Celebrating International Women’s Day

3/9/2020

International Women's Day is a “global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women."

We're marking the occasion by sharing insights from three leading women at Opus!

Lisa Billing, AIA, LEED Green Associate, Project Architect

Why did you choose to work in your field? I have always enjoyed drawing, solving problems with creative solutions and figuring out how things go together.

What do you like most about your work? I appreciate that architecture is both a creative and technical process. It is collaborative, challenging and rewarding to deliver thoughtful solutions to our clients.

What is an accomplishment (or highlight) you're most proud of in your career? I have loved sharing the profession with the next generation – through Girl Scouts, AIA Architecture in the Schools and other youth organizations.

What is your advice to women considering or beginning a career in your field? My only regret in my career path is that I didn't begin sooner. I was hesitant to enroll in the architecture courses in high school thinking I would be the only female in the class. When I finally enrolled my senior year, I was one of the only girls in the class, but I loved it anyway. So I would say find your passion and pursue it without hesitation.

What unique strengths do you think women bring to your field? The best problem solving comes from a team with a variety of backgrounds. The more diverse our field is – be that diverse in color, gender, culture – the better equipped we are to serve our communities.

Who is another woman at Opus that you admire? Beth Duyvejonck is an inspiring leader here at Opus. She has demonstrated success leading projects and teams in a male-dominated construction industry, all while raising a family and advocating for female inclusion in the field.

Christine Butterfield, RPA, Office & Facilities Manager

Why did you choose to work in your field? Business Finance was my major in college until the Real Estate Association spoke about their program during a finance class. I didn't realize at the time there was a major for commercial real estate. I was intrigued with the major and was hooked after taking a few courses. After graduation, I was hired by Opus as an Assistant Property Manager.

What do you like most about your work? I love the variety of my days, and the learning opportunities are endless. I have worked in both property and facility management, which gives me a unique perspective as both a landlord and tenant representative.   

What is an accomplishment (or highlight) you're most proud of in your career? I am approaching my 18 year anniversary at Opus. I never imagined being at one company for so long. There was a three-year gap in my tenure at Opus where I worked at two of Opus' competitors. I was glad I had the opportunity to work outside of Opus but ultimately missed Opus' culture and values.

What unique strengths do you think women bring to your field? Women have a strong ability to multitask and see how all the pieces come together. Being detail oriented and able to listen and read what people are expressing is also a huge component to be successful in the commercial real estate business.

Margie Schmitt, CPA, Controller, Development

Why did you choose to work in your field? I was interested in accounting beginning with my very first accounting class in high school. The material just clicked with me. I like(d) working with numbers, appreciated that everything had a place and that when they are put together correctly, the numbers tell a story.

What do you like most about your work? The people that I work with, and I'm never bored. Whether it's a change in what we're tracking (product types, regions, etc.) or how we're tracking it, I'm always on my toes. The work is interesting, but the relationships make it fun.  

What is your advice to women considering or beginning a career in your field? Accounting is a great field and can be utilized in so many professions and businesses. Every company needs an accountant!  As tasks are becoming more and more computerized, accountants need to be even more technologically savvy and detail oriented but also need to focus on soft skills like exceptional communication and relationship building.

If you missed our Women in Construction feature last week, check it out now.