Our Industry Person of the Week is Stephanie Slocum, Founder of Engineers Rising LLC.
Q: How did you get started working in your field?
Stephanie: I got started by following my own curiosity.
In college, I changed my major several times and struggled with finding a good fit, although I knew I wanted to be somewhere in STEM. For exercise and stress-relief, I often played tennis with a friend majoring in engineering. He came to play one day straight from his last class with a miniature building model. I looked at that model, and asked him in which engineering class he was building architectural models. I immediately enrolled in the same major, architectural engineering, which was the fit I had been looking for.
Looking back on my career, I am generally fascinated by the art within science and engineering, and gray areas of overlapping disciplines. It took that early interaction of finding a major that combined STEM and writing and art to help me realize that you can combine all the seemingly disparate things you enjoy most into a unique career suited to who you are.
Q: What do you love the most about your job? What are you most proud of?
Stephanie: The top three things I love most are the impact you can have on people’s lives, collaboration, and problem solving. I worked in building design for 15 years, and founded my own career consulting and leadership firm in 2018. Those three things have guided my career trajectory and have acted as a type of compass for career decisions I’ve made along the way.
I always expect that the thing that I will be most proud of is in the future, in that I’m always looking to get better and improve and do something with even MORE impact on the world. I want to help and I want to grow. Highlights of the past include the publication of my book, She Engineers, and being in an esteemed group of women in Connected World’s 2020 Women in Tech.
Q: What advice would you give to someone considering this line of work or new to the
Stephanie: It’s dangerous to ask a woman who wrote an entire book on this topic this question. If I had to narrow it down:
- Follow your own curiosity
- Find and model the behavior of successful people you want to emulate in terms of what they’ve done in their career. Mindsets and good habits are hugely important, but that’s not something “taught” in school or in the workplace. Find people who are doing what you want to do and talk to them! Then, get your own internal house in order, and you’ll find that it creates momentum in all aspects of your career and life.
- Support systems are critical to success. Create your own personal Board of Directors (with most NOT at your current employer to ensure a third part perspective) to guide you
- Ask for what you want
- Remember that this industry is about serving PEOPLE, and that if you want to truly excel, focus on building those relationships (even if you are introvert like me!).
- Treat every setback, career obstacle, or “no” you encounter as a chance to learn and grow.
- Focus on honing and improving your strengths (not your weaknesses).
Q: Can you talk about a project you recently worked on?
Stephanie: One engineering project readers might find interesting is a historical renovation project I worked on when I was in engineering design where we gutted (including the structure) the entire interior of a building to repurpose it, while keeping the historical façade and roof intact. You can check out a time-lapse video of the construction here: https://youtu.be/sSh92lpXyl8
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
Stephanie: The only limits you have are the ones that you place on yourself. Create daily habits that make you feel empowered so that you have the courage to follow your own unique path and make a difference in the world that only YOU can make.
THANK YOU, STEPHANIE! WE LOOK FORWARD TO KEEPING UP WITH YOU THROUGH THE #PUMPTALK COMMUNITY!
KNOW AN AMAZING PERSON WHO IS MAKING VALUABLE CONTRIBUTIONS WITHIN INDUSTRY? NOMINATE THEM TO BE AN “INDUSTRY PERSON OF THE WEEK”!