As Regional Sales Manager for Harvest Homes in upstate NY and Northern PA I encounter many personalities. When I started in this field, shifting gears from a financial services management role, I was apprehensive that there would be hurdles that would need jumping more so than if I had chosen to go in to something else. In large part this is because of the outdated reputation that the building profession is “full of guys in hard hats cat calling while they eat lunch”. Here’s the thing. This hasn’t been true for me.
Years before I made the decision to pursue a career in construction women and men have been showing that we can work together in this environment. We can be professionals and use the unique talents that make us valuable players on the team. We all bring something different. One such Woman is Maria Coutts.
Maria owns The Coutts Group building and construction with her husband Kevin. She has been in the field for 25 years and plays a significant role making the family business successful. She isn’t just a contributor. Maria is a force. She is always professional, well informed and dynamic. She is a problem solver and creative talent as well as gifted in logistics of estimating and budgeting. She makes it her job to know.
A few weeks ago I was so pleased to be a part of Maria’s swearing in as the new President of the PA Builders Association. I was nervous for her because- wouldn’t you be? You know- a speech and all of the ceremony. We were dressed to the nines at this wine and cheese event and attended a nice silent auction prior to her installation.
There was lots of pomp and circumstance with the former Presidents and other major players in the Builders Association sharing war stories and such. I came to discover that there was a top hat that was passed from one President to the successor as a gesture of respect. How would this go tonight for my friend and colleague Maria? Would there be awkwardness and snickering? Cat calling? No.
There would simply be a leader, naturally wearing the hat that was handed to her ceremoniously, as if it had been custom made for her. No it wasn’t awkward. It’s the reason women like me can be confident that the culture has changed. Congratulations Maria. And thank you for sharing this prestigious accomplishment.
By Pam Fernandez