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  • Writer's pictureCalibre Engineering

Wendy's Journey to Believing Anything Is Possible


The AEC industry has a history of underrepresentation of women, but together, we're rewriting the story. In honor of Women's History Month, we are celebrating the living histories of Calibre women as they forge their own paths. Nearly 40% of Calibre employees are women, and we're passionate about supporting them. Calibre is working to flip the script and champion women in this industry. Join us this month as we share stories of the amazing women who are making a difference at Calibre and helping to rewrite the story of women in AEC.

 

In this post, Wendy Smith, Calibre's People and Culture Manager, shares her journey to believing she's capable of achieving anything.


For most of my career, I've worked in male-dominated industries, including my current role in A/E/C. It hasn't always been easy to make my mark on this industry, but I've learned a few things that have helped me believe that I'm capable of anything. 

 

Find a company you can believe in and one that believes in you, too. 

Over the last 25 years, I've had some great jobs and some terrible ones. I've learned that alignment with your company's culture and mission is crucial for job satisfaction. When I am closely aligned with my company's values, I am a passionate advocate for the organization. I go home every day with a sense of fulfillment, knowing that I am contributing to something meaningful and impactful. 

 

Believing in a company is only one side of the coin. The best and most synergistic relationship is when your company and manager believe in you, too. I am immensely grateful to the mentors in my career who gave me a chance, supported me personally and professionally, and provided me with the space I needed to explore and grow. 

 

Gene Pride, Deb Schindler, Nancy Kelly Sanguigni, Emily Villines, and Dennis Richard, thank you for believing in me.

 

Believe in yourself 

While I've had several mentors who have believed in me and my capabilities, I've found that sometimes it's hard to believe in myself. Despite graduating from high school and college with a 4.0 GPA, earning a full-ride scholarship, leading successful teams, and receiving numerous accolades for my creativity and hard work, I've battled imposter syndrome my entire life. It surprised me to learn that the feeling is common. A recent study by KPMG found that 75% of women in leadership positions experience imposter syndrome. 

 

Women are capable of incredible things, and that includes you! Do whatever you need to do to gain confidence in yourself. Practice positive self-talk, list your accomplishments, take a class, find a mentor, trust your instincts, and speak up when you have something to say. Your contributions are valuable... believe it!

 

Believe in your dreams, and go after them

For a long time, I was afraid to pursue my career dreams because I also had a dream of starting a family. I loved my career, but I was afraid of progressing because I didn't want to disappoint anyone if I had to leave after I started a family. This mindset was a huge mistake. Life never goes according to plan, and one dream does not have to supersede the other. My dream of a family was put on hold year after year because of numerous personal setbacks, and I struggle now with feeling like I kept my career stagnant in the hope of something that never happened. This journey taught me another critical life lesson: never hold back. Pursue your dreams with passion, even if it feels like those dreams might conflict. 

 

While I feel a little late to the game, I'm finally in a place where I can pursue my dream of becoming a mother. The journey hasn't been easy, but I'm grateful to work for a company that values families and a manager who supports my dreams—both personal and professional. Calibre's flexible schedules and remoting work arrangements have helped me juggle multiple IVF cycles while pursuing my career passions. And, it’s a huge relief to know that when my family goals come to fruition, I don’t have to give up my career. I’m backed by a firm that supports and believes in women.

 

Your dreams are possible. Every one of them. Believe it.

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