I'd like to extend my personal thanks to my colleagues and friends at Jordan Ramis for the honor of nominating me for the Women of Vision Award presented by the Daily Journal of Commerce (“DJC”). I was even more honored to be selected as one of 51 recipients in Oregon and Southwest Washington, and privileged to attend their event to receive the award on October 18, 2018.
If you are not familiar with this award, the DJC’s Women of Vision is an educational and awards program aimed at supporting the women who are shaping our local design, engineering and construction industries with their leadership, mentoring efforts, community involvement and the promotion of industry diversity. Jordan Ramis was well represented at the presentation, and I'm pleased to report that we very much made our presence and commitment to this endeavor well known.
The evening began with a keynote presentation from Barbara A. Res, who spoke of her experience finding herself as one of the only women on construction sites in New York in the early 1970's, ultimately overseeing construction of the iconic Trump Tower on 5th Avenue. She spoke candidly about the overt harassment and discriminatory attitudes she faced, and the importance of a positive attitude and perseverance to overcome the many challenges that brought. She has written a book "All Alone on the 68th Floor: How One Woman Changed the Face of Construction," which I would commend you to read to hear her unique perspective.
The most impactful portion of the evening for me was the roundtable discussion that included Ms. Res, as well as Portland's relatively new Chief of Police Danielle Outlaw, the City of Portland's Chief Financial Officer Jennifer Cooperman, and Ashley Ulberg a first year Oregon State University student studying civil engineering and construction engineering management. In particular, when asked what advice they would give to their younger selves, Chief Outlaw offered a simple, but powerful, suggestion, "Know who you are, and stand firm in that."
This simple statement about the importance of authenticity goes to the heart of what I saw when I looked around the room at my fellow award recipients. So many trailblazing women being exactly who they are, in whatever profession that they have been called to, standing firm even when they may have been presented with the challenges and hurdles that can come with being one of the first, or one of the few, women in traditionally male-dominated working environments. More than that, I saw many women leaders extending hands to the next generation, and many men equally committed to the vision of full equality, in hopes that they will benefit and build upon the progress that has already been made.
As I said from the dais when I accepted the award, I’m beyond proud to be a part of this law firm which is such a valuable partner to local businesses, and such a truly talented group of people. I am also grateful to be entrusted with a leadership role that allows me to do my part to challenge paradigms, when needed, and add a unique perspective as we plot our course ahead. It is a truly exciting future I see. With the talent we have in our ranks, and our commitment to true inclusion and equity as we move forward, there is no stopping us.
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