Vanessa is a Senior Project Manager for Stanford Health Care. She grew up on the east coast and currently lives in Belmont, CA. She has been in the industry for 18 years. “Oof! Time flies!”
Her road to the construction industry started with her studies in architecture in school. At the beginning of her career, she worked at an international firm that carried out projects only through design development. They would partner with architects local to the project site, who would develop CD’s, obtain permit and manage the project through construction. Although she enjoyed it, she realized that there was a gap in her understanding of how things came together. Eventually she shifted her career focus and sought roles that would put her on job sites in construction. It was a scary transition, but she is grateful to have balanced out her knowledge and experience. It fed her curiosity and desire to be involved in the “bigger picture” for projects. Today she works as the Owner’s Rep on projects from concept design all the way through activation.
When asked what her favorite thing about construction she responded:
“I really enjoy engaging with Users throughout the process. It’s really fulfilling to help problem solve their current challenges with a design solution.”
As for other affiliations/hobbies: “When I moved to the Bay Area, I started playing volleyball with a group of people in San Francisco. The group was founded on the principles of inclusion, comradery and respecting each other’s differences. And there are a lot of differences- skill level, age, gender, race, languages spoken, professions, politics, etc. I love the idea of bringing together such a diverse group of people to play a sport that requires successful teamwork. There are six people on a team and up to three passes to return the ball. It is a fast-paced game and to do well, the team needs to trust each other, balance each other’s abilities and communicate. It has certainly influenced the way I approach my role as a Project Manager.”
She is really inspired by one of the women she met in the volleyball group – Genia. Aside from being one of the most kind and generous people she has ever met, her life story is incredible. When she was growing up, Genia wanted to join the school volleyball team but was not accepted because of her height. The coach even teased her for wanting to play. It didn’t stop her – it just slowed her down. Genia started playing volleyball when she was in her 40’s. At under 5’ tall and over 80 years old, she comes out to play with Vanessa’s group every single Sunday. She taught Vanessa that it’s never too late to start something – AND – that you’re never too old to keep doing what you love!
One of her favorite quotes is from Maya Angelou:
“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”