Business Journal on Friday honored its 2019 Women to Watch – a group of 25 Birmingham women who have distinguished themselves in their companies, their industries and the community.
The Women to Watch were recognized at the BBJ's Ninth Annual Women's Summit at the Hyatt Regency The Wynfrey Hotel.
The BBJ received more than 200 nominations for this year's Women to Watch, and honorees were chosen based on their career accomplishments, their potential for future leadership and contributions to their organization and the overall economy and other factors.
CCR Architecture & Interiors (Cohen Carnaggio Reynolds Inc.)
How did you choose the career you are in?
Early in high school I enrolled in a mechanical drafting course because I enjoyed drawing. One week in and I was hooked. My love of drawing and math plus a very influential architect in my home town helped me make the decision to be an architect.
What has been the most defining moment of your career?
There are many; not just one. My pride and satisfaction in our work comes when the end users are living, working and enjoying their new space. I will be especially proud when our firm hits the 25-year mark next year.
How do you juggle the demands of daily life?
I thrive when being busy but have to work at work and try to focus on family and friends outside of work. I enjoy change and feel leaving work to do other things like exercise, cook, garden, and travel helps my creative time at work.
What are your goals for the next 10 years?
My goals are to give our staff the tools and responsibility to carry the firm another 25 years. I’m also focused on getting our son through college over the next several years and hoping to visit many fabulous places on my bucket list.
What lesson has a mentor taught you along the way?
I learned the business side of architecture by working for other firms. Finances, contracts and running an architecture firm are not taught in school. A lot of reading and paying attention to my former employers helped me immensely in starting our firm.
Do you have any advice for young professionals in the Magic City?
Stick to your dreams; do not let anyone hold you back from fulfilling your life goals.
How do you decide where to dedicate your extra time to volunteering?
I try a variety of boards and nonprofits until I find the right fit. I decided three organizations is the most I can successfully support.
What makes you get out of bed every morning?
Family, my crazy dog, creative days, and a great cup of coffee make me jump out of bed each day.
What can Birmingham businesses do to make the economy more inclusive for women in the workplace?
Develop lower-priced day care options in the city so more women can continue their careers if they choose to.
What’s your favorite restaurant in metro Birmingham?
Chez Fon Fon
What does Birmingham need to do to take its economy to the next level?
Create more jobs by bringing new companies to our City. Parks, restaurants, affordable housing, arts, good schools all attract and keep our young talent.
How long have you lived in Birmingham and what makes you stay here?
I have lived in Birmingham almost 30 years. The friendly people, beautiful city, and endless opportunities keep me in Birmingham.