In last month’s Lunch and Learn — a monthly internal event series — we celebrated women leading the way at Streetsense with a panel discussion featuring four remarkable team leaders across our creative collective.
Moderated with thoughtful questions from Chief People Officer Bessmarie Moses, the event featured Senior Director of Interior Architecture Lauren Winter, Managing Director of Place Strategy for Continental Europe Maki Kawaguchi, Managing Director of Marketing Greer Kimsey, and Managing Director of Public Non-Profit Solutions Larisa Ortiz.
These four inspiring leaders touched on a range of subjects through the lens of their varying expertise, but all with a common theme: learnings from their own career experiences to benefit the next generation of women at Streetsense and beyond.
Their words were particularly inspiring when it came to issues like work-life balance, barriers and bias in male-dominated fields, career advancement, and mentorship — approaching each topic with personal anecdotes and appropriate nuance.
Lauren Winter on work-life balance:
“Work-life balance is the most important for your health, for your mental stability – I think the biggest key I’ve found to the success of splitting time is to really, whatever I’m doing, give 100% of that… If I’m working, I’m working… When I’m with the kids, that’s when I have the time with them… and not feeling guilty for either one.”
Maki Kawaguchi on confronting barriers and biases in a male-dominated field:
“I’ve been in those situations where I’m the only woman, the only woman of color. Even within that construct, the biggest barrier could be you and your mindset. Because despite the unfavorable professional conditions you may be in, you really need to be resilient and adaptable. And more importantly, really believe in yourself. I don’t think this applies to just women, I think it applies universally – you just have to believe in yourself.”
Greer Kimsey on career advancement:
“Position yourself to be pulled up the ranks. Play the next role without having to be asked, going ahead and doing that next job, which helps you either get noticed… or if you’re not being noticed, it builds your case.”
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Larisa Ortiz on mentorship:
“Even the word mentorship has some connotation of scheduled time – sit down & I give you advice, you know? In my mind that’s not what it is. It’s ultimately connecting with someone who shares my love, my curiosity, my passion… and we learn from each other and enjoy each other’s time. Ultimately, I think that’s what had made mentorship so valuable in my career.”