Content specialist and technical writer, Mary Aiello, experienced a serendipitous introduction to the world of construction. She was a college instructor when she was invited to interview with PMA. The hiring decision subsequently sparked her 17-year career in the construction industry. Immediately, she found herself intrigued by the challenges in the construction and project management environment and impressed by the people who took them on.
Though acknowledging that women are a minority in construction and engineering, Mary sees improvement and hope for additional progress in the future. She believes that it’s essential for industry companies to promote a level-playing-field mentality. As a technical communicator and as a woman in construction for nearly two decades now, Mary feels that, in addition to the example of her own achievements, she has the opportunity to highlight the importance of women in the field of engineering and project and construction management.
Mary credits several mentors and influencers who helped nurture her love of writing and provided crucial guidance during her graduate and undergraduate studies in technical and professional communication. These mentors include Lisa Veasey of Washtenaw Community College and Dr. Nancy Allen and Dr. Ann Blakeslee at Eastern Michigan University. Never wavering in their devotion to their craft, these women were generous in sharing their time and support to all who were dedicated to their profession. By observing and working closely with them, Mary learned how skill, confidence, and ability can remove the male-versus-female competitive biases often found in the professional arena.
As a degreed technical writer and editor, Mary has had the privilege of teaching at the university level before coming to PMA. She met students who enrolled in her classes for various reasons during that time. One woman, in particular, felt that she would never make it as a writer and floundered until she came to Mary’s classroom. Over several semesters, Mary encouraged her to never stop pursuing her dream of becoming a writer. This student had to work harder than most, but today, she writes for a living and is exceedingly proud of her skill. Mary has also had the opportunity to mentor female interns within the company; she finds this experience exceptionally rewarding.
When it comes to offering advice to women entering this industry, Mary suggests taking advantage of scholarships and funding that provide a solid education in a chosen field. She also emphasizes the benefits of networking and the importance of continuous education to advance your skills. She notes that women in the construction and engineering industry are gaining a foothold and are now opening doors that were once closed to them. Mary also recommends attending seminars hosted by women-led companies and connecting with local professional organizations that promote women in underserved professions. She states, “When you join your voice with dozens of others, you’re more likely to be heard.”