Celebrating Women at Opus

It's the start of Women in Construction Week and International Women's Day!

This week is promoted by The National Associate of Women in Construction as a way “to highlight women as a viable component of the construction industry." In celebration of this week we asked some of our women in construction and project management about their careers.

In celebration, here are thoughts from one woman at Opus. ​

Kim Noonan, Vice President of Marketing & Brand

Why did you choose to work in your field?  

Ever since I can remember, I've always enjoyed tackling a challenge, innovating and building stuff, orchestrating plans and strategies and delighting people by helping them be successful. As a kid I dabbled in several of my own “entrepreneurial ventures," and when I got to high school I learned that those ventures I had been enjoying in those childhood years actually had a name – it was called “marketing."  So I guess you could say I was following my passion, or perhaps it found me. I was (and still am) so fortunate to have several great mentors and role models to inspire and help shape my path to and through marketing. Additionally, throughout my career I've had the opportunity to serve in marketing roles across a diverse set of industries, and I've appreciated the fact that, while the landscape changes from business to business, the tools in my marketing toolbox are universal to solving core business challenges, and they can be applied to both drive and support strategies and goals.   

What do you like most about your work?  

I appreciate how the marketing function has insight and visibility to most all aspects of the business, and therefore is in a unique position to connect the dots across the business to help the organization deliver the best possible experience on every level for all our stakeholders – internal and external. And I also like that the breadth of what we get to tackle in the marketing function is very wide – business strategy, brand, communications, market research, content creation and storytelling, PR, promotions, design, general leadership, etc. – so it varies from day to day. It's meaningful work that's always interesting and rewarding, plus I get to work with a lot of really smart, talented, fun people along the way.

What is an accomplishment (or highlight) you're most proud of in your career? 

Without question, it's the impact I've been able to make on others. Whether that's been creating a new business from scratch, innovating core business processes for growth, evolving and/or building brands for long-term sustainability, developing and mentoring teammates, or any number of other opportunities I've been fortunate to lead, those opportunities have not only positively impacted businesses but they've positively impacted people – both those who work in the businesses and those whom those businesses serve. The work and the results are certainly fulfilling in and of themselves, but really it's seeing the impact of that work on real lives that's most rewarding to me.

What is your advice to women considering or beginning a career in your field? 

  • Follow your arrow – identify your passion, have confidence, and trust yourself to achieve it; thinking back, I now remember many times throughout my career that I was often the only woman in the room or at the table, but the funny thing is that it wasn't until someone actually pointed that out to me that I ever noticed or thought about it

  • Be a great listener – you'll learn a lot, you'll get to root causes of challenges faster, and you'll probably pick up on nuances that might make all the difference in creating a more effective solution

  • Learn to juggle and spin plates while riding a unicycle – not literally, but sometimes it feels that way in our field and you have to be able to prioritize, stay focused, and attend to each need strategically and effectively without missing a beat

  • Find a champion, and be one too – having a mentor (or two or three) to guide, feed-back, and cheer you on along your journey is essential; this person should be experienced, objective, and trusted enough to provide you constructive feedback from which you can grow, not just cheerleading, but also different enough from you so you can gain new insights or perspectives along the way; and no matter where you're at in your own journey, know that you can always inspire someone on theirs too

  • Be flexible and creative in navigating your journey – marketing is a vast and diverse function, and at times you might find yourself having to veer off the path you originally planned; that's okay, give yourself grace, and while you remain focused on the end goal, also remember that little detour might take you to a way better place in the end
What unique strengths do you think women bring to your field?

Working in marketing is challenging because it's very broad, fast-paced, rapidly changing, and always a lot going on, plus it requires a certain amount of emotional intelligence, empathy, and anticipating the needs of others. I know many great marketers, male and female alike, so I don't think it's necessarily gender driven. That said, I do know that, as a woman and a mom myself, my version of “life in general" outside of work requires many of the same skills that I apply each day in my job.  

Who is another woman at Opus that you admire?  

Oh my goodness, how can I choose? Working in a historically male-dominated industry, I'm proud of and grateful for the many talented women who we can celebrate at Opus – women who are not only female leaders, but more simply, respected leaders and professionals in their chosen fields. When I think back to when we started the Opus Women's Network (OWN) just a few years ago, I think we had roughly 20 women attend the first meeting. That's grown to 45+ women (and men on occasion) attending from across the company. I share that to illustrate just one example of how our associates are engaged in fostering the growth and development of gender diversity within our organization, which is awesome, and we're stronger because of it.  At Opus, we understand the value of bringing diverse views to the table from the beginning to solve a challenge – that's what design-build is all about – and for decades, that integrated approach has empowered us to create and deliver some pretty amazing things.   


Read thoughts from prior years:

International Women's Day 2020
Women in Construction Week 2020
Women in Construction Week 2019​​

Filed Under: Our People