- When you were starting out, did you have a mentor? Was it someone you sought out or they found you?
The term “mentor” was never used in my career. However, early on I did have three men in particular that took me under their wings and mentored me – all 3 of them named Jim! While I didn’t report directly to any of them, I did work closely with them. They went well above and beyond the job description of having a junior employee working on their projects. I was provided a very strong technical foundation as well as opportunities to engage with larger project teams and clients. They helped me find my voice, have a presence at meetings and on the job site, and to develop relationships within the industry. They brought me into committee work and provided me with opportunities to contribute to the projects, to the business, and to the industry. To this day, I don’t think they realize the impact they have had on my career.
In retrospect, I realize that I’ve had peer mentors along the way as well. Those that I can go to when I feel stuck; when things aren’t going right; when I’m navigating a difficult conversation or considering a change. These have never been formal, but critically important and invaluable!
- How did you get into the roofing industry?
I graduated with degrees in Civil Engineering and Architecture…and not a clue what I wanted to do! I fortunately stumbled across an interview opportunity with WJE and accepted a job as a forensic building enclosure consultant. I spent the first 10 years investigating building enclosure failures – which includes roofing, waterproofing, and exterior walls.
After 20 years of consulting, I had an opportunity to take a hard left turn and join GAF and grow their Building & Roofing Science division. Now I get to take all my lessons learned from consulting and apply them to educating the industry about roof system design and performance. I LOVE my job and this industry!
- What is one of the biggest challenges you’ve overcome?
I spent so much energy in the early part of my career trying to prove myself. Showing that I was capable. That I deserved to be there. Trying to earn respect of the men I worked with and around. I was told that if I just ran circles around the guys, that they would eventually see that I belonged there. I burned so much energy running in circles, that I got lost in “proving” myself.
Once I built up enough technical knowledge and self-confidence, which went hand in hand with experience, I was able to let go of that mindset and focus more on collaboration. This is where my career trajectory began to soar!
- If you were to give your younger self a quote to hold tight, what would it be?
“ People don’t remember what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou
While I remember the moments when people made me feel small or invisible, more so I remember the people that made me feel like I was capable. That made me feel worthy. That made me feel heard. About 3 years ago, I realized I was living life all wrong. I was fitting in life around work. I was always distracted, doing too many things at once. I was never fully present. I promise you that doesn’t make anyone that I interacted with feel anything positive. I am making a concerted effort to be present in the moment. To give you my undivided attention when we meet. Do me a favor…if you don’t get my full attention next time we speak, please remind me to “Be present. The magic is in the moment.” L. Pollock
- Are you open to taking on a mentee?
My experience has been that the mentor mentee process is a very natural one. While I’m not part of a formal mentor program, there are a few rising stars that I talk with regularly, several of which have begun to say things like, “I’m so thankful to have you as a mentor!”. This warms my heart! And of course, I have my peer mentors that have lifted me up throughout my career. Mentoring is truly a blessing!