by Alison DiVenere
My journey in the AEC field started early. In fact, ever since the sixth grade, I knew I wanted to work in the industry in some capacity. In middle school, I took a tech-ed elective that exposed me to software that was an early precursor to SketchUp – software I loved so much my parents bought it for me to use at home. In high school, I took architectural design and engineering classes, and it was these experiences that brought together the beautiful combination of logic and creativity that defines the AEC field in my mind. Having my parents, who are both passionate about their careers, alongside a supportive teacher, who pushed me to be more than my best, set me on a path of empowerment. When it came to deciding on a college path, I was torn between culinary school and studying architecture. Ultimately, architecture won. When I got to school, I remember quite a few of my professors relating architecture to cooking and I thought, “regardless, I’m in the right place.”
When I was attending Roger Williams, two of my friends helped start a Women’s Leadership Network. Hearing women from all types of fields – not just AEC – discuss how they have overcome adversity was extremely motivating. I take those stories with me every day to not only my job, but into how I present myself. I want the next generation to see people my age and older and say “I want to do that; I want to pave the way for people to have equal opportunity and equal respect.” I think these memories are part of why I’ve gotten so involved in the Hartford Chapter of the ACE Mentor Program, something I am very passionate about. Being a part of a firm like JCJ that is so invested in shaping the future of the ACE profession is a direct reflection of not only my own values but the values of the firm. These efforts shape and change lives and it’s life change when you have an opportunity to contribute to someone’s success and self-esteem.
Even though I am a young professional, I’ve been fortunate to continue to feel incredibly empowered as a woman in this industry. My experience has taught me that you have to be your own advocate. You have to believe in your worth, understanding that no matter what people say, or what challenges are placed in front of you, you have the tools and the resources at your disposal to overcome it.
Alison DiVenere is a design technician at JCJ Architecture.