Dina Keirouz is a Managing Director in the Long Beach office and has been with PMA for seven years. Dina started her career in the construction industry after moving from architecture to construction management. She initially entered the industry when she came to the United States intending to return to Lebanon to help rebuild the country due to the ensuing civil war.
Dina noticed that as she started holding higher positions in the industry, women were not provided the same management opportunities offered to men. She felt that women had to prove themselves more before being given leadership positions. Dina also noticed that certain qualities she possesses and sees as “good,” such as assertiveness and candidness, were often frowned upon and were considered flaws that should be curbed. However, this was not the case for the men she worked with who held similar positions. While that has never stopped her from being herself professionally, she feels it has affected her career and may have been overlooked for promotions and opportunities because of it. She believes this issue impacts women across all industries and that the solution will come when society does not react to these qualities differently based on gender.
Dina’s parents were her most significant role models growing up, and they were immensely supportive of her decision to join the construction industry. Later in her career, she had various mentors of both genders who helped her grow professionally. She sought out mentors who were colleagues and possessed strengths that she admired and wanted to develop in herself.
Dina takes an active role in mentoring other women in the industry. She believes it is her duty to do so and often has to remind herself to be balanced and not to take on more than she is able. Dina feels she grew up in a world where women were not encouraged to speak up or to exhibit strength. Because of this, she now often encourages friends or anyone who seeks her advice or mentorship to ask for what they want if they believe they are not being treated fairly. She emphasizes that if you don’t speak up, you become part of the problem. Dina does note that it is important not to assume that being a woman negatively influenced the outcome of certain situations or that it was a main factor in a decision since this type of thinking can create an unhelpful and unproductive victim mentality.
Regarding advice Dina would offer to those beginning their career in the construction industry, she emphasizes the unique benefits and rewards that come with it. She notes that if you like seeing an idea on paper come to life, the construction industry might be an excellent choice. Dina finds it immensely rewarding to drive on a highway or by a structure or building and say, “I was part of the team that made that happen.” She notes that this is especially true when the projects you are involved in help create solutions to societal issues that improve people’s lives.